Section II-A NSSM 200, Pages 130-142

General Strategy and Resource Allocations for AID Assistance


1. Past Program Actions

Since inception of the program in 1965, AID has obligated nearly $625 million for population activities. These funds have been used primarily to (1) draw attention to the population problem, (2) encourage multilateral and other donor support for the world wide population effort, and (3) help create and maintain the means for attacking the problem, including the development of LDC capabilities to do so.

In pursuing these objectives, AID's population resources were focussed on areas of need where actions was feasible and likely to be effective. AID has provided assistance to population programs in some 70 LDCs, on a bilateral basis and/or indirectly through private organizations and other channels. AID currently provides bilateral assistance to 36 of these countries. State and AID played an important role in establishing the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to spearhead multilateral effort in population as a complement to the bilateral actions of AID and other donor countries. Since the Fund's establishment, AID has been the largest single contributor. Moreover, with assistance from AID a number of private family planning organizations (e.g., Pathfinder Fund, International Planned Parenthood Foundation, Population Council) have significantly expanded their worldwide population programs. Such organizations are still the main supporters of family planning action in many developing countries.

AID actions have been a major catalyst in stimulating the flow of funds into LDC population programs - from almost nothing ten years ago, the amounts being spent from all sources in 1974 for programs in the developing countries of Africa, Latin America, and Asia (excluding China) will total between $400 and $500 million. About half of this will be contributed by the developed countries bilaterally or through multilateral agencies, and the balance will come from the budgets of the developing countries themselves. AID's contribution is about one-quarter of the total - AID obligated $112.4 million for population programs in FY 1974 and plans for FY 1975 program of $137.5 million.

While world resources for population activities will continue to grow, they are unlikely to expand as rapidly as needed. (One rough estimate is that five times the current amount, or about $2.5 billion in constant dollars, will be required annually by 1985 to provide the 2.5 billion people in the developing world, excluding China, with full-scale family planning programs). In view of these limited resources AID's efforts (in both fiscal and manpower terms) and through its leadership the efforts of others, must be focused to the extent possible on high priority needs in countries where the population problem is the most acute. Accordingly, AID last year began a process of developing geographic and functional program priorities for use in allocating funds and staff, and in arranging and adjusting divisions of labor with other donors and organizations active in the worldwide population effort. Although this study has not yet been completed, a general outline of a U.S. population assistance strategy can be developed from the results of the priorities studied to date. The geographic and functional parameters of the strategy are discussed under 2. and 3. below. The implications for population resource allocations are presented under 4.

2. Geographic Priorities in U.S. Population Assistance

The U.S. strategy should be to encourage and support, through bilateral, multilateral and other channels, constructive actions to lower fertility rates in selected developing countries. Within this overall strategy and in view of funding and manpower limitations, the U.S. should emphasize assistance to those countries where the population problem is the most serious.

There are three major factors to consider in judging the seriousness of the problem:

- The first is the country's contribution to the world's population problem, which is determined by the size of its population, its population growth rate, and its progress in the "demographic transition" from high birth and high death rates to low ones.

- The second is the extent to which population growth impinges on the country's economic development and its financial capacity to cope with its population problem.

- The third factor is the extent to which an imbalance between growing numbers of people and a country's capability to handle the problem could lead to serious instability, international tensions, or conflicts. Although many countries may experience adverse consequences from such imbalances, the troublemaking regional or international conditions might not be as serious in some places as they are in others.

Based on the first two criteria, AID has developed a preliminary rank ordering of nearly 100 developing countries which, after review and refinement, will be used as a guide in AID's own funding and manpower resource allocations and in encouraging action through AID leadership efforts on the part of other population assistance instrumentalities. Applying these three criteria to this rank ordering, there are 13 countries where we currently judge the problem and risks to be the most serious. They are: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. Out of a total 67 million worldwide increase in population in 1972 these countries contributed about 45%. These countries range from those with virtually no government interest in family planning to those with active government family planning programs which require and would welcome enlarged technical and financial assistance.

These countries should be given the highest priority within AID's population program in terms of resource allocations and/or leadership efforts to encourage action by other donors and organizations. The form and content of our assistance or leadership efforts would vary from country-to-country (as discussed in 3. below), depending on each country's needs, its receptivity to various forms of assistance, its capability to finance needed actions, the effectiveness with which funds can be used, and current or adjusted divisions of labor among the other donors and organizations providing population assistance to the country. AID's population actions would also need to be consistent with the overall U.S. development policy toward each country.

