In five days, world population is projected to reach 7 billion. How we respond now will determine whether we have a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future or one that is marked by inequalities, environmental decline and economic setbacks, according to The State of World Population 2011 report, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
Our record population size can be viewed in many ways as a success for humanity because it means that people are living longer and more of our children are surviving worldwide, the report shows. But not everyone has benefited from this achievement or the higher quality of life that this implies. Great disparities exist among and within countries. Disparities in rights and opportunities also exist between men and women, girls and boys. Charting a path now to development that promotes equality, rather than exacerbates or reinforces inequalities, is more important than ever.
The 7 billion milestone “is a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action,” said Dr. Osotimehin at the report’s launch in London. The report is also being launched in more than 100 other cities worldwide.
Of the world’s 7 billion, 1.8 billion are young people between the ages of 10 and 24 the report notes.