The urgency of the need to understand the relationships between population and population change and local and global development at the beginning of the twentyfirst century is highlighted by the fact that three of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations (UN), set in 2002 to be achieved by 2015, explicitly deal with a major population concern:

l Reduce infant and child mortality (MDG 4), which in its turn will have an impact on MDG 2, achieving universal primary education;

Two other MDGs also have a strong population-related component at their core:

l Empower women (MDG 3), with its immediate implications for reducing fertility and with greater concern for reproductive health;

l Ensure environmental stability (MDG 7), with its immediate implications for the overall levels of population size and population growth, and also for migration and urbanisation.