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The celebration was established in 1989. Photo: Thang Ha — Pixabay.

8 billion people live in the world, says UN

The organization recently celebrated World Population Day.

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Established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program in 1989, World Population Day was created to raise awareness of population issues, including its relationship to the environment and development.

This special celebration, run by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and carried out in collaboration with governments and civil society, was celebrated for the first time on July 11, 1990 in more than 90 countries.

António Guterres, UN’s Secretary General, said in a press release:

Our human family is larger than ever. Yet leaders are falling woefully behind in efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous world for all.

Advocating for Equity

Guterres highlighted that this year's World Population Day is focused on unleashing the power of gender equality.

The UN Secretary General also highlighted that the Sustainable Development Goals are dangerously off track, warning of the lags that continue to occur in the face of the rapidly approaching deadline (2030).

“Halfway to the 2030 deadline the Sustainable Development Goals are dangerously off track. Gender equality is almost 300 years away. Progress on maternal health and access to family planning has been glacial,” added Guterres.

Important Growth

UN figures point out that the number of humans has tripled in the last 70 years, which has raised the figure from 2,5 billion to 8 billion people on the planet.

The organization points out that since the mid-twentieth century the world population has registered unprecedented growth in history, estimating that every day more than 370,000 people are born and some 155,000 die worldwide.

In the future, it is estimated that the population will increase by 2,000 million over the next 30 years, reaching a maximum peak of 10,400 million in the year 2080, a figure that would remain stable in 2100.

According to the UN, the factors that have made the demographic boom of recent years possible have been the increase in the quality of health care and its consequent decrease in infant and maternal mortality, especially in less developed countries.

Warnings

The United Nations warns about the consequences of gender inequality, especially in countries where the prospects for population growth are greater.

“Gender-based discrimination harms everyone – women, girls, men, and boys. Investing in women uplifts all people, communities, and countries,” warned Guterres.

The UN estimates that 257 million women want to avoid becoming pregnant, but do not have access to safe contraceptive methods, women who mostly live in the poorest countries and who are exposed to forced marriages and early pregnancies.

The organization highlights the efforts made in countries like Guatemala, where thanks to a combination of education, economic independence, and better health services for women, the fertility rate, which in the 80’s was 5 children per woman, has been reduced to 2.3.

“Advancing gender equality, improving maternal health, and empowering women to make their own reproductive choices are both essential in themselves, and central to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. Let us stand with women and girls fighting for their rights. And let us intensify our quest to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for all 8 billion of us,” stressed Guterres.

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