Every year, July 11th is observed as The United Nations' (UN) World Population Day. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) began observing this day in 1989 as a means to create awareness on the importance of family planning, maternal health, gender equality, poverty, and human rights. It is the right of every human being to decide the number and timing of their children, and this is the pervading sentiment of World Population Day.
The theme of World Population Day 2011, "Calling Attention to Urgent Global Issues" is a clarion call to governments, organizations, communities and individuals to understand population issues worldwide and spearhead action.
In 1968, world leaders took cognizance of the basic human right of family planning where every individual has the right to plan the size of their families and space their children.
More than four decades later, many millions of women and men do not have access to modern contraceptive methods.
• Alarmingly, one in twelve people worldwide is malnourished.
• The World Bank says, 982 million people from developing nations sustain on a paltry $1 a day or even less.
• More than 500 million people from the Asian, African and Latin American countries live in abject poverty.
• 15 million children die of hunger.
• Starvation death occurs every 3.6 seconds.
A burgeoning population undoubtedly sparks a host of problems related to hunger and malnutrition.
7 Billion Mark
This year the World Population Day assumes greater significance as it is touching the seven billion mark by the end of October 2011.
China leads as the most populated country with 1.3 billion people, India comes next with 1.2 billion, the United States follows with a population of 310.2 million, followed by Indonesia with a population of 242.9 million and Brazil with 201.1 million.
On World Population Day, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), will be raising the curtains on a new campaign called "7 Billion Actions".
Explaining the main goal of this campaign, Dr. Babatunde told the media, "it will engage people on what it means to live in a world with seven billion people and encourage action on issues that affect all of us. We can forge the future with young people, advance rights for girls and women, and safeguard the natural resources on which we all depend."
Family Planning Advantage
Family planning has the capacity to reduce rate of maternal deaths by 32% and cut infant mortality by 10 percent.
For close to 215 million women, access to quality reproductive health and family planning services is a huge challenge. This problem is bound to escalate with any increase in population.
Tamara Kreinin, Executive Director of Women and Population at the U.N. Foundation stressed the importance of accessibility of quality family planning services as a foundation for stronger and happier families.
Nearly thousand women die everyday due to pregnancy and childbirth related complications. Empowering women with knowledge enables them to make informed decisions about spacing their pregnancies and planning the size of their families. It is here that the World Population Day assumes significance in making the world a better place to live in.