The world's population reached 7 billion on 31 October, 2011. Pictured near an entrance to UN Headquarters is a banner for a global campaign by UNFPAto build awareness of the opportunities and challenges posed by this milestone. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
World Population Day, 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.
By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to enhance awareness of population issues, including their relations to the environment and development.
The Day was first marked on 11 July 1990 in more than 90 countries. Since then, a number of a number of UNFPA country offices and other organizations and institutions commemorate World Population Day, in partnership with governments and civil society.
The UN and Population
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. United Nations missions, national Government offices, United Nations offices, researchers, media representatives and the public regularly consult the Population Division regarding population estimates and projections, and information and analyses on population and development issues.
At its thirty-eighth session, the Statistical Commission requested the United Nations Statistics Division and other international agencies to increase their technical assistance to national statistical offices in order to strengthen national capacity for the implementation of the 2010 World Programme on Population and Housing Censuses. In addition, the Commission requested countries to begin implementation of the revised Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses.
UNFPA works with many partners, both within and outside the United Nations system, including Governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, faith-based organizations, religious leaders and others, to achieve its mission. To better respond to local needs, UNFPA increasingly devotes resources to country-led efforts, placing emphasis on country-focused and country-led implementation to achieve improved results, at the same time addressing mutual accountability and strengthening harmonization and alignment.
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. UNFPA 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.
Nine standards to uphold the human right to family planning
Non-discrimination: Family planning information and services cannot be restricted on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political affiliation, national origin, age, economic status, place of residence, disability status, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Available: Countries must ensure that family planning commodities and services are accessible to everyone.
Accessible: Countries must ensure that family planning commodities and services are accessible to everyone.
Acceptable: Contraceptive services and information must be provided in a dignified manner, respecting both modern medical ethics and the cultures of those being accommodated.
Good quality: Family planning information must be clearly communicated and scientifically accurate.
Informed decision-making: Every person must be empowered to make reproductive choices with full autonomy, free of pressure, coercion or misrepresentation.
Privacy and confidentiality: All individuals must enjoy the right to privacy when seeking family planning information and services.
Participation: Countries have an obligation to ensure the active and informed participation of individuals in decisions that affect them, including health issues.
Accountability: Health systems, education systems, leaders and policymakers must be accountable to the people they serve in all efforts to realize the human right to family planning.