World Population Day – July 11, 2013
The annual World Population Day will be celebrated again this year as it has been in the past on July 11th. The day of global observance, though not an official holiday, was established by the UN Development Programme in 1989 after increased public interested in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, when it was estimated that the world population reached 5 billion. World Population Day seeks to increase regarding population issues, including the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health, and human rights. It also gives people more information that the world’s increasing population has on our development, and the environment.
The event is celebrated worldwide by business groups, community organizations, and individuals in many ways, with governments, non-governmental institutions, and individuals who organize educational activities, such as seminar discussions, educational information sessions, and essay competitions. Much of its success has come in large part from encouragement through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The theme of last year’s event was “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services.” Universal access to reproductive health by 2015 was one of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, with the hope of creating “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” Reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide, killing almost 800 women every day. As stated on their webpage (link), they hope to help generate “greater commitment to the idea that everyone has a right to reproductive health.”
Past themes for World Population Day have included: The World at 7 Billion; Everyone Counts; Fight Poverty: Educate Girls; Plan Your Future, Plan Your Family; and Men at Work.
This year’s theme is Adolescent Pregnancy. “About 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year. Another 3.2 million undergo unsafe abortions” (http://www.unfpa.org/public/world-population-day). Adolescent pregnancy is both a health issue and a human rights issue.