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U.N. Report Calls For Investment In Health, Education As World Population Approaches 7 Billion

“Instead of worrying about sheer numbers when the world’s population hits seven billion next week, we should think about how to make the planet a better place for people to live in, the United Nations said” in its report, “The State of World Population 2011,” released Wednesday, Reuters reports (Ormsby, 10/26). “The world must seize the opportunity to invest in the health and education of its youth to reap the full benefits of future economic development or else face a continuation of the sorry state of disparities in which hundreds of millions of people in developing nations lack the most basic ingredients for a decent life, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in the foreword of the study,” the U.N. News Centre writes.

“Great disparities exist among and within countries and in rights and opportunities between men and women, girls and boys, as evidenced by the fact that 215 million women of child-bearing age in developing countries lack access to voluntary family planning, while millions of adolescent girls and boys there have little access to sex education and information on how to prevent pregnancies or protect themselves from HIV,” according to the news service (10/26). “While the rise in population is measured primarily in terms of its impact on food security, resources, reproductive health, international migration, growing unemployment and environmental sustainability, … Osotimehin looks at the growing numbers from a more positive angle. ‘We are seven billion people with seven billion possibilities,’ he said,” Inter Press Service writes (Deen, 10/26).