WORLD POPULATION DAY: “FAMILY PLANNING IS A HUMAN RIGHT”

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Globally, the population has doubled since 1968 and grown by almost 40 percent since reaching 5 billion in 1987, an event that led to the first World Population Day. Growth will continue at least until mid-century despite dramatic declines in the average number of children per woman, according to UN population division.

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.

The theme for World Population Day 2018 is ““Family Planning is a Human Right”. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed to be a human right. The conference’s outcome document, known as the Teheran Proclamation, stated unequivocally: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”

Embedded in this legislative language was a game-changing realization: Women and girls have the right to avoid the exhaustion, depletion, and danger of too many pregnancies, too close together. Men and women have the right to choose when and how often to embrace parenthood if at all. Every individual has the human right to determine the direction and scope of his or her future in this fundamental way.

We, at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), are fully aware that over population growth is occurring all over the world but the growth often multiplies mostly in less developed countries. We believe that as more and more individuals share our planet, new challenges arise daily. Thus, it rests on individual decisions and actions to control global population growth particularly those from young people considering them as the largest portion of the world population. Therefore, taking into account the urgency to solve the current population challenges, we urge young people to educate others including their peers especially those living in less developed countries on effective family planning, sex education amongst adolescents and the importance of using a contraceptive.

Thus, at this point, we cannot know with certainty when or if world population can feasibly be stabilized, nor can we state with assurance the limits of the world's ecological "carrying capability", but we can be certain of the desired direction of change that we seek which is to ensure reproductive health through the channel of education.