World Population Day was instituted in 1989 by the then-governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme. At the time, the global population stood at 5 billion people.
30 years later, the current population now stands at over 7.3 billion people. According to the UN Population Division, Africa’s share is 1.2 billion people or roughly 16 percent.
The UN says by 2030 the world’s population will jump to 8.5. billion
And as the world marks World Population Day 2019, the focus is on the unfinished business of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.
Twenty-five years have passed since that landmark conference, where 179 governments recognized that reproductive health and gender equality are essential for achieving sustainable development. The UN says only 9 countries were able to reduce maternal deaths by at least 75% over the period.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The rise in the world’s population has been attributed to an increasing number of people surviving to reproductive age, accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration.
This comes even as UNFPA in collaboration with the Governments of Kenya and Denmark is preparing to host a high-level conference in Nairobi in November 2019 to accelerate efforts to achieve some of the unmet goals that were set during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.
These commitments will be focused on family planning information and services, zero preventable maternal deaths, zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.
“We have made incredible gains since then, but too many people are still being left behind, many nations have not been able to fully reap the demographic dividend because young people and other groups still lack agency, education and access to critical health services”. The United Nations.