World Population Day Observances Highlight 'Men at Work' Theme

  • 18 July 2007

World Population Day was marked around the world on 11 July with a variety of activities and events organized by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and its national partners. This year’s theme, Men as Partners in Maternal Health, underlined the importance of men’s role in improving maternal health, using the phrase – Men at Work – as the title for the various events. All these events highlighted a common message: men’s participation and promotion of women’s reproductive health matters are vital for development and the well-being of families and communities.

In Azerbaijan, World Population Day was commemorated during a gathering of government officials and representatives of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and the media. The gathering included a round table organized by UNFPA and other partners that maternal mortality trends in Azerbaijan and the importance of men's participation in maternal health. The speakers recommended raising awareness among men and women about reproductive health, including organizing activities to boost legislative action to prevent further maternal deaths.

Working with Amra Kuri, a national organization of children and juveniles, UNFPA in Bangladesh celebrated World Population Day by holding discussions, competitions, rallies and a cultural programme at the Jatiya Mohila Sangstha auditorium in Dhaka.

Cambodia marked World Population Day with a public message by Prime Minister Hun Sen, in which he appealed to the National Committee on Population and Development and the Ministry of Health to work closely with the UNFPA to promote maternal health. The message was aired by all of the country’s TV channels and radio stations on 11 July.

In Cape Verde, an official ceremony commemorating World Population Day was chaired by the Minister of Decentralization, Habitat and Territory Administration and attended by many youth and representatives of national institutions. The official ceremony was followed by two discussion panels centering on the theme of the day. In addition, street animations and cultural activities calling for the participation of men in maternal health were organized with the help of a nationally known artist.

World Population Day celebrations in China took place in front of Beijing Exhibition centre along with the inauguration of the 4th China Reproductive Health and Family Planning new Technologies and Product Expo. The vice mayor of Beijing and the Minister of National Population and Family Planning both spoke. In collaboration with UNFPA, local organizations in provincial capitals and rural areas also celebrated World Population Day. Campaigns organized by local Family Planning Stations brought our information and material on reproductive health and family planning and included an activity focusing on care for girls.

In Eritrea , advocacy activities took place in three of the country’s six administrative zones. UNFPA representatives met with local leaders and representatives of government and non-governmental organizations in each of the zones to discuss the importance of men’s participation in maternal health and other gender issues and progress to date.

In Jordan, UNFPA and the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Insititute for Development marked World Population Day with a festival that highlighted the importance of men in protecting women’s health. The festival included several reproductive health workshops for both men and women, and featured a play by the National Centre for Culture and Performing Arts that encouraged men’s participation in parenting and in supporting women’s health. The Higher Population Council also organized an event with UNFPA to honour several men who have been instrumental in promoting reproductive health issues and women’s empowerment.

In India, World Population Day was commemorated through a number of activities held at the Gujurat Science City, including a seminar on ‘Men at Work’ that focused on men’s role in achieving gender equality and in deciding the size of families. Other events included a poster exhibition on the theme of the day, the screening of films based on that theme, slide presentations and a puppet show.

The main World Population Day ceremony in the Islamic Republic of Iran, held at the Tehran University, was attended by representatives of government, civil society, the diplomatic community and the United Nations. In his keynote speech, the Minister of Health and Medical Education stressed the importance of maternal health and confirmed his country’s commitment to reducing maternal mortality rates by 2015. He also highlighted the importance of the partnership between UNFPA and the Ministry that has already produced great gains in the field.

UNFPA in Mongolia celebrated World Population World Population by raising public awareness of this year’s theme through the local media. The UNFPA “Men at Work” posters were customized to become more relevant to the Mongolian culture, with the triangle-shaped signs replaced by signs shaped like a ‘ger’, symbolizing the traditional Mongolian dwelling. The posters were distributed all over the country, and a 30-second TV spot was broadcast to inform citizens of the importance of men’s role in maternal health.

The main observance in Namibia was held at the Oscar Norich Stadium in the northern city of Tsumeb. Other events in Windhoek and other cities included an awareness campaign by the Namibian Men Planned Parenthood Network on the theme of World Population Day and a workshop on men’s involvement in combating HIV/AIDS.

World Population Day commemorations in Nigeria were launched during a press conference by representatives of the National Population Commission, the ministries of health and women affairs, and UNFPA. That was followed by rallies, floats, and walks that brought together groups of women, men and young people from various regions. Other events included a public lecture and an exhibition that raised awareness on the importance of men’s role in reproductive health, in addition to school debates and a radio live programme that answered questions from the audience about the day’s theme.

World Population Day was observed in the Philippines with a Men’s Congress organized by the Commission on Population and attended by men from governmental and non-governmental organizations, academia, the business sector and, most notably, the armed forces. The Congress produced a pledge to support and promote women’s health and to respect women’s participation on an equal footing with men. A Population and Development Media Forum was also organized by UNFPA and the Forum on Family Planning and Development to help raise awareness of the day’s theme among the Filipino media.

Rwanda celebrated World Population by holding a ceremony that gathered UNFPA, government officials, parliamentarians and the public to engage in a discussion about the role of men in maternal health. Speeches, songs, and poems were recited on the topic, including a direct exchange of questions and answers. In addition, the Government of Rwanda organized a live radio-television debate in which distinguished panelists epresenting the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finances and Economic Planning, Good Governance, National Women Council, and more, discussed men’s involvement in maternal health and family planning.

In Sri Lanka, World Population Day was observed with a media seminar held in collaboration with the Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health, and featuring experts in reproductive health, medical law, family planning, and gender highlighted the importance of engaging men in maternal health. The seminar received country-wide coverage in three languages, and was followed by radio and television discussions on engaging men in maternal health.

UNFPA and its national partners in Uzbekistan celebrated World Population Day by organizing women’s marathons in four of the country’s provinces and organizing concerts to raise awareness for the theme of the Day. The Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan also helped circulate thousands of material for the public, such as T-shirts, posters, and banners with the World Population Day messages.

-Aniqa Islam

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