Rapid population growth has become a huge concern globally over the last three decades. According to the United Nations, the world population reached one billion in hundreds of thousands of years, but in just another 200 years or so, it grew seven-fold. The global population touched the seven billion mark in 2011 and currently, it stands at 7.7 billion. If this trend continues unabated, the numbers are expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.
World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11 every year, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was exalted by the interest of the public when the global population became five billion on July 11 in the year 1987. The world today has its largest generation of youth in history – 1.8 billion young people, mostly in developing countries – with enormous potential to help tackle the major challenges facing humanity. But too many are denied their rightful opportunities to get a quality education, find decent work, and participate in the political life of their societies. This day offers an opportunity to renew our commitment to help young people unleash progress across society.
This year theme of World Population Day 2020: Putting the brakes on COVID-19: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls.The main goal of this day is to focus the attention of the world on the importance of population issues. We can't ignore the fact that COVID-19 pandemic disturbed and staggered people, communities, and economies everywhere. But everyone is not affected equally. For example, women, who account for the largest share of front-line workers are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus. According to The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), this year it focuses on how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now and putting the brakes on COVID-19. World Population Day is observed in an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of family planning, adoption, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights. It also seeks to show people the adverse effects that mass populations can have on the delicate ecosystem of the world and now the development of society.
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "Sustainable Development 2030 agenda 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 urbanisation." Population issues include family planning, gender equality, child marriage, human rights, right to health, the baby's health among others. Therefore, World Population Day focuses on the importance of reproductive health and how it affects overall growth and development plans and programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere, but it does not affect everyone equally. It is deepening existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, particularly for women and girls. With many countries on lock-down and health systems struggling to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being side-lined and gender-based violence is on the rise. The UNFPA projects that, if lock-down measures continue for six months with major disruptions to health services, 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries may not be able to access modern contraceptives, resulting in 7 million unintended pregnancies. Some 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence can also be expected.