Rights and Choices are the Answer:
Whether baby boom or bust,
the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritising the reproductive health and rights of all people.
Almost half of the population of the world lives in rural regions and mostly in a state of poverty. Such inequalities in human development have been one of the primary reasons for unrest and, in some parts of the world, even violence.Abdul Kalam
World recorded a population of one billion in 1804. It took 123 years to become 2 billion and 33 years to reach 3 billons, 29 years to touch 5 billion, and by the turn of 2000, it was 6 billion and seven billons by 2011. The count continues it stands presently at 7.8 billion. The world is also witnessing high levels of urbanisation and accelerating migration. By 2007 we have more people living in urban areas, and it is projected by 2050, it would rise to 66%. Asian giants India and China account for more than 36% of the world population, meaning one in three people living on the planet hail from these two countries. India is likely to get the distinction of being the most populous country in the world. 19th Century philosopher Emerson said, “If the governments knew how, I should like to see it check – not multiply – the population”. How relevant and thoughtful it was.
In 1989, the UN passed a resolution to observe July 11 of every year as World Population Day to make people aware of the issues related to overpopulation. July 11 was chosen because the world population was crossing five billion people on that day. The purpose of observation is to bring attention to the impacts of rapid population growth on health, development, and the environment. The significant challenges are ensuring economic development, providing employment, access to health care, education, and energy security. The trends of population growth have far-reaching implications for the well-being and threatening the very survival of humanity. Population growth affects consumption, production, employment, earning capacity and puts uncertain pressure on natural resources. Water, land resources have become scarce, earth’s atmosphere has degraded, resulting in habitat loss, wildlife extinction and climate change. The world has tasted the fury of oceans with Tsunami affecting unexpected regions, like that one that has taken India by surprise.
What a profound statement made way back in the 18th century. Thomas Robert Malthus (known for Malthusianism), in his book on the “Principle of Population”, described that the rate of increasing the world’s population becoming more significant than the rate of food production and supply. These were early warnings, if only humanity realised, accepted, and taken preventive steps! The population growth is not uniform nor the natural resources. With the addition of every million people to the planet, the imbalance is getting enhanced. Making the fight difficult to win is the growth in the countries and regions struggling to meet the minimum requirements and fighting poverty. This overpopulation problem cannot be solved by magic but requires making long-term plans after considering the circumstances that led to this situation. Educating and bringing awareness is the only option through which this problem can be tackled.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognise that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends, including population growth, ageing, migration, and urbanisation.António Guterres
COVID19 pandemic has impacted the world and affected different regions differently, especially in providing health care. According to a study by UNFPA, prolonged restrictions and lockdown and lack of access to modern contraceptives resulted in enhanced unintended pregnancies. Low and middle-income societies have seen this impact more than others.