“A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all – Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all’’
In 2011, the world reached a population of 7 billion. This year, the number will hit 8 billion, prompting the attendant responses. Some will marvel at the advancements in health that have extended lifespan, reduced maternal mortality and child mortality and given rise to vaccine development in record time. Others will tout technological innovations that have eased our lives and connected us more than ever. Still others will herald gains in gender equality.
But progress is not universal, throwing inequality into razor-sharp relief. Women are still dying in childbirth. Gender gaps remain entrenched. The digital divide leaves more women and those in developing countries offline. More recently, COVID-19 vaccines remain unevenly distributed. And the same concerns and challenges raised 11 years ago remain or have worsened: Climate change, violence, discrimination. The world reached a particularly grim milestone in May: More than 100million forcibly displaced worldwide.
For the first time in history, we are seeing extreme diversity in the mean age of countries and the fertility rates of populations. While the populations of a growing number of countries are ageing and about 60 per cent of the world’s population live in countries with below-replacement fertility of 2.1 children per woman, other countries have huge youth populations and keep growing apace.
But focus should be on people, not population. Reducing people to numbers strips them of their humanity. Instead of making the numbers work for systems, make the systems work for the numbers by promoting the health and well-being of people.
Let’s all work for happier and healthier living in sustainable environment Visions For Nigeria Foundation