‘The World is Not Enough’

(American Biologist, Theorist and Naturalist).


History of World Population Day

World Population
Day was established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations
Development Program. This was inspired by the Day of Five Billion, which was
observed on 11th July 1987. On this day, the world population reached 5 billion. Through
a resolution (A/RES/45/216) passed at the 71st Plenary Meeting of the United Nations
General Assembly on 21st December 1990, it was decided that the World
Population Day should be a permanent annual event, which is to be celebrated on
11th July every year
for enhancing awareness about population issues, including its impact on the
environment and global economic development.

United Nation’s Contribution to Addressing
World Population Issues

The United Nations
(UN) addresses all global population issues through its Population Division and
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The UN Population Division is the
nodal point of contact for all stakeholders to hold consultations with the UN
on all matters related to the world population. The UNFPA works both within and
outside the UN system by interacting with governments, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), key decision makers, community and religious leaders, as
well as civil society, to implement programs and achieve its goals.
Importantly, the UNFPA funds country-led initiatives pertaining to population
control, such as family planning and reproductive health.

Focus of the 2019 World Population Day

Every year, the
UN chooses a specific theme that focuses on a particular aspect of the issues
associated with the world’s population. The 2019 World Population Day does
not have any specific theme.
This year, the UN draws the attention of
the global community to address the unfinished agenda
of the 1994
International Conference on Population and Development, which took place 25
years ago in Cairo, Egypt. In this historic conference, 179 governments across
the globe reached a consensus that gender equality and reproductive health are
vital for attaining sustainable development. This is the basis of the Program
of Action that forms the foundation of all activities conducted by the UNFPA.
Notably, the UNFPA is convening a high-powered intergovernmental conference in
Nairobi, Kenya in November to address these unmet goals.

World Population Day Activities in Three
Countries – A Snapshot

  • New York, USA: A variety of
    activities are planned in New York, which is the UN’s Headquarters. A
    high-level meeting is being organized, where government representatives
    from across the world will meet to discuss global population issues in the
    context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • London, UK: In the UK, the fast
    rate of population growth, coupled with high consumption levels is
    disproportionately affecting the global environment. In order to address
    this issue, the UK government’s Department for International Development
    (DFID) is expediting efforts to achieve the SDGs in a time-bound manner
  • Lagos, Nigeria: Nigeria is the
    highest populated country in Africa. It is projected that Nigeria will
    overtake the US and become the third most populous country in the world by
    2050. On World Population Day, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF),
    a Nigerian NGO dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable
    development, will host a round-table conference with campaigners and
    government representatives to discuss the impact of unsustainable
    population growth at the national and international levels  

World Population: Facts & Figures

  • The
    current world population is 7.7 billion
  • The
    current population of India is 1.37
    billion
    or approximately one-sixth of the world population
  • 83 million people are being added to
    the world’s population every year
  • The world population is expected to
    reach 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100
  • 60 percent of the world’s population
    resides in Asia
  • 17 percent of the world’s population
    resides in India
  • India will become the world’s most populous country by 2024
  • A billion people or one-eighth of the
    world’s population live in hunger
  • 2 million children die of malnutrition
    annually
  • 10 percent of the world’s population
    don’t have access to proper sanitation
  • 30 percent of the world’s population
    is due to unwanted or accidental pregnancies
  • Population, when unchecked, doubles every 25 years or increases in
    a geometrical ratio
  • The world population can be stabilized
    by eliminating 350,000 people daily 

Major Drivers of Population Growth

World Population
Day aims to highlight the precarious condition that the world is currently in
due to the population explosion, which is spiraling out of control. It also
aims to focus the world’s attention on the major factors that have a direct or
indirect impact on population growth across the globe. Some of these are highlighted
below:

