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As populations rise, UN official stresses need for safe family planning options

As populations rise, UN official stresses need for safe family planning options

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin
The latest figures showing that the world’s population is continuing to increase rapidly indicate that safe and effective family planning options must be made available to all women who lack it, a senior United Nations official says.

The 2010 Revision of World Population Prospects, released yesterday by the UN, indicate that the global population will surge past 9 billion before 2050 and eventually pass 10 billion before the end of the century.

The projections also reveal that the total population should reach the 7-billion mark on 31 October this year.

Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), said “a world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity,” according to a press release issued yesterday.

Dr. Osotimehin noted that around the world people are living longer and choosing to have smaller families than in the past.

“Reducing inequities and finding ways to ensure the well-being of people alive today – as well as the generations that follow – will require new ways of thinking and unprecedented global cooperation,” he said.

“The population projections underscore the urgent need to provide safe and effective family planning to the 215 million women who lack it. Small variations in fertility – when multiplied across countries and over time – make a world of difference.

“We must invest the resources to enable women and men to have the means to exercise their human right to determine the number and spacing of their children.”

Dr. Osotimehin said the figures released yesterday also underscore the need for government officials to both tackle the challenges of ageing populations and provide opportunities for young people in those countries where high-fertility rates are expected to continue.

“We should plan in advance for the health care and social safety nets of the elderly at the same time we support the largest generation ever of youth.