World Population Day_11th July 2019

UNITED NATIONS

Women who benefit from a daycare funded by the Productive Safety Nets Program in Arsi Ethiopia

Women who benefit from a daycare funded by the Productive Safety Nets Program in Arsi Ethiopia. Photo: World Bank/Binyam Teshome

 

World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987.

This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. Twenty-five years have passed since that landmark conference, where 179 governments recognized that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for achieving sustainable development.

In November, UNFPA, together with the governments of Kenya and Denmark, will be convening a high-level conference in Nairobi to accelerate efforts to achieve these unmet goals. On World Population Day, advocates from around the world are calling on leaders, policymakers, grassroots organizers, institutions and others to help make reproductive health and rights a reality for all.


Background

World Population Day, which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987.

By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.

The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries. Since then, a number of a number of UNFPA country offices and other organizations and institutions commemorate World Population Day, in partnership with governments and civil society.


Secretary-General’s Message

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet.  On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization.

While the world’s population overall continues to increase, this growth is uneven. For many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change. Other countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations, including the need to promote healthy active ageing and to provide adequate social protection. As the world continues to urbanize, with 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth.

While managing these population trends, we must also recognize the relationship between population, development and individual well-being.  Twenty-five years ago, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), world leaders first spelt out the links between population, development and human rights, including reproductive rights. They also recognized that promoting gender equality is both the right thing to do and one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved well-being for all.

This year’s World Population Day calls for global attention to the unfinished business of the Cairo ICPD Conference.

Despite progress in lowering maternal mortality and unintended pregnancies, many challenges remain. Around the world, we are seeing pushback on women’s rights, including on essential health services.  Issues related to pregnancy are still the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19. Gender-based violence, which is rooted in inequality, continues to take a horrific toll.

In November, a summit marking the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference will take place in Nairobi.  I encourage Member States to participate at the highest levels and to make firm political and financial commitments to realize the Programme of Action of the ICPD.

Carrying forward the vision of the ICPD will unlock opportunities for those left behind and help pave the way for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development for all.

António Guterres

A throng of shoppers in Myungdong, downtown Seoul

A throng of shoppers in Myungdong, downtown Seoul. The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights. UN Photo/Kibae Park

 

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