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World Population Day: UN leaders call on action for world’s youth

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On Friday in observance of World Population Day in New York City United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the nations and organizations of the world for an investment in today’s youth in order to “lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for generations to come.”

According to Secretary-General Ban, with the youth population of the world presently at 1.8 million, action is needed in order to help the youth of the world lift themselves out of poverty and into roles which will help forge the future of our world.

“Too many are denied their rightful opportunities to get a quality education, find decent work, and participate in the political life of their societies.” Ban said in his statement. “World Population Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment to help young people unleash progress across society.”

Ban added, “I am particularly concerned about adolescent girls who may face discrimination, sexual violence, early marriage and unwanted pregnancies.”

This message was also communicated on Wednesday in preparation for World Population Day by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Under-Secretary-General Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

“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,” Dr. Osotimehin remarked in his statement.

“On this World Population Day, I commit UNFPA’s full support to all efforts to promote young people’s aspirations and to place young people at the very heart of national and global development efforts,” he declared.

Like Ban, Osotimehin noted the additional hardships girls face across the globe in regard to human rights abuses, forced sex, forced marriages, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and death or disability from the effects of childbirth.

Ban closed his statement by declaring,

“On this World Population Day, I call on all with influence to prioritize youth in development plans, strengthen partnerships with youth-led organizations, and involve young people in all decisions that affect them. By empowering today’s youth, we will lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for generations to come."