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World Population Day 2020: Safeguarding the Health and Rights of Women, Girls During Covid-19 Pandemic

Pritam Kashyap
Pritam Kashyap

World Population Day is observed every year on 11 July. The population is constantly increasing in the world, due to which there was a need to celebrate this day. Similarly, if the population continues to grow, then there may be a big crisis in the world. 

This year the theme of the World Population Day 2020 is to raise awareness about safeguarding sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is very timely and significant because many pregnant women succumb to poor reproductive healthcare. A study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed that 800 women die every day during the process of childbirth. Research also highlighted that if the lockdown continues for 6 months, and there is a major disruption to health services, then 47 million women in low and middle-income countries might not have access to modern contraceptives. This would, in turn, lead to 7 million unintended pregnancies. Apart from that, it could see a rise in gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages. 

This day is celebrated to make people aware of population control. This day reminds that the population in the world is constantly increasing, which needs to be kept under control. Today we will tell you the important things related to World Population Day. 

When the world’s population reached 5 billion on 11 July 1987, it was observed as the “Five Billion Day” by the United Nations. Taking inspiration from this, the then Governing Council of the United Nations’ Development Program for the first time in 1989 launched an initiative to observe 11 July as the World Population Day every year to garner world’s attention towards the urgency and importance of population issues. As population explosion began to take the centre-stage as a cause of serious concern, the themes of the World Population Day focused on the health problems faced by childbearing women and the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights. The United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing the day through its resolution 45/216 of December 1990. 

The concerns for India on the World Population Day are clear: it has just 2% of the world’s landmass and 16% of the global population. Between the Census of 2001 and 2011, the country added 18% more people to its population has translated to around 181 million. It is the second-most populous country in the world with an estimated population of around 1.37 billion by 2019. According to the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, India’s population is expected to add nearly 273 million people in the next three decades and surpass China’s population within the next 7 years. In this context, the importance of sexual and reproductive health of women and Planned Parenthood on World Population Day 2020 underscores some major concerns for the country. 

India with its population of 139 crores, along with China which has a population of 144 crores, is among the most populous nations in the world. If this was not alarming enough, according to the UN data, India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country by the year 2027. This is in stark contrast to China’s trajectory that predicts the country’s population to decrease by around 3.14 crore by the year 2050. 

Yet food is something that is taken for granted by most world leaders despite the fact that more than half of the population of the world is hungry. "- Norman Borlaug 

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