Every year on July 11, we celebrate World Population Day by organizing special events. The world has been observing World Population Day since July 11, 1987.
On the occasion of the World Population day, executive director of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said, "This year on World Population Day, the focus is on young people. From a 10-year-old girl to a young man of 24, their needs are different, their cultures diverse. Yet, all over the world, young people want to be heard and involved.
They possess the ideas, determination and energy to accelerate effective action to reduce poverty and inequality. In every region, young people are taking action on HIV/AIDS and other issues that threaten their health, education and future opportunities.
Yet today, millions of young people are threatened by poverty, illiteracy, risks of pregnancy and childbirth, and HIV/AIDS. Today, more than 500 million people aged 15 to 24 live on less than $2 per day; 96 million young women in developing countries do not know how to read or write; and 14 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 become mothers every year. Every day, 6,000 young people are newly infected with HIV". She said.
She further added "These challenges lie at the heart of goals set by world leaders to reduce poverty and improve health and well-being. It is clear that the Millennium Development Goals will not be met unless young people are actively involved in policymaking and programming, their voices are heard, their needs are met and their human rights are respected.
On World Population Day, let us focus on young people and seek new ways to work side-by-side as partners in development. Although it is often said that young people are the future, it is also true that young people are the present and their leadership should be supported today. As a young peer educator said, “We are creating the future and it is great.” she added.
Thousands of mothers around the world find themselves caught between life and death. Every day thousands of mothers die of malnutrition, thousands of women still can not choose when or whether to become pregnant. Thousands of women are subject to derogatory treatment including sexual violence.
Studies show that the present trend of the population growth especially in developing countries including Nepal will be ravaged by famine and economic crisis.
More and more women are not in favor of having many children, but these women do not have easy access to various types of family planning facilities. In Nepal, only 39 percent of the married couple have access to means of family planning. The 'unmet need,’ according to the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), is at least 28 percent.
There is no reproductive freedom for the majority of women. They have to bear children one after the other until her husband is satisfied. A son is a must. Most of the women's deaths in the developing countries could be prevented by using existing medical knowledge, but there are many reasons why mothers continue to die. There are cultural and social causes that increase the risk of women's death during pregnancy.
Women all over the world want and need information on health, and access to appropriate information and services to help them make right decisions. The issue becomes more importance since half the world’s population is under the age of 25 and half of all new HIV infections occur to young women.
At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 180 nations recognized the importance of improving access to health care, education and employment opportunities to improve women's development. Even the right to family planning was more specifically defined in the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The Cairo Programme of Action (United Nations, 1994) says, "Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this are the rights of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice" (paragraphs 7.2 and 7.3).
Reproductive right was not discussed when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drawn up. However, it has become a recognized basic human right, which has had a major impact on the advancement of women's status and their lives during the past century.
The world population has already crossed the 6 billion mark and the two Asian giants, India and China, alone have over 2 billion people.
Decentralisation is key to good local governance. Population planning should, therefore, be an integral part of local development. Launching of literacy campaigns together with awareness programmes could serve as the conduit towards addressing the issue of equality and growing population.