World Population Day 2020 focuses on health, rights of women and girls

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New Delhi (NVI): This year, World Population Day is being observed amid the coronavirus pandemic, a global crisis that had a considerable impact on almost everyone, especially the world population and numbers.

World Population Day is observed on July 11 every year. The day is aimed to shift the focus towards the urgency and the significance of issues related to population.

The theme for this year focuses on “How to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the recent research by the United Nations Population Fund, if the coronavirus lockdown continues for another 6 months and there is major disruption to health services, then 47 million women in low and middle-income countries might not have access to modern contraceptives.

Hence, this would in turn lead to 7 million unintended pregnancies. Apart from that, a rise in gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages will also be witnessed.

World Population Day was established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1989. It is being celebrated for over three decades now and is meant to raise awareness about solutions related to the issues of the growing population.

The day highlights the problems of overpopulation, raises awareness about the effects of overpopulation on the environment and development. It also talks about the health problems faced by child bearing women and the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights.

However, every year, millions of girls are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, robbing them of their right to reach their full potential.

According to the State of World Population 2020, released by UNFPA, more than 4 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation and 12 million forced to marry this year. Lockdowns stemming from the pandemic are expected to make matters even worse.

The UNDP also anticipated that overpopulation would become a matter of major concern in the future with the world population currently touching 7.8 billion and expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030.

The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere, but it does not affect everyone equally. It is deepening existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, particularly for women and girls,” United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said, in his statement on World Population Day.

-RJV