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Archive» Words: Pratha. Mumbai, India. Photo & illustration: eEyeCam

Challenges of the 21st Century-6

World Population Day: 6,709,195,643 (GMT 01:57) and Counting...

New York, July 11, 2008- Every second 4.3 newborn are joining our 6.7 billion human population. We are devouring more of the world's resources than our mother earth can bear or produce. There should be a stop, or, if not, control over our population if we want to continue to prosper and live for generations to come.

It makes sense that this year's World Population Day theme is “Family Planning: It’s a Right; Let’s Make it Real”. But hey wait, are we really making a point and being serious about it?

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that more than 140 countries worldwide will observe World Population Day on 11 July by emphasizing the importance of family planning for the wellbeing of families, communities and nations, and by underlining the need to further integrate such services into national development plans.


Human crowded scene of Dadar West, Mumbai, India. India's 2008 estimated (by CIA) population is 1.147 billion. Photos: eEyeCam
  UNFPA estimates that at least 200 million women want to use safe and effective family planning methods, but are unable to do so because they lack access to information and services or the support of their husbands and communities.

We have countries like India and China, each of which has one billion and more population to feed, and we have many African countries where famine and civil wars are taking such a toll that our generation has to be ashamed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau the global population reached one billion in 1804. It took 123 years (1927) to double to the two billion population mark, but since then it has taken only 72 years to triple to six billion in 1999.

And the world population will cross 9 billion (exact approximation 9,538,988,263) by 2050.

Another problem with our ever growing population is the move toward urban areas in search of livelyhood and better jobs. According to UNFPA more than half of the human population, 3.3 billion people, live in urban areas. There will be 5 billion people dwelling in the cities by 2030. And the result ? UNFPA says "Many of the new urbanites will be poor."

In the World Population Day 2008 message, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says "On World Population Day, let us focus on the critical importance of family planning if we are to successfully achieve the Millennium Development Goals."



Poor children near Karla Caves in Maharshtra, India. Photo: eEyeCam

He reminded the world leaders "Forty years ago, world leaders proclaimed that individuals have a basic right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Millennium Development Goal 5, improving maternal health, affirms this right and yet shows the least progress to date."

He further emphasized the need to hold the responsibility toward women and children and their fundamental rights; "I call on Governments to honour the commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development. At the Cairo Conference, nations agreed that all couples and individuals have the basic human right to not only decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, but also to have the information, education and means to do so."

In a separate message, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid says "Today as we commemorate World Population Day, let us renew our commitment to human dignity and the right to live in freedom from fear and want. Let us accelerate efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger and to improve the health of people and our planet."

Ms. Obaid asserts that family planning is essential to women’s empowerment and gender equality but it also an effective means in the fight against poverty. "Now is the time to accelerate action to ensure that health services reach women in the communities in which they live. Three reproductive health services are vital for maternal health: skilled attendance at birth, emergency obstetric care and family planning to time and space births."

Please note that by the time you finish reading this article there will be a few dozen additional newborns joining our steadily ballooning communities.


-Pradeep Thapa Magar in New York
Comments? 551-358-7726

Read our Challenges of 21st Century Series by Pradeep Thapa:

Challenges of the 21st Century-6
World Population Day: 6,709,195,643 (GMT 01:57) and Counting...
Challenges of the 21st Century-5
Women’s Commission releases landmark report on refugees with disabilities:
Voice of 3.5 million people with disabilities among the world’s 35 million displaced people
Challenges of the 21st Century-4
World Refugee Day 2008: "We're thinking of you this day"
-UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador & Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie
Challenges of the 21st Century-3
World Environment Day 2008 & CO2
Challenges of the 21st Century-2
World’s Indigenous Voices Echo at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Challenges of the 21st Century-1
Dedicate an Hour of Darkness to the Mother Earth
  तपाईंको भनाइ लेखी छाड्‍न र अरुको भनाइ पढ्न यहाँ क्लिक गर्नुहोस्
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