As the Earth approaches the 7 billion population threshold the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday released a report on the challenges facing a world with an ever increasing population. Among other things the report called for giving women “equal footing” with men and recommended the creation of health and education initiatives designed to help the youth of the world.
According to the press release which accompanied the report, “The State of World Population 2011” is “mainly a report from the field, where demographers, policymakers, governments, civil society and individuals are grappling with population trends ranging from ageing to rapidly rising numbers of young people, from high population growth rates to shrinking populations, and from high rates of urbanization to rising international migration.”
UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin stated, “Young people hold the key to the future, with the potential to transform the global political landscape and to propel economies through their creativity and capacities for innovation. But the opportunity to realize youth’s great potential must be seized now.” Continuing, he concluded, “We should be investing in the health and education of our youth. This would yield enormous returns in economic growth and development for generations to come.”
Youths of ages 10 to 24 make up approximately 1.8 billion of the Earth’s almost 7 billion in population. The human population upon the Earth is expected to surpass the 7 billion mark on October 31, 2011.
Also covered were topics such as economic strength and independence in old age, the impact of migration, the continuing growth of cities, and the sharing and sustaining of Earth’s resources.
The report listed “Seven Opportunities for a World of 7 Billion:”
- Reducing poverty and inequality can slow population growth.
- Unleashing the power of women and girls can accelerate progress on all fronts.
- Energetic and open to new technologies, young people can transform global politics and culture.
- Ensuring that every child is wanted and every childbirth safe can lead to smaller and stronger families.
- Each of us depends on a healthy planet, so we must all help protect the environment.
- Promoting the health and productivity of the world’s older people can mitigate the challenges faced by aging societies.
- The next 2 billion people will live in cities, so we must plan for them now.
Concerning health and educational inequities and insufficiencies for men and women in the world, Dr. Osotimehin remarked, “Consider that there are 215 million women of childbearing age in developing countries who lack access to voluntary family planning. There are millions of adolescent girls and boys in the developing world who have too little access to sexuality education and information about how to prevent pregnancies or protect themselves from HIV. In pockets of the world where women’s status is low, infant and child survival are also low. And we must tear down economic, legal and social barriers, to put women and men and boys and girls on an equal footing in all spheres of life.”
Data was compiled from several different countries to see how challenges are being met presently and what can be done to improve initiatives in those countries as well as in other parts of the world. These countries were China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria and the Republic of Macedonia.
Editor: Koolage, Richard . “The State of World Population 2011.” United Nations Population Fund. 26 October 2011. PDF file. 27 October 2011.
“UNFPA Press Release:Additional Investments in Youth Needed as World Population Tops 7 Billion, States UNFPA Report.” United Nations Population Fund. 26 October 2011. Web. 27 October 2011.
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