On October 31, the world’s population is expected to reach 7 billion people. In recognition of this milestone, UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth released the following statement calling for investment in international reproductive health and voluntary family planning as a means to achieving progress on all of the Millennium Development Goals.
“In a world of 7 billion, it is more important than ever that we address fundamental issues of poverty and inequality. We know that investing in women’s reproductive health and voluntary family planning is one of the most cost-effective means to tackling our most pressing global development challenges.
Today there are 215 million women who want the ability to prevent pregnancy, but lack access to quality reproductive health care and voluntary family planning. Meeting this demand would have numerous benefits — not least of which is saving lives. Pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death among young women in developing countries. If the demand for family planning were met, maternal mortality would decrease by 32 percent, and infant mortality by 10 percent.
Empowering women with the tools they need not only improves their health and ability to raise stronger, healthier families, but it also promotes more prosperous and stable societies, resource and food security, and environmental sustainability.
Let’s be clear — investing in women and girls is one of the smartest investments that we can make. As we mark this milestone, we must ensure that women and girls are at the top of the global agenda, because the investments we make today will have a multiplier effect across all of the Millennium Development Goals, dramatically improving the lives of the next generation.”
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. These campaigns focus on reducing child mortality, empowering women and girls, creating a new energy future, securing peace and human rights, and promoting technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.