By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE Earth is set to reach a population of eight billion.
The United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) in a press release on Monday stated that according to the World Population Prospects 2022, released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs the same day, the eight billion figure would be reached by November 15, 2022.
“Reaching this milestone is both a cause for celebration and a clarion call for humanity to find solutions to the challenges we face,” the UNFPA stated.
The challenges facing humanity were varied and included climate change, conflict and Covid-19, the UNFPA stated that millions continue to live in poverty and suffer from hunger and malnutrition, still do not have access to healthcare and social protection and were unable to complete quality primary and secondary education.
Women around the world are also still denied the fundamental right to make decisions over their bodies and futures, and there was “a worrying roll-back of progress on women’s rights in many countries.”
However, UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem said, “This is a success story, not a doomsday scenario. Our world, despite its challenges, is one where higher shares of people are educated and live healthier lives than at any previous point in history.
“Focusing exclusively on population totals and growth rates misses the point and often leads to coercive and counter-productive measures and the erosion of human rights. In fact, people are the solution, not the problem. Experience shows that investing in people, in their rights and choices, is the path to peaceful, prosperous and sustainable societies.”
The UNFPA stated, “By protecting the rights and choices of all people to live healthy, empowered lives, humanity holds the key to unleashing the unlimited potential of people around the world to address the challenges threatening their societies and the global problems imperiling us all.”
And the UNFPA also called for a collaborated effort to address poverty, discrimination, violence and exclusion and other barriers that are denying millions of people around the world their rights and choices.