8 billion people. That is now the size of the global human family.


Eight Billion Day, officially marked Tuesday, is a milestone for human longevity, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), “signaling important improvements in public health,” but it also comes with warnings about the worsening economic and environmental inequality. damage.

While the reduced risks and increased life expectancy are to be lauded, the timing is also a clarion call to look beyond the numbers and for governments to share the responsibility to protect people and the planet. , starting with the most vulnerable.

“Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the haves and have-nots, we are preparing for a world of eight billion filled with tension and mistrust, crisis and conflict,” warned UN Secretary General António Guterres.

As the world population will continue to grow to reach 10.4 billion in the 2080s, the overall growth rate is slowing, according to UNFPA.

Yet the planet is more demographically diverse than ever, with individual countries and regions facing markedly different population growth and decline trends.

For example, two-thirds of the world’s population today lives in places where lifetime fertility is less than 2.1 births per woman, while at the same time population growth continues to rise in the world’s poorest countries. world, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

“A world of 8 billion is a milestone for humanity: the result of a longer life, reduced poverty, and decreased maternal and child mortality. However, focusing solely on the numbers distracts us from the real challenge we face: ensuring a world where progress can be enjoyed equitably and sustainably,” said UNFPA Chief Natalia Kanem.

Whether populations grow or decline, all countries must be equipped to provide their citizens with a good quality of life and help those most marginalized.

“We cannot rely on one-size-fits-all solutions in a world where the average age is 41 in Europe, compared to 17 in sub-Saharan Africa,” Ms. Kanem continued.

“To be successful, all population policies must have reproductive rights at their core, invest in people and the planet, and be based on solid data.”

While the day represents a success story for humanity, it also raises concerns about the links between population growth, poverty, climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The rapid growth of the population makes it difficult to eradicate poverty, fight hunger and malnutrition, and increase the coverage of health and education systems.

On the contrary, compliance with the SDGs, especially those related to health, education and gender equality, will contribute to slowing down the growth of the world population.

And while several decades of slower population growth could help mitigate environmental degradation, combining population growth with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ignore the fact that countries with the highest rates of consumption and emissions are those where population growth is already slow or even negative.

“We must accelerate our efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and achieve the SDGs,” said Li Junhua, who heads the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Meanwhile, most of the world’s population growth is concentrated among the poorest countries, which have significantly lower emissions rates but are likely to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change.

“We need a rapid decoupling of economic activity from the current excessive reliance on fossil fuel energy, as well as greater efficiency in the use of those resources, and we need to make this a just and inclusive transition that supports those furthest behind. added Mr. Li.

To usher in a world in which all eight billion people can prosper, the UN agency stressed the need to mitigate global challenges and achieve the SDGs, while prioritizing human rights.

This requires increased investment by Member States and donor governments in policies and programs to make the world safer, more sustainable and more inclusive.

By achieving the SDGs, ensuring human rights and leaving no one behind, we can usher in a world where all eight billion people can prosper, UNFPA said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here