11 July 2003
World Population Day
Statement by Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director, UNFPA
Statement by Kofi Annan,
UN Secretary General
Events Worldwide
Adolescent reproductive health
HIV/AIDS and young people
Youth participation and ideas for action
Send us your success story

The State of World Population 2003 Making 1 Billion Count: Investing in Adolescents’ Health and Rights

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State of World Population

The State of World Population 2003

Making 1 Billion Count: Investing in Adolescents’ Health and Rights

Over 1.2 billion adolescents—one person in five—are making the transition from childhood to adulthood. How well we prepare them to face adult challenges in a fast changing world will shape humanity’s common future. Adolescents must be enabled to avoid early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS while being given skills, opportunities and a real say in development plans, stresses The State of World Population 2003 report by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The report, Making 1 Billion Count: Investing in Adolescents’ Health and Rights, will be released on 8 October, on the web and at press events in London and other cities around the world.

Adolescents are a diverse group. Millions of girls in poor countries still get married and give birth in their teens, interrupting their education and endangering their health. For many other girls and boys, the trend is towards later marriage but greater exposure to the risks of unprotected sexual activity. All, whether rich or poor, married or not, urban or rural, in school or out, have a right to information and services to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health. Girls and young women need better protection against discrimination, coercion and gender-based violence.

Actions to ensure these human rights can have tremendous practical benefits, empowering individuals, promoting gender equality, stemming the HIV/AIDS pandemic, reinforcing an uneven global trend towards smaller families, reducing poverty and improving prospects for economic progress, the report shows.

Around the world, innovative programmes are teaching adolescents about reproductive health and showing how relevant health services can be made more “youth-friendly” to increase their use. Laws and policies are being revised to give greater attention to adolescents’ needs and rights. Not investing in such efforts will perpetuate poverty, inequality, unsustainable population growth and HIV/AIDS.

Journalists may order advance copies of The State of World Population 2003 from martinez@unfpa.org or UNFPA Media Services Branch, 220 E. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA. They may also request a password to view the report and press materials on-line before its release. After 8 October the full report will be available for free at www.unfpa.org.

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