Population and the Environment

For 20 years, PRB has been connecting human health and planetary health to show how population dynamics, including family planning, and environmental change interact and affect human and planetary well-being.

Humans and the environment are inextricably linked. Population size and age, fertility, mobility, settlement patterns, and resource availability and consumption all influence the impact we have on the environment.

Solving the complex challenges facing the world today demands a better understanding of how population growth and change impact the environment, how environmental change impacts human health and well-being, and what can be done to address these issues. PRB’s Population and the Environment activities aim to:

  • Increase awareness among decisionmakers, key stakeholders, and advocates about the linkages between population dynamics, human health, and environmental issues, including climate change.
  • Build leadership and capacity to advance evidence-based policy and programming solutions that recognize the links between population dynamics and the environment, including Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) multisectoral development approaches.
  • Contribute to and amplify evidence on the role of family planning and reproductive health in advancing key development outcomes outside of the health sector, in areas such as women’s empowerment, climate change resilience, food security, nutrition, and agriculture.
  • Develop and support international, regional, and country-level networks and communities of practice for information sharing and collaboration on population and environment linkages.

How are population dynamics and the environment linked?

How do family planning and reproductive health contribute to climate change adaptation and resilience?

  • PRB has built the evidence base linking family planning and reproductive health to increased resilience to shocks, including climate-related disturbances. This analysis of results from a long-running PHE project demonstrated the definitive impact of family planning in multisectoral approaches in connection with increased climate resilience.
  • Family planning and reproductive health have been identified as among the primary climate change solutions. PRB has compiled a comprehensive report, a brief (in English and French), and a video to outline the evidence and support family planning and reproductive health advocates in accessing climate adaptation financing for multisectoral programming.
  • Family planning’s contribution to resilience is mapped in this interactive feature, indicating family planning’s contributions to improved educational, economic, and other outcomes.

What is the Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) approach, how does it work, and where is it implemented?

Where can I go to find resources for learning more about or implementing PHE approaches?