Amidst the bleak atmosphere of a looming pandemic that has horribly impacted the worldwide population, people across continents and countries shall come together to commemorate World Population Day on 11 July with an underlying message of hope in their hearts and minds. It has been observed since 1989 when it was first introduced by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme to mark the day when the world population officially crossed 5 million. While specific agendas are explored every year, the broad aim is to increase awareness regarding population issues including poverty, maternal health, gender equality, human rights, and family planning.
This year, the United Nations plans to revisit the agendas of the 1994 International Conference and Development by calling all member countries across the world for a summit in Nairobi four months later in November. The theme this year is based on safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls around the world with special emphasis on the impact felt by them due to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Deaths caused due to complications during pregnancies, gender inequalities, gender-based violence are some of the issues in focus.
Addressing the world publicly, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations wrote a special message meant for the occasion, and collating sustainable development with the world population, went on to write – “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, aging, migration, and urbanization. For many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change. Other countries are facing the challenge of aging populations, including the need to promote healthy active aging and to provide adequate social protection. As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth.”
Since mass gatherings are not possible due to strict social distancing measures still in place in several places across the globe, the United Nations Development Programme, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund Agency have a primary motive of raising as much awareness vis-à-vis the theme as they can through online media in the form of marketing campaigns, webinars, inter-continental video meets, social media infographics, etc. Sharing statistics and guidelines online related along the lines of “sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the pandemic” is also on the cards.
The 2020 edition of the World Population Day will admittedly be a low-key affair as compared to its previous counterparts, but with the world desperately looking for some positivity under the current circumstances, it shall undoubtedly be a memorable one.
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