'Investing in Teenage Girls' is this year's World Population Day theme
In 1989, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program established July 11 as World Population Day, in order to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. It was inspired by Five Billion Day, established on July 11, 1987, the date on which the world's population was estimated to have reached five billion people.
According to the Worldometers, the world population currently amounts over seven billion people.
The world population has increased by one billion since 1999, with the result of two billion since 1987.
“What is astounding is that the last two billions have been reached in record time. The population has been adding new billions every 12 years in the last 25 years," Hania Zlotnik, director of the population division at the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said.
By October 2011, the world population has reached seven billion. This global milestone has presented a challenge and, at the same time, an opportunity for a call to action.
The idea that we can live together on a healthy planet all depends on the choices we make. That year on World Population Day, U.N. Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA or United Nations Population Fund), launched a global campaign called "7 Billion Actions" to create a more fairer and sustainable world. This year's main theme is “Investing in teenage girls”, as teenage girls around the world face enormous challenges.
Many are forced by their communities and families to leave school when they are considered to be ready for marriage and motherhood, damaging their future prospects. Even among those who stay in school, access to basic information about their human, reproductive and health-care rights can be hard to come by, leaving them vulnerable to injuries and exploitation.
These challenges concern above all girls members of ethnic minorities or living in poverty and remote areas.
"Leaders and communities must stand up for the human rights of the most marginalized teenage girls, particularly those who are poor, out of school, exploited, or subjected to harmful traditional practices, including child marriage," Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNPFA's executive director, said.
"Marginalized girls are vulnerable to poor reproductive health and more likely to become mothers while still children themselves. They have a right to shape their own lives."