Press Release

UN Population Fund Launches The State of World Population 2000

20 September 2000

UNITED NATION, New York - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today released The State of World Population 2000 report, Lives Together, Worlds Apart: Men and Women in a Time of Change.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Nafis Sadik launched the report in London at a press conference at the Foreign Press Association. Similar conferences were held at United Nations Headquarters in New York and in many other cities throughout the world.

  • Dr. Sadik's statement at the London launch

The report examines a broad range of evidence from around the world showing that systematic discrimination against women and girls causes extensive suffering and lost opportunities for both women and men, and holds back efforts to reduce poverty, improve health, stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and slow rapid population growth.

  • Millions of women are denied reproductive choices and access to health care, contributing each year to 80 million unwanted or mistimed pregnancies and some 500,000 preventable pregnancy-related deaths. Nearly half of all deliveries in developing countries take place without a skilled birth attendant present.
  • Violence against women and girls is widespread—one woman in three will experience violence during her lifetime, most often at the hands of someone she knows. Each year 2 million girls are at risk of genital mutilation, and up to 5,000 women and girls are the victims of so-called “honour” killings.
  • Women’s lack of control over sexual activity and its consequences is a major factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS, now the fourth most common cause of death worldwide and the leading killer in Africa, where infected women outnumber infected men by 2 million.
  • Two thirds of the 300 million children without access to education are girls, and two thirds of the 880 million illiterate adults are women.

Making this harmful discrimination and violence visible to policy makers and family members, and designing ways to end it, are urgent human rights and development priorities, the report stresses. It documents the high economic and social costs of inaction, and outlines the remedies:

  • Partnerships—between women and men, between governments and civil society, and between rich and poor nations—are essential to ending gender inequality.
  • Health care, including reproductive health, and education and job opportunities for women are human rights imperatives and proven investments. Increased international development assistance is urgently needed for these efforts.
  • Human rights treaties and international agreements of the 1990s have aided governments and non-governmental groups in creating new laws and programmes to counter gender inequality.

In Washington, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ms. Thoraya Obaid, Director of UNFPA's Division for Arab States and Europe, and Ms. Margaret Pollack, Director, Office of Population, U.S. Department of State, discussed the report in a 20 September press conference at the United Nations Foundation.

In Cairo, the UNFPA’s Representative in Egypt, Mr. Abdul Muniem Abu Nuwar, launched the report. He briefed a press conference from a podium that included recent United Nations Population Award winner and Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population, Ismail Sallam.

Contact Information:

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446

Abubakar Dungus
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031

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