Yemen and World Population Day [Archives:2008/1172/Opinion]

July 14 2008

Saif Ahmad
World Population Day is an annual event, observed on July 11, which seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, approximately the date on which the world's population reached five billion people.

The world population on the 20th anniversary of Five Billion Day, July 11, 2007, was estimated to have been 6,727,551,263. In 1968, world leaders proclaimed that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Forty years later, modern contraception remains out of reach for hundreds of millions of women, men and young people.

Yemen's population growth

Yemen was predicted to rank sixth globally in 2006 in population growth rate, stated a United Nations Population Fund representative in Yemen. The international organization holds the view that Yemen is characterized by one of the highest fertility rate in the world with 6.8 births per woman. “Nearly half of the Yemenis are younger than 15 years, which is a reflection of the high population growth rate,” according to a recent report released by UNFPA.

The report focused on the international migration, particularly female migration and there was a call for action to improve the situation of the 95 million women migrants over the world.

This year's World Population Day reaffirms the right of people to plan their families. It encourages activities, events and information that will help make this right real – especially for those who often have the hardest time getting the information and services they need to plan their families, such as marginalized populations and young people.

When people can plan their families, they can plan their lives. They can plan to beat poverty. They can plan on healthier mothers and children. They can plan to gain equality for women. Plan to support World Population Day this year! Plan to beat poverty. Plan to gain equality. Plan to beat maternal death Supporting Adolescents and Youth

More than 1.5 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 25. This largest-ever generation of adolescents is approaching adulthood in a world their elders could not have imagined. Globalization, the AIDS pandemic, electronic communications and a changing climate have irrevocably shifted the landscape.

The scenario is mixed. As young people share ideas, values, music and symbols through mass media and electronic technology, a global youth culture has emerged. Many are organizing and networking themselves in both formal and informal ways.

But more than half of young people live in poverty, on less than $2 per day. Often they lack access to the technology and information. Many also face social inequality, poor schools, gender discrimination, unemployment and inadequate health systems. They deserve better. And investing in them is an investment in the future leaders of families, communities and nations.

UNFPA promotes and protects the rights of young people. It envisions a world in which girls and boys have optimal opportunities to develop their full potential, to freely express themselves and have their views respected, and to live free of poverty, discrimination and violence.

The Fund works across sectors and with many partners to:

Empower adolescents and youth with skills to achieve their dreams, think critically, and express themselves freely. Promote health, including by giving them access to sexual and reproductive health information, education, commodities and services. Connect young people to livelihood and employment programs. Uphold the rights of young people, especially girls and marginalized groups, to grow up healthy and safe to receive a fair share of social investments. Encourage young people's leadership and participation in decisions that affect them, including the development plans of their societies.