World Population Day 2013 Focuses on Adolescent Pregnancy
UNFPA Executive Director: adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue, it's a development issue- See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/14426#sthash.JySdDME7.dpuf
United Nations Population Fund is the lead agency in the UN system supporting national efforts to conduct censuses, particularly in developing countries. A census is among the most important and complex peace-time exercises a nation can undertake. Read more on data for development: http://bit.ly/GBDqWX
United Nations Secretary General --
MESSAGE ON WORLD POPULATION DAY
11 July 2013
As a staunch advocate of the education, health and rights of girls and an enduring believer in the power of young women to transform our world, I welcome the focus of this year’s World Population Day on adolescent pregnancy. This sensitive topic demands global attention.
Far too many of the estimated 16 million teenage girls who give birth each year never had the opportunity to plan their pregnancy. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth can cause grave disabilities, such as obstetric fistula, and are the leading cause of death for these vulnerable young women. Adolescent girls also face high levels of illness, injury and death due to unsafe abortion.
To address these problems, we must get girls into primary school and enable them to receive a good education through their adolescence. When a young girl is educated, she is more likely to marry later, delay childbearing until she is ready, have healthier children, and earn a higher income.
We must also provide all adolescents with age-appropriate, comprehensive education on sexuality. This is especially important to empowering young women to decide when and if they wish to become mothers. In addition, we must provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that cover family planning and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. And we must guarantee the maternal health services that women need.
When we devote attention and resources to the education, health and wellbeing of adolescent girls, they will become an even greater force for positive change in society that will have an impact for generations to come. On this World Population Day, let us pledge to support adolescent girls to realize their potential and contribute to our shared future.
Message from the Executive Director of UNFPA
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There are over 600 million girls in the world today, more than 500 million of them in developing countries. They are shaping humanity’s present and future. The opportunities and choices girls have during adolescence will enable them to begin adulthood as empowered, active citizens.
With the right skills and opportunities, they can invest in themselves, in their families and their communities. However, pregnancy jeopardizes the rights, health, education and potential of far too many adolescent girls, robbing them of a better future.
About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, and complications from pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death among girls in this age group, especially in developing countries.
Adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue, it is a development issue. It is deeply rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, child and forced marriage, power imbalances between adolescent girls and their male partners, lack of education, and the failure of systems and institutions to protect their rights. To bring these issues to global attention, this year’s World Population Day is focusing on adolescent pregnancy.
Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy requires commitment from nations, communities and individuals in both developed and developing countries to invest in adolescent girls. Governments should enact and enforce national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 and should promote community-based efforts that support girls’ rights and prevent child marriage and its consequences.
Adolescents and youth must be provided with age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect their health throughout their lives. However, education and information are not enough. Good quality reproductive health services must also be readily available in order for adolescents to make informed choices and be healthy.
At the local level, communities should provide the infrastructure to deliver reproductive health care in a youth-friendly and sensitive way.
Underlying all these efforts is the understanding that the dignity and human rights of adolescent girls must be respected, protected and fulfilled. Today, we call on governments, the international community and all stakeholders involved to take measures that enable adolescent girls to make responsible life choices and to provide the necessary support for them in cases when their rights are threatened. Every young girl, regardless of where she lives, or her economic circumstances, has the right to fulfil her human potential. Today, too many girls are denied that right. We can change that, and we must.
Meeting the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescent Girls
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