World Population Day is an annual event that is observed on July 11. It seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest when the global population approached five billion. On July 11, 1987, a newborn in Yugoslavia was declared to be the 5 billionth human alive on the planet. The current world population exceeds 7.4 billion.
Population Day aims to raise awareness of global population issues. Population growth has had negative effects to both humans and the environment. The greatest identifiable threat caused due to over population is the alarmingly fast depletion of natural resources and the threat to sustainability.
The key themes of World Population Day are hunger, disease, warfare, welfare and human rights. It is observed in many different ways worldwide by business groups, community organizations and individuals. Activities include seminar discussions, educational information sessions and essay competitions. The objectives of celebrating World Population Day include:
- To protect and empower youths of both genders
- To offer detail knowledge about their sexuality and to delay marriage until they become able to understand their responsibilities
- To educate youth in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies by using reasonable and youth friendly measures
- To educate people to remove gender stereotypes from society
- To educate them about the pregnancy related illnesses and to raise the public awareness about the dangers of early childbirth
- To educate them about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and to prevent various infections
- To demand the implementation of effective laws and policies in order to protect the rights of female children
- To ensure access to equal primary education for both girls and boys
- To make sure that there is easy access to reproductive health services everywhere as part the basic primary health care for each couple.
The theme of this year's World Population Day is ‘Investing in teenage girls’.
Teenage girls around the world face enormous challenges, especially marginalized girls, such as members of ethnic minorities or those living in poverty or remote areas. Many teenage girls are forced to get married and become mothers at the time when they should be going to school and getting an education. As a result, they do not have access to basic information about their health, human rights and reproductive rights which leaves them vulnerable to illness, injury and exploitation.
UNFPA's (United Nation Population Fund) programs aim to end child marriage, curb adolescent pregnancy, and empower girls to make informed choices about their health and lives. In 2015, UNFPA programs helped 11.2 million girls between the ages of 10 and 19 to gain access to sexual and reproductive health services and information.
When teenage girls are empowered, know about their rights and are given the tools to succeed, they become agents of positive change in their communities. By empowering today’s youth, we will lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for generations to come.