Press Release

New Population Projections Underline Urgency of Family Planning Needs in Developing Nations

13 March 2007
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York — New world population projections for the year 2050 by the United Nations are yet another wake-up call to the urgency of giving couples the means to exercise their human right to freely determine the sizes of their families, said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision  — highlights of which were released today by the Population Division of the United Nations — projects world population to rise by 2.5 billion people from today’s 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This, according to the report, assumes that fertility will continue falling in developing countries. If it stays at current rates, the world will add about 5 billion people, nearing 12 billion by 2050, with the less developed nations’ population increasing to 10.6 billion, instead of 7.9 billion.

“Currently, about 200 million women in these countries lack access to safe and effective contraceptive services,” said Ms. Obaid. “Funding for family planning must be increased to meet the needs of these women, not only to determine the world’s future, but also to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce maternal and infant death.”

“The projections should remind leaders of their 2005 World Summit commitment to provide universal access to reproductive health by 2015, including family planning, to free women from unintended childbearing and empower them to help reduce poverty,” said Ms. Obaid. “We must work together to expand access to comprehensive reproductive health services, such as skilled attendance at birth, emergency obstetric care and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.”

World Population Prospects also makes projections on population ageing and other trends that are mostly prevalent in developed countries.

“Population ageing is a twentieth-century phenomenon resulting partly from improvements in life expectancy,” continued Ms. Obaid. “It also coincides with history’s largest-ever cohort of young people. The challenge is to meet the needs of older persons while at the same time meeting the urgent needs of the young, especially in developing countries.”

“Rich nations concerned with too-low fertility should emulate neighbours that have successfully introduced family-friendly policies to make careers and parenthood more compatible,” she added.” The policies include flexible work schedules, paid parental leave, and the provision of day-care services, as recommended by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development. “They should create an environment that makes it easier for men and women to combine parenthood and careers. No one should be forced to choose one or the other.”

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

Omar Gharzeddine
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028
Email: gharzeddine@unfpa.org

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