Various locations worldwide, Worldwide
As the world population approaches 7 billion in 2011, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is calling on individuals, organizations, media and governments to come together around a common dialogue and to take action on issues that affect humanity through its 7 Billion Actions Campaign. All actions must be based on and promote the human rights of individuals and be devoid of coercion or discrimination.
The seven key issues include:
- Poverty and Inequality – Breaking the cycle: In the poorest countries, extreme poverty, food insecurity, inequality, high death rates and high birth rates are linked in a vicious cycle. Reducing poverty by investing in health and education, especially for women and girls, can break this cycle. As living conditions improve, parents can feel more confident that most of their children will survive. Many then choose to have smaller families. This allows for greater investment in each child’s health care and education, improved productivity and better long-term prospects – for the family and for the country. This helps break the poverty cycle.
- Women and Girls – Empowerment and Progress: In a world of 7 billion, every person should enjoy equal rights and dignity. We cannot afford to lose the full potential of half the world’s population. Investing in women and girls is cost-effective and essential to solving the world’s most challenging problems. When women are healthy and educated and can participate fully in society, they trigger progress in their families, communities and nations.
- Young People – Forging the Future: Energetic and open to new technologies, history’s largest and most interconnected population of young people is transforming politics and culture. People under 25 make up 43 per cent of the world’s population, but the percentage reaches 60 per cent in the least developed countries. When young people can claim their right to health, education and decent working conditions, they become a powerful force for economic development and positive change. Investing in adolescent girls is one of the smartest investments a country can make.
- Reproductive Health and Rights – The Facts of Life: Ensuring that every child is wanted and every childbirth safe leads to smaller and stronger families. Individual decisions determine global population growth. However, some 215 million women in developing countries lack access to effective family planning and are not able to exercise their reproductive rights. Too many women give birth too young, too often or with too little time between pregnancies to survive: every day 1,000 women die giving life, one every 90 seconds.
- Environment – Healthy Planet, Healthy People: All 7 billion of us depend on the health of our planet. The paramount challenge of this century is to meet the needs of 7 billion human beings now – and the billions to come – while protecting the intricate balance of nature that sustains life. Demands for water, food and fossil fuels will only increase as world population grows. Impoverished people, who contribute the least to climate change, are likely to suffer the most from its effects and many will seek a better future elsewhere. We should invest in greener technology.
- Ageing – An Unprecedented Challenge: Lower fertility and longer lives add up to new challenges worldwide: ageing populations. Smaller percentages of people in their prime working years, relative to older or younger dependents, skew social and economic structures. When fertility drops below replacement level, labour shortages may result, because the number of retiring workers each year will eventually exceed the number of new workers coming into the labour market. Yet, healthy older workers represent a growing reservoir of unrealized human capital.
- Urbanization – Planning for Growth: The next two billion people will live in cities. We need to plan now. While cities concentrate poverty, they also provide the best means of escaping it. Cities have long been engines of economic growth. Densely populated areas can be more environmentally sustainable than sprawling communities and allow for more efficient provision of services.
Learn how you can take action today to make a difference in people’s lives at: www.7billionactions.org/