Marking World Population Day, U.N. Points To Relationship Between Population Growth, MDGs

U.N. officials marked World Population Day on Sunday, highlighting the relationship between population trends and the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Xinhua reports.

“We have good evidence that countries that have been able over the last 30 years to reduce their fertility considerably are doing much better in obtaining the MDGs than countries that still have relatively high fertility,” Hania Zlotnik, director of the population division of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said.

During an interview with the news service, Zlotnik “pointed to ‘a very strong inter-relation’ between high fertility, very low levels of development and great difficulties of obtaining the MDGs,” particularly the targets for reducing maternal and child mortality (Xiangjiang, 7/11).

Also reporting on World Population Day, Inter Press Service examines the recent efforts made by the U.N. to review “the state of the world’s women.” The piece details a U.N. report on the status of MDGs, which highlighted the slow progress in achieving MDG targets for reducing maternal mortality, and “the unmet need for family planning remains moderate to high in most regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.”

Calling for a greater investment in reproductive health care for women and girls, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), said, “If every woman received reproductive health care, maternal death and disability would cease to be the devastatingly common tragedy it is today,” according to the news service.

Obaid also addressed the importance of acquiring accurate data to monitor the health needs of specific populations: “With quality data we can better track and make greater progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and promote and protect the dignity and human rights of all people.” The article also includes comments Kathy Calvin, CEO of the U.N. Foundation (Deen, 7/8).

“Countries that fail to take periodic censuses miss the opportunity to discover domestic trends in population fluctuations and movement, the economy, and fertility and morality rates. Without a census, governments may fail to realize if certain populations are being marginalized in government planning and services,” People’s Daily Online reports.

“This data is crucial as we strive for universal access to education, HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and reproductive health and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” Obaid said, the news service writes (7/10).

According to a UNFPA press release, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also stressed the importance of collecting accurate data on populations in order to inform development.

“To be counted is to become visible,” Ban said. “On this World Population Day … I call on decision-makers everywhere to make each and every person count. Only by considering the needs of all women and men, girls and boys, can we achieve the Millennium Development Goals and advance the shared values of the United Nations” (7/9).

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