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July 11th - World Population Day!

July 11, 2008

Today as we commemorate World Population Day, Population Media Center and Population Institute pledge their commitment to help bring population numbers into balance with natural resources, so humanity can live in harmony with the earth.

We vow to help create a world where people are educated and empowered to make healthy decisions about their family size; where women have a voice and are heard; where reproductive health services are available and accessible to all; where every family can afford to feed, clothe, and educate their children; where communities live in balance with the earth's resources; and where together we can protect and share our planet.   

The world population has reached an unprecedented 6.7 billion people, and it continues to grow by 80 million people each year. As a result of this growth, the world faces unparalleled challenges, including climate change, food and water shortages, and a severe energy crisis.

Ninety-nine percent of the world's population growth is in the world's poorest countries where people are commonly afflicted by poverty, civil unrest, and scarce resources. These countries are struggling to provide for their existing populations, and even while making strides to improve their infrastructure, they are unable to keep up with the extreme population growth. Developing nations now require about $1 trillion per year in new infrastructure development just to accommodate their population growth – a figure that is very far from being met and is effectively impossible for these countries to generate.    

One of our main challenges is improving the status of women. This is vital to stabilizing population growth and improving the health and well-being of all humankind. By improving a woman's standing in society, she will have the opportunity to educate herself and her children, gain access to reproductive health services, and make economic strides to improve her life and that of her family. It is imperative that men play an active role in the expansion of women's rights and unrestricted access to reproductive health services in developing countries. When men and women are equally valued, it is more likely that population numbers will stabilize, resulting in improved living standards and an increasingly brighter outlook for the future of our environment. Increasing family planning education and access to services also helps to reduce poverty, by allowing families to devote more of their resources to the education and health of each child.

Globalization and the interconnectedness of the biosphere, forces us to look at the issue of population with a global lens. Half of the world's population is under the age of 24, yet family planning information and services remain out of reach for many, particularly for those who often have the most difficulty acquiring the information and services they require to plan their families, such as the poor, the marginalized, and young people. It is critical that we provide them with the education and services necessary to stabilize population numbers and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is our responsibility as inhabitants who share this planet to ensure a healthy future.

Today, on World Population Day, Population Media Center and Population Institute pledge their commitment to continue to pursue the goal of bringing population numbers into balance with natural resources, to improve the health and well-being of all people and of the planet.

-         A Message from William N. Ryerson, President of Population Media Center and Population Institute

Population Media Center (http://www.populationmedia.org/) is a nonprofit, international non-governmental organization working worldwide to promote use of effective communication strategies for promoting behavior change to improve family and reproductive health. The organization's work is concentrated on entertainment broadcasting, particularly on long-running serial dramas in which characters evolve into role models for adoption of family planning, delayed marriage and childbearing, elevation of women's status, avoidance of HIV/AIDS, and related social and health goals.

The Population Institute (www.populationinstitute.org) is an international, educational nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce rapid population growth and achieve a world population in balance with a healthy global environment.

 

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