World Population Day, an International festival celebrated every year on July 11 to raise awareness for population control and the issues related to global population growth is to face a unique challenge this year. As the COVID-19 forced the world for long lockdowns, risks of unintended pregnancy is elevated across the world.
The crisis has impacted the availability of contraceptives as well as the sexual and reproductive health services are left unattended. The world population as of March 2020 has reached 7.8 billion. According to reports it took 2 lakh years for mankind to reach 1 billion population on the earth however, another 200 years was enough to take this number to 7 billion.
World Population Day 202 Aim:
A recent research by UNFPA has found that an extended lockdown of six months with major disruptions to health services can cut the access of modern contraceptives for 47 million women in low and middle-income countries subsequently resulting in 7 million unintended pregnancies. Gender based violence which has seen a sharp increase during lockdown is expected to add 31 million new cases. The other gender based crimes including child marriage and genital mutilation will rise. According to UNFPA’s research, it can lead to 2 million female genital mutilations and 13 million child marriages between 2020 and 2030. To address these issues, World Population Day 2020 aims to raise awareness about the sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the pandemic.
World Population Day Theme 2020:
The World Population Day is marked to address large population issues such as importance of family planning, gender, equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights. However, the struggling health care system which majorly has women as its front-line workers has disproportionately exposed them to the deadly coronavirus. Besides, healthcare system, around 60 per cent women work in the informal economy across the world and are at greater risk of falling prey to either poverty or to the virus. So the World Population Day 2020 is given theme of- Putting the brakes on COVID-19: How to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now.
World Population Day History:
World Population Day was suggested by the then Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme Dr. K.C. Zachariah in 1989 after the global population growth reached 5 billion on July 11, 1987. It’s been 30 good years ever since this day is marked to raise awareness about the impacts of population growth in the world. But till date most people are either unaware or want to ignore the discussions on population growth to the extent that it is often considered taboo.
The concerns of population growth is not limited to basic human rights but is extended to the rights of nature. The race to improve economic growth which is directly proportionate to the growing population, has lead to major concerns including climate change, overconsumption, resource scarcity, deforestation, healthcare haphazard and many more. Few countries like China, U.S., Japan and Italy are witnessing decline in their fertility rates. However African countries among others are still experiencing growth. As per the reports, it is expected that African population can increase from 1.3 billion to 4.3 billion in between 2020 and 2100.