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Opinion Pieces, Blog Posts Address World Population Day

The following is a summary of opinion pieces and blog posts published in recognition of World Population Day, observed annually on July 11. According to the Huffington Post, “the U.N. has focused the theme of 2013’s World Population Day on teenage pregnancy, highlighting the important role that teen girls play in positively impacting future generations and underscoring the importance of providing them with adequate health care and educational resources” (Salass, 7/11).

  • Pamela Barnes, “Forbes Woman” blog: Noting her attendance at Women Deliver 2013, “the largest meeting of the decade to accelerate progress for women and girls,” held in Malaysia last month, Barnes, president and CEO of EngenderHealth, writes, “With laser-like acuity, we discussed the urgent need to invest in family planning to address the alarming reality that 220 million women want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but lack access to contraception.” She continues, “Investments in family planning offer immense opportunities for women, and the numbers speak for themselves,” and she provides statistics about the reach of EngenderHealth’s programs and the cost-effectiveness of family planning initiatives. She concludes, “I can think of no greater return on an investment than family planning” (7/11).
  • Valerie DeFillipo, Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog: “Three months after the London Summit on Family Planning, I led a delegation of UNFPA supporters to Ghana,” DeFillipo, director of the FP2020 initiative, writes, noting, “We saw a diverse and inspiring range of maternal health programs — from government hospitals to an entrepreneurial midwife who designed and produced birthing stools with the help of a local carpenter.” She details her visit to various clinics in rural Ghana and continues, “Our work does make a difference. This is what Family Planning 2020 is all about: reaching women, no matter where they live, with the information, services and supplies they need.” She continues, “One year after the London Summit on Family Planning, I am pleased to report that FP2020 continues to build the foundations of a global movement and is accelerating progress towards achieving our goal of reaching an additional 120 million women with lifesaving contraceptive information, services and supplies by 2020.” DeFillipo concludes, “As we move forward into the second year of FP2020, I am convinced and confident that working together, we shall … keep the promises we made one year ago at the London Summit” (7/11).
  • Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID’s IMPACTblog: “On July 11, World Population Day, we join the global community in raising awareness on the issue of adolescent pregnancy in the hopes of protecting and empowering millions of girls around the globe,” Pablos-Mendez, assistant administrator for global health at USAID, writes. “Adolescent pregnancy has dire health, social and economic consequences for girls, their communities, and nations,” he states, providing examples. “I believe meeting the reproductive health needs for today’s young people is vital to ensure future generations are able to lead healthy and dignified lives,” he continues, adding, “As the largest bilateral donor for family planning, USAID is uniquely poised to accelerate progress and improve education and access to reproductive health services for youth.” Pablos-Mendez concludes, “Young people are the future, and we want and need their valued contributions to and participation in the social, economic, political, and cultural life of their communities” (7/11).
  • John Seager, Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog: “Around 5.2 billion people were around to mark the first World Population Day back in 1989. Now, less than 25 years later, we’re nearing 7.1 billion,” Seager, president of Population Connection writes. “And nearly all of the growth is happening in nations least able to cope with it, where land, food and water resources are already being stretched to the limit,” he continues, and asks, “So what can we do for the world’s population on this World Population Day?” He writes, “I am asking you to do three things: Demand that your lawmakers support funding for international family planning programs — $1 billion is America’s fair share. Talk to your friends and family about how all women — not just the lucky residents of developed nations — deserve to make choices about their own futures. And above all, speak up for the empowerment of women and girls” (7/11).