Regional News of 2014-07-12

Ghana marks World Population Day

Ghana on Friday joined the international community to commemorate 2014 World Population Day (WPD), instituted by United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA) with the focus on the youth.

In a statement, Dr Babatunde Osotimehinon, UNFPA Executive Director called for investments in support of the 1.8 billion youth around the globe.

The UNFPA statement made available to Ghana News Agency in Accra by Ms Doris Mawuse Agblobitse, National Programme Analyst of Communication Residential Mobilisation, described the young people as a powerful force, individually and collectively.

“They are shaping social and economic realities, challenging norms and values and building the foundation of the world’s future.

“Governments and the international community are increasingly conscious of the importance of providing resources and opportunities for all young people to reach their full potential as individuals and citizens,” it said.

The statement said the UNFPA recognises that investing in young people and enabling them to exercise their human rights not only benefits young people themselves, but can also help their countries reap a demographic dividend.

“We know that healthy, educated, productive and fully engaged young people can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and are more resilient in the face of individual and societal challenges.

“As skilled and informed citizens, they can contribute more fully to their communities and nations.”

The statement said millions of girls are coerced into unwanted sex or marriage, increasing the risks of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, as well as death or disability due to childbirth.

“This is why young people, especially adolescent girls, are at the heart of our work at UNFPA,” the statement said.

It said the UNFPA is advocating policies and programmes that invest in adolescents and youth and foster a positive environment for them; promoting their access to comprehensive sexuality education, as well as quality sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, facilitating their leadership and participation.

“We are doing this with an emphasis on reaching the poorest, most marginalised and underserved adolescent girls.

“Through this multipronged effort, we and our partners are seeing how critical early investments in sexual and reproductive health can enhance the lives of young people and the welfare of their societies.

“A sustainable future depends on having resilient populations, which cannot be achieved without investments in young people.

“They not only form a large proportion of the world’s population and deserve their fair share as a matter of equity, but are also in a critical stage of their lifecycle that will determine their future – and thus those of their families, communities, and societies,” the statement said.