With the world’s population expected to top 7 billion by October 31st, the United Nations launched a global initiative called 7 Billion Actions to renew global commitment to a healthy and sustainable world.
The initiative’s goal is to bring together governments, businesses, the media, and individuals to handle the problems that come with a burgeoning population head-on.
“We are not here to simply acknowledge a milestone. We are here to address all of its vast implications,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “The seventh billionth citizen will be born into a world of contradictions. We have plenty of food yet millions are still starving. We see luxurious lifestyle campaigns yet millions are impoverished. We have great opportunities for progress but also great obstacles.”
In addition to poverty and inequality, he also cited discrimination, human rights abuses, lack of democracy, violence against women, maternal morality, climate change, and the degradation of the environment as challenges facing the growing population.
The agency responsible for the 7 Billion Actions initiative, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), has noted the vast implications that the population milestone has for the environment. They stated that efforts must be made in migration, urbanization, and sustainability, “in a world where conflicts and weather disasters are driving people from their homes and climate change is exacerbating food and water shortages.”
A representative from the UNFPA said catastrophic scenario outlined by Ban Ki-Moon could be avoided. They stated that governments must exhibit sound leadership to improve society and businesses and media need to utilize their might to create economic returns that benefit society as a whole.
The latest UNFPA figures show that the world’s population is expected to reach 7 billion by October 31st, surpass 9 billion before 2050, and then reach 10.1 billion by the century’s end if fertility rates continue.
Read more at the UN News Center.