While the countries cited above would be given highest priority, other countries would not be ignored. AID would provide population assistance and/or undertake leadership efforts with respect to other countries to the extent that the availability of funds and staff permits, taking account of such factors as: a country's placement in AID's priority listing of LDCs; its potential impact on domestic unrest and international frictions (which can apply to small as well as large countries); its significance as a test or demonstration case; and opportunities for expenditures that appear particularly cost-effective (e.g. its has been suggested that there may be particularly cost-effective opportunities for supporting family planning to reduce the lag between mortality and fertility declines in countries where death rates are still declining rapidly).

3. Mode and Content of U.S. Population Assistance

In moving from geographic emphases to strategies for the mode and functional content of population assistance to both the higher and lower priority countries which are to be assisted, various factors need to be considered: (1) the extent of a country's understanding of its population problem and interest in responding to it; (2) the specific actions needed to cope with the problem; (3) the country's need for external financial assistance to deal with the problem; and (4) its receptivity to various forms of assistance.

Some of the countries in the high priority group cited above (e. g. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) and some lower priority countries have recognized that rapid population growth is a problem, are taking actions of their own to deal with it, and are receptive to assistance from the U.S. (through bilateral or central AID funding) and other donors, as well as to multilateral support for their efforts. In these cases AID should continue to provide such assistance based on each country's functional needs, the effectiveness with which funds can be used in these areas, and current or adjusted divisions of labor among other donors and organizations providing assistance to the country. Furthermore, our assistance strategies for these countries should consider their capabilities to finance needed population actions. Countries which have relatively large surpluses of export earning and foreign exchange reserves are unlikely to require large- scale external financial assistance and should be encouraged to finance their own commodity imports as well as local costs. In such cases our strategy should be to concentrate on needed technical assistance and on attempting to play a catalytic role in encouraging better programs and additional host country financing for dealing with the population problem.

In other high and lower priority countries U.S. assistance is limited either by the nature of political or diplomatic relations with those countries (e.g. India, Egypt), or by the lack of strong government interest in population reduction programs (e.g. Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil). In such cases, external technical and financial assistance, if desired by the countries, would have to come from other donors and/or from private and international organizations (many of which receive contributions from AID). The USG would, however, maintain an interest (e.g. through Embassies) in such countries' population problems and programs (if any) to reduce population growth rates. Moreover, particularly in the case of high priority countries to which U.S. population assistance is now limited for one reason or another, we should be alert to opportunities for expanding our assistance efforts and for demonstrating to their leaders the consequences of rapid population growth and the benefits of actions to reduce fertility.

In countries to which other forms of U.S. assistance are provided but not population assistance, AID will monitor progress toward achievement of development objectives, taking into account the extent to which these are hindered by rapid population growth, and will look for opportunities to encourage initiation of or improvement in population policies and programs.

In addition, the U.S. strategy should support general activities capable of achieving major breakthroughs in key problems which hinder attainment of fertility control objectives. For example, the development of more effective, simpler contraceptive methods through big-medical research will benefit all countries which face the problem of rapid population growth; improvements in methods for measuring demographic changes will assist a number of LDCs in determining current population growth rates and evaluating the impact over time of population/family planning activities.

4. Resource Allocations for U.S. Population Assistance

AID funds obligated for population/family planning assistance rose steadily since inception of the program ($10 million in the FY 1965-67 period) to nearly $125 million in FY 1972. In FY 1973, however, funds available for population remained at the $125 million level; in FY 1974 they actually declined slightly, to $112.5 million because of a ceiling on population obligations inserted in the legislation by the House Appropriations Committee. With this plateau in AID population obligations, worldwide resources have not been adequate to meet all identified, sensible funding needs, and we therefore see opportunities for significant expansion of the program.

Some major actions in the area of creating conditions for fertility decline, as described in Section JIB, can be funded from AID resources available for the sectors in question (e.g., education, agriculture). Other actions come under the purview of population ("Title X") funds. In this latter category, increases in projected budget requests to the Congress on the order of $35-50 million annually through FY 1980 above the $137.5 million requested by FY 1975 appear appropriate at this time. Such increases must be accompanied by expanding contributions to the worldwide population effort from other donors and organizations and from the LDCs themselves, if significant progress is to be made. The USG should take advantage of appropriate opportunities to stimulate such contributions from others.

Year Amount ($ million)

  • FY 1972 - Actual Obligations 123.3
  • FY 1973 - Actual Obligations 125.6
  • FY 1974 - Actual Obligations 112.4
  • FY 1975 - Request to Congress 137.5
  • FY 1976 - Projection 170
  • FY 1977 - Projection 210
  • FY 1978 - Projection 250
  • FY 1979 - Projection 300
  • FY 1980 - Projection 350

These Title X funding projections for FY 1976-80 are general magnitudes based on preliminary estimates of expansion or initiation of population programs in developing countries and growing requirements for outside assistance as discussed in greater detail in other sections of this paper. These estimates contemplated very substantial increases in self-help and assistance from other donor countries.

Our objective should be to assure that developing countries make family planning information, educational and means available to all their peoples by 1980. Our efforts should include:

  • Increased A.I.D. bilateral and centrally-funded programs, consistent with the geographic priorities cited above.
  • Expanded contributions to multilateral and private
  • organizations that can work effectively in the population area.
  • Further research on the relative impact of various socio- economic factors on desired family size, and experimental efforts to test the feasibility of larger-scale efforts to affect some of these factors.
  • Additional big-medical research to improve the existing means of fertility control and to develop new ones which are safe, effective, inexpensive, and attractive to both men and women.
  • Innovative approaches to providing family planning services, such as the utilization of commercial channels for distribution of contraceptives, and the development of low-cost systems for delivering effective health and family planning services to the 85% of LDC populations not now reached by such services.
  • Expanded efforts to increase the awareness of LDC leaders and publics regarding the consequences of rapid population growth and to stimulate further LDC commitment to actions to reduce fertility.

We believe expansions in the range of 35-50 million annually over the next five years are realistic, in light of potential LDC needs and prospects for increased contributions from other population assistance instrumentalities, as well as constraints on the speed with which AID (and other donors) population funds can be expanded and effectively utilized. These include negative or ambivalent host government attitudes toward population reduction programs; the need for complementary financial and manpower inputs by recipient governments, which must come at the expense of other programs they consider to be high priority; and the need to assure that new projects involve sensible, effective actions that are likely to reduce fertility. We must avoid inadequately planned or implemented programs that lead to extremely high costs per acceptor. In effect, we are closer to "absorptive capacity" in terms of year- to-year increases in population programs than we are, for example, in annual expansions in food, fertilizer or generalized resource transfers.

It would be premature to make detailed funding recommendations by countries and functional categories in light of our inability to predict what changes such as in host country attitudes to U.S. population assistance and in fertility control technologies may occur which would significantly alter funding needs in particular geographic or functional areas. For example, AID is currently precluded from providing bilateral assistance to India and Egypt, two significant countries in the highest priority group, due to the nature of U.S. political and diplomatic relations with these countries. However, if these relationships were to change and bilateral aid could be provided, we would want to consider providing appropriate population assistance to these countries. In other cases, changing U.S. - LDC relationships might preclude further aid to some countries. Factors such as these could both change the mix and affect overall magnitudes of funds needed for population assistance. Therefore, proposed program mixes and funding levels by geographic and functional categories should continue to be examined on an annual basis during the regular USG program and budget review processes which lead to the presentation of funding requests to the Congress.

Recognizing that changing opportunities for action could substantially affect AID's resource requirements for population assistance, we anticipate that, if funds are provided by the Congress at the levels projected, we would be able to cover necessary actions related to the highest priority countries and also those related to lower priority countries, moving reasonably far down the list. At this point, however, AID believes it would not be desirable to make priority judgments on which activities would not be funded if Congress did not provide the levels projected. If cuts were made in these levels we would have to make judgments based on such factors as the priority rankings of countries, then-existing LDC needs, and divisions of labor with other actors in the population assistance area.

If AID's population assistance program is to expand at the general magnitudes cited above, additional direct hire staff will likely be needed. While the expansion in program action would be primarily through grants and contracts with LDC or U.S. institutions, or through contributions to international organizations, increases in direct hire staff would be necessary to review project proposals, monitor their implementation through such instrumentalities, and evaluate their progress against pre-established goals. Specific direct hire manpower requirements should continue to be considered during the annual program and budget reviews, along with details of program mix and funding levels by country and functional category, in order to correlate staffing needs with projected program actions for a particular year.


1. The U.S. strategy should be to encourage and support, through bilateral, multilateral and other channels, constructive action to lower fertility rates in selected developing countries. The U.S. should apply each of the relevant provisions of its World Population Plan of Action and use it to influence and support actions by developing countries.

2. Within this overall strategy, the U.S. should give highest priority, in terms of resource allocation (along with donors) to efforts to encourage assistance from others to those countries cited above where the population problem is most serious, and provide assistance to other countries as funds and staff permit.

3. AID's further development of population program priorities, both geographic and functional, should be consistent with the general strategy discussed above, with the other recommendations of this paper and with the World Population Plan of Action. The strategies should be coordinated with the population activities of other donors countries and agencies using the WPPA as leverage to obtain suitable action.

4. AID's budget requests over the next five years should include a major expansion of bilateral population and family planning programs (as appropriate for each country or region), of functional activities as necessary, and of contributions through multilateral channels, consistent with the general funding magnitudes discussed above. The proposed budgets should emphasize the country and functional priorities outlined in the recommendations of this study and as detailed in AID's geographic and functional strategy papers.

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