“Family planning systems around the world weren't based on what children need. They were based on what parents want, and largely because world leaders in the 20th century didn't want to invest in children. They didn't want to take all of the wealth at the top and ensure that all children get what they need. In fact, they were willing to privilege their own children, maintaining concentrations of wealth and power, rather than raising up all children.”
The climate fight is a fight for children’s rights.
When Carter Dillard began researching family planning systems he found a fallacy in international policy: The Children’s Rights Convention, ratified by the UN, entitles children to health, education, well-being and fulfilled potential—but no country implements family planning systems around these rights. Family planning systems are based around what parents want, not what children need. Every country, in effect, is breaking the Children’s Rights Convention.
Why? For economic growth.
Carter’s research shows a series of policy interventions in the 20th century made family planning a private matter. This absolved states of the responsibility to invest in children and redistribute wealth, whilst guaranteeing a boom in population to feed the economic machine.
“If we'd had to invest in children to give them everything they need to ensure that children are born in what, in the conditions that comply with the convention, we would not have had growth.”
Carter is the author of the Justice as a Fair Start in Life: Understanding the Right to Have Children, and the Policy Director of the Fair Start Movement, an organisation committed to raising awareness of the Children’s Rights Convention. They are currently petitioning the UN Human Rights Council claiming the UN has misinterpreted the right to have children, and have forthcoming constitutional litigation in the USA. He joins me to discuss this work, his research into the history of family planning, and the impact of climate change on children. He also provides a vision for reframing family planning reform as an active climate policy which could advocate systemic change through one simple message: that everybody deserves a fair start in life.
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