Educating girls, engaging young people, and caring for the elderly should be top priorities as the world’s population is poised to pass an estimated 7 billion at the end of October, said Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, who discussed these and other ways to address population growth Oct. 12, 2011 at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Osotimehin was a fellow at the “Pop Center” in 1996 and 1997.
In Africa and Asia, where countries are growing the fastest, young people are making up larger and larger percentages of the population, but national resources aren’t targeted to their needs proportionately, said Osotimehin, who was formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Health. Yet young people are critical to the future of these countries. Girls, in particular, don’t participate fully in life in many of these countries; they’re often poorly educated, married off young, and subjected to gender-based violence.
World Population to Surpass 7 Billion in 2011 (HSPH press release)
photo: Meghan Dhaliwal/Harvard Staff Photographer