  • Fertility Rate: This
    is the biggest factor that affects population growth – higher the
    fertility rate, the larger the population. The fertility rate is a
    reflection of the reproductive health of women in a particular country,
    which has a direct bearing onmaternal
    and child health
  • Mortality Rate: This
    is a measure of the number of deaths occurring over a specific period of
    time. If the death rate is higher than the birth rate, then the population
    will decrease. Unfortunately, this doesn’t reflect the current real-life
    scenario
  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy at birth is an estimate of the expected
    lifespan of a newborn baby. With advancements in medicine, the average
    life expectancy has appreciably increased over the decades, which has
    contributed to overpopulation
  • Family Planning:
    Lack of access to safe and effective family planning methods such as
    contraception, has led to an increase in unwanted pregnancies
  • Education:
    Education is a powerful factor that has a far-reaching impact on population
    growth. In this regard, the education of girls is vital. They should receive sex education,
    which will help prevent adolescent pregnancies, which currently stands at
    15 million annually in the age group of 15-19 years. Both girls and boys
    should also have knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Economic Development: Developing countries with weak economies tend to have a larger
    population. For example, agricultural-based societies look upon children
    as extra helping hands who can perform household chores and help in
    harvesting crops
  • Social & Cultural Norms: In many societies, child marriage is still
    rampant, despite efforts to stop it. Also, in many countries, including
    India, joint families have traditionally been the norm. However, nowadays,
    there is a trend towards nuclear families, with fewer family members
  • Immigration: High
    levels of immigration can drastically increase the population size of the
    host country. This is true for host countries like the UK and USA.
    However, in countries like Japan, which has strict immigration laws, there
    has been a stagnation in the population over the years
  • Gender Equality: In countries where gender equality is lacking, women do not have a
    voice in matters of health, including reproductive health, which leads to
    a larger family size
  • Human Rights:
    Violation of human rights, particularly the right to health, can have a
    dramatic influence on population growth, both nationally and globally
  • Poverty: Poverty
    is at the root of many social evils. Among other things, it can lead to an increased birth rate, which
    can significantly increase the population size

The Way Forward

Some of the ways to
address the current global population crisis include the following:

  • Birth Control: There should
    be universal access to safe and effective contraceptive methods for both men and
    women. Moreover, voluntary sterilization, such as tubal ligation for women
    and vasectomy for men should be encouraged,
    particularly when a couple already has two children
  • Family Planning: Having a
    small family size is important for keeping the nation’s population down
    too. In this regard, the popular Indian family planning slogan “Hum do, hamare do” (Us two, our two) is very
    appropriate
  • Compulsory Education: Compulsory
    education till the secondary level (16 years of age), as in most developed
    countries, will mean that children are no longer economic assets, but
    economic liabilities. Therefore, the high cost of bringing up a child will
    discourage parents from having a large family
  • Women Empowerment: Women should
    be empowered so that they can make informed choices about family planning
  • Gender Equality: Gender bias
    should be eradicated at all levels – law, economic opportunity, health,
    and culture. Women who are on equal terms with men in all these aspects,
    are more likely to postpone childbearing and have fewer children
  • Sex Education: Adolescents,
    especially girls, should be educated about sexual issues, such as avoiding
    unwanted pregnancies, delaying marriage, and the dangers of STDs
  • Policy Reforms: There is a
    need to end all government policies that reward parents financially for
    having a higher number of children
  • Legislations: Proper
    implementation of laws upholding child rights is urgently required. These
    include legislation against child labor, child trafficking, and child
    sexual abuse, among others. Strict implementation of these laws will
    ensure a better future for children
  • Taxation: Higher
    taxation of parents with more than 2 children will automatically reduce
    family size and encourage nuclear families
  • Political Will: There is a
    need for greater political will for stabilizing population growth through
    the exercise of human rights and human development 

Conclusion

From the
foregoing discussion, it is evident that overpopulation is a problem that
creates many other problems. Overpopulation leads to overexploitation of
finite
natural resources. Space for accommodation is
also finite, which is being reflected in overcrowding, especially in urban
areas. So, on World Population Day, let’s join hands to control the
population to make life better for each and everyone on the planet.

References :

  1. United Nations – World Population Day: 11 July  – (https://www.un.org/en/events/populationday/index.shtml)
  2. Short of 9 Billion Population From Nine Population Strategies – (http://www.worldwatch.org/nine-population-strategies-stop-short-9-billion)
  3. UNFPA – World Population Day 2019 – (https://asiapacific.unfpa.org/en/events/world-population-day-2019)
  4. The Factors Driving Population Growth – (https://www.pewforum.org/2015/04/02/main-factors-driving-population-growth/)
  5. Population Matters – World Population Day  – (http://populationmatters.org/events/world-population-day)
  6. Main Factors that Affect Population Size and Growth – (https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/469/development/factors-effect-population-size-and-growth/)

Source: Medindia