The World at 7 Billion

By the close of 2011, the global population will have reached 7 billion people. A world of 7 billion is both a challenge and an opportunity with implications on sustainability, urbanization, access to health services and youth empowerment. It also offers a rare call-to-action to renew the global commitment for a healthy and sustainable world for all.

As more and more people join those of us already here, solving challenges like poverty, discrimination and violence will become increasingly more urgent – and new challenges will arise that demand the best in each of us.

We are now part of a global community where actions taken in one country or region can have an immediate impact on other parts of the world. We have yet to realize the vast human potential among women and girls – who comprise half the world’s population – and the energy and talents of some two billion young people.

This milestone is an occasion to recognize and celebrate our common humanity and diversity. Ensuring the well-being of current and future generations will require unprecedented global cooperation. In a world of 7 billion people, incremental actions will create exponential results. Find out how you can engage through 7 Billion Actions, a UNFPA-led initiative to encourage people to reflect on what it means to live in a world of 7 billion people and take action on issues that affect us all.

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This op-ed by UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, urging the world to heed important demographic trends, appeared in the 18 October issue of the Financial Times.
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UNITED NATIONS, New York— The challenges confronting humanity as the world’s population reaches 7 billion on 31 October will be presented in a new report by UNFPA.

 

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She's a 40-year-old mother of eight, with a ninth child due soon. The family homestead in a Burundi village is too small to provide enough food, and three of the children have quit school for lack of money to pay required fees.

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