New ECSP Series Focuses on Population, Environment, Security

Inaugural Report Discusses PHE Research in Guatemala's Petén

Nov 10, 2005

FOCUS, a single-author series of occasional papers on population, environment, and security, is the latest publication to join ECSP's roster. In the inaugural issue of FOCUS, anthropologist Liza Grandia discusses population-health-environment research in Guatemala's Petén region. Future issues will feature luminaries such as Jane Goodall and Peter Gleick, as well as other academics, researchers, and policymakers who work in the population, environment, and security fields. FOCUS replaces ECSP's previous newsletter, Population, Environmental Change, and Security (PECS) News, but will begin with Issue 10 where PECS left off.

Grandia's report, "Appreciating the Complexity and Dignity of People's Lives: Integrating Population-Health-Environment Research in Petén, Guatemala," explores the links between the rise in population and deforestation in the region, which is also home to the largest protected tropical forest north of the Amazon. From 1997-1999, a team of researchers developed a new environmental module for Guatemala's Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) that analyzed the rapidly changing population-environment dynamics in this frontier region. Grandia presents the context and history of the module's development and discusses the lessons learned. "The integrated DHS has been a critical part of developing...programs linking health and population with the environment," which have lowered Petén's total fertility rate from 6.8 to 5.8 children per woman in just four years. "Rather than reducing the many facets of human behavior into limited sectors, we can improve our understanding of the complexities of people's problems through integrated research," Grandia concludes.

In October 2004, Grandia spoke at the Wilson Center about her efforts with ProPetén, an environmental and social organization working in the Petén, to add environmental data to USAID's Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). The results of the integrated survey are available in Spanish; for an English version, please contact Luis Ochoa of Macro International, Inc.

For a hard copy of FOCUS or to be added to the mailing list, please contact ECSP.

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