The World Population Day is celebrated annually on 11 July, with the aim to focus the world’s attention on the importance of population issues. Since the middle of the 20th century, the world has experienced unprecedented population growth. In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, it stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.
This day covers a lot issues from different territories, from family planning, gender equality, and environmental impacts to human rights concerns. Hence, this year's World Population Day theme is ‘A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all - Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all’. Based on gender, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, disability and origin, among other factors, too many are still exposed to discrimination, harassment and violence. We have to join force and make sure that no one is neglected or left behind.
The 2022 edition of United Nations Population Fund - UNFPA’s flagship State of World Population report highlights the alarming figure that almost half of all pregnancies in the world are unintended and explores the health, human right, humanitarian and socio-economic linkages of unintended pregnancies, including the issue of gender-based violence, the increased barrier women face in accessing reproductive health services in conflict settings and the risks related to unsafe abortions. The report also includes new data on child marriage and adolescent pregnancy.
Additionally, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Even though the pace of global population growth will continue to decline in the coming decades, the world population is likely to be between 20 and 30 per cent larger in 2050 than in 2020. Having accurate estimates of population trends and reliable forecasts of future changes, including for the size of populations and their distributions by age, sex and geographical location, is required for policy formulation and implementation and as a guide to assist countries in following a path towards sustainable development.”
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 and systemic violations of women’s rights continue throughout their life cycles. Each individual must be empowered to make reproductive choices with full autonomy, free of pressure, and coercion. We need to continue investing in human and physical capital for inclusive, productive societies that uphold human and reproductive rights. Only then can we tackle the enormous challenges facing our planet and forge a world where health, dignity and education are rights and realities, not privileges and empty promises.
Therefore, taking into account the urgency to solve the current population challenges, we urge young people to educate their peers, especially those living in less developed countries, on existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, particularly for women and young girls. In a world of 8 billion, there must always be space for possibility and opportunities.