Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to make this all important Statement on the World Population Day scheduled for 11th July on the theme -- Family Planning; Empowering People, Developing Nations.
Mr Speaker, since 1989, the 11th of July is commemorated as the World Population Day. By resolution 45/216 of December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly decided to continue observing World Population Day to stimulate discussions on the critical issues of
population, including its relation with the environment and development.
The recent rapid increase in human population over the past three centuries has raised concerns that the planet Earth may not be able to sustain present or future numbers of inhabitants. At the beginning of the 19th Century, during the industrial revolution, the world population grew significantly from 250 million people to 1 billion.
Mr Speaker, also since 1950, due to medical advancement and an increase in agricultural production, we have seen a dramatic growth in the world population. At the turn of the 20th Century, the world population was estimated at 1.6 billion people.
By 1940, it stood at 2.3 billion people. Currently, UN Population Assessment Report estimates the world population as 7.5 billion. It is expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050 and 15 billion by 2100.
Mr Speaker, the concept of over- population with its associated problems such as poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, global warming, pollution and deforestation made intellectuals such as Thomas Malthus to predict that mankind would outgrow its available resources. They, therefore, thought that wars, famine and other calamities were natural interventions to reduce popula- tion.
Indeed, Malthus postulated in his theory that, there is a constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment for it. So, where the means of subsistence increases, population invariably increases, unless prevented by external factors such as natural disasters, earthquakes, wars, famine, