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EDITORIAL

Family Planning is a Human Right

Ranjan K Baruah
(With inputs from UN publication and feedback may be sent to bkranjan@gmail.com)

11th July is World Population Day

The term population is concerned for every individual. The increasing population is a concern as resources are limited on earth. In biology, a population is all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding. In sociology, population refers to a collection of humans. Here, we are talking about human population.

Current estimates indicate that roughly 83 million people are being added to the world’s population every year. Even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline, the global population is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to the medium-variant projection.

World Population Day (WPD), which seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July, 1987.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed to be a human right. The conference’s outcome document, known as the Teheran Proclamation, stated unequivocally: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”

The theme for this year’s population day is “Family Planning is a Human Right”. Men and women have the right to choose when and how often to embrace parenthood — if at all. Every individual has the human right to determine the direction and scope of his or her future in this fundamental way.
Nine standards to uphold the human right to family planning are — non-discrimination, available, accessible, acceptable, good quality, informed decision-making, privacy and confidentiality, participation, accountability. The UN Population Division collaborates closely with the agencies, funds, programmes and bodies of the United Nations system in the implementation of the work programme on population and in the follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development.

UNFPA works to support family planning by: ensuring a steady, reliable supply of quality contraceptives; strengthening national health systems; advocating for policies supportive of family planning; and gathering data to support this work. It also provides global leadership in increasing access to family planning, by convening partners – including governments – to develop evidence and policies, and by offering programmatic, technical and financial assistance to developing countries.

In her message for the World Population Day, Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFA, has said “family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development, yet, in developing regions, some 214 million women still lack safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. This threatens their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”
On this WPD, UNFPA calls on governments to fulfil their commitments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and reproductive rights, including family planning services and information, as agreed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Investments in family planning today are investments in the health and well-being of millions of women for generations to come.

Growing population is a concern for each and every one of us. It is important for us to think and plan for managing the population. Many activities are being carried out for generating awareness in all over world. In India, many campaigns are held on the occasion of WPD. This is a day which reminds us that if we do not take action now then we may not say what will happen in future. Proper family planning and development of human resources would certainly bring new positive innovations which would be helpful for human being and all other living being on earth.

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