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World Population Day 2024: Ensuring Everyone is Counted, Leaving No One Behind

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By: Dr. Narmada Hidangmayum
Narmada HidangmayumWorld Population Day is observed annually on July 11, aiming to raise awareness about global population issues and the urgent need for sustainable solutions. This year marks a significant milestone as the world’s population has officially reached 8 billion people, emphasizing the importance of addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with population growth.
World Population Day was established by the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, inspired by the public interest generated on Five Billion Day, July 11, 1987, when the world’s population reached five billion. Recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990, this day has since become an important occasion to highlight critical population issues.
The theme for World Population Day 2024 is “Leave No One Behind, Count Everyone,” emphasizing the inclusion of all sections of the population and ensuring fair representation regardless of background, nationality, geographical location, or socioeconomic status. This theme underscores the necessity of comprehensive and inclusive data collection to address inequalities and improve the lives of all people, especially the most marginalized.
Dr. Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of UNFPA, highlighted the importance of inclusive and comprehensive data collection for advancing humanity and addressing inequalities. Key points from her statement include:
1. Inclusion and Counting Everyone: It’s crucial to count all people, recognizing their diversity, to ensure everyone is represented.
2. Consequences of Being Uncounted: Being uncounted leads to invisibility and lack of services, such as healthcare for displaced girls, support for elderly disabled women during crises, and essential protections like birth registration for newborns in remote communities.
3. Progress in Data Collection: Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, significant improvements have been made in gathering, analyzing, and using population data, including detailed information categorized by age, ethnicity, gender, and other factors. About two-thirds of countries now include questions on disabilities in their censuses.
4. Impact of Improved Data: Better data collection has led to advancements in healthcare delivery worldwide, particularly in sexual and reproductive health, enabling more granular and timely measurement of people’s experiences.
5. Ongoing Challenges: Despite progress, marginalized communities are still underrepresented in data, leading to overlooked needs and higher mortality rates, especially among women from racial and ethnic minorities during childbirth.
Challenges of a Growing Population
The continuous growth of the world’s population presents multifaceted challenges, including: Resource Depletion and Environmental Impact which include Overpopulation strains natural resources, exacerbates environmental degradation, and intensifies social and economic inequalities. And also there is an increased demand for food, water, and energy pressures healthcare, education, and housing systems. The Social Inequalities mostly in developing countries, resource scarcity amplifies issues such as human trafficking, child labor, and gender inequality. Millions of women globally still lack access to safe and effective family planning, highlighting the need for comprehensive reproductive health services and gender equality.
Although the global population growth rate has slowed since its peak in the late 1960s, it continues to increase at approximately 0.91% per year, adding around 73 million people annually. Projections indicate the world population will reach 9 billion by 2037 and 10 billion by 2057, emphasizing the necessity for sustainable development and resource management.
World Population Day calls for increased awareness and action to address population issues, promoting sustainable practices and policies for a balanced and equitable future. This year’s theme focuses on promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls, which are crucial for achieving sustainable population growth.
Various activities and events are organized globally to mark World Population Day, including:
· Educational Initiatives: Schools and universities engage students in discussions, debates, and creative projects related to population issues.
· Community Outreach: Organizations conduct volunteer work and outreach programs to educate communities about the importance of family planning and reproductive health.
· Social Media Campaigns: Campaigns play a significant role in spreading awareness and encouraging global participation.
Key Messages for World Population Day
· Raising Awareness: Spotlight critical issues arising from population growth, including family planning, reproductive health, demographic shifts, and their impacts on sustainable development.
· Highlighting Opportunities and Challenges: Address problems such as poverty, resource shortages, and environmental pressures due to population growth while also highlighting benefits like fostering innovation and a more diverse workforce.
· Comprehensive Data Collection: Ensure all individuals are accurately counted in global censuses to help policymakers understand population needs and devise long-term strategies.
As we observe World Population Day 2024, let us commit to working together towards a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable future. Addressing population challenges requires collective effort and a focus on promoting gender equality, improving reproductive health services, and ensuring that all individuals have access to the resources they need for a healthy and productive life.
(The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Community Science, Central Agricultural University (Imphal) Tura, Meghalaya. Email id: [email protected])

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