The world at 7 billion: opportunities and challenges


World Population to Reach 7 Billion on 31 October 2011As published in the VOVNews on 11 July, 2011

(VOV) - The world’s population will hit 7 billion in 2011, creating both opportunities and challenges for many nations around the world, said Mandeep Janeja, officer-in-charge of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Viet Nam.

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Janeja was speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on July 11 to respond to World Population Day 2011. She said the annual 78 million increase of the global population raises the demand for natural resources and places more pressure on the planet.

She said a quarter of the population is young people, 90 percent of whom are living in developing countries, and we can have a better future if women and young people participate actively.

A world with 7 billion people also calls for a reduction of gender inequality and improvements in people’s living conditions both now and in the future. This requires cooperation and effective actions.

Vietnam is now the world’s 13th and the region’s 3rd most populous country but its human development index ranks only 116 out of 182 countries. Childbirth safety remains a problem, especially in remote areas, and the abortion rate is still very high.

There are also increasingly more young people infected with HIV/AIDS, 60 percent of whom are under age.

The aging population, migration, and gender inequality are all still major problems.

Duong Quoc Trong, Director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning under the Minsitry of Health, said that population-related work should be integrated in development strategies as it is the key for socioeconomic development.

The campaign for this year’s World Population Day will last until the end of October and include a variety of activities such as a report on the state of the global population which outlines the opportunities and challenges in a world with 7 billion people.