UNFPA educates National House of Chiefs on 7 billion world population projection

Dr Stephen Kwankye, Executive Director National Population Council, has called on chiefs to actively and effectively participate in sensitizing the public on the importance of family planning as global population reaches seven billion.

He said population increase is associated with some major challenges such as poverty, gender inequality and exploitation, rapid urbanization and youth unemployment, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and internal migration and conflicts over land.

He said the future poses a huge challenge to the survival of humanity, adding, success will depend on “how we manage the competing pressures on population related issues such as education, health, agriculture and environment and gender.

He said in order not to jeopardize the quality of life in future,  there was the need to strike a balance between population dynamics and development.

“It is very important for traditional rulers to give much attention to issues relating to population to facilitate the attainment of MDG 1,” he said.

Dr Kwankye made the call during a day workshop organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kumasi to provide chiefs a comprehensive overview of the seven billion population campaign to be marked on October 31.

The workshop which brought together paramount chiefs from various parts of the country served as a platform to elaborate on the roles of traditional rulers in sensitizing their subjects on family planning and also to encourage them to patronise family planning commodities.

Dr Kwankye said Ghana’s population was at the most vulnerable adding, if not managed well it could be disastrous.

According to him, Ghana had made tremendous progress to meet the target Millennium Development Goal one adding, this had not translated into money in the people’s pocket and quality of life at the individual level.

He said to achieve sustainable growth and development, there was the need to place population at centre of the developmental agenda to enable reduce poverty.

He urged traditional leaders to consider the population factor seriously in all deliberations in their areas.

Dr. Bernard Coquelin, UNFPA Representative, said though people were living longer and healthier lives, and couples were choosing to have fewer children globally, there were huge inequities persisting and daunting challenges lying ahead.

“While many richer countries are now concerned about low infertility and ageing, the poorest nations struggle to meet the needs of the rapidly growing populations”, he said.

According to Dr. Coquelin, the ever growing world population had made more people vulnerable to food insecurity, water shortages and weather related disasters.

He said the paramount challenge of this century was to meet the needs of seven billion human beings and the next generations, while protecting the intricate balance of nature that sustains life.

However, he noted that opportunities exist where data and analysis can be used to develop informed policies relative to the population dynamics in various countries, create policies to invest in reproductive health services and reduce hunger, poverty and inequity.

Other opportunities included meaningfully engaging the youth, mentoring and including them in decision making bodies, and taking a strong stand against all forms of discrimination and violence against women.

He urged the Chiefs to play the role of disseminating information on the 7 billion actions and advocating for better lives for their subjects, families, communities and the nation at large.

Awulae Attibrukusi III, Lower Aximhene and Vice President of National House of Chiefs, commended UNFPA for their immense contribution towards advancing human rights to ensure equal rights and protections.

He called on the Government to provide pragmatic measures to help address the negative implications likely to affect Ghanaians as the world population reaches seven billion.

Source: GNA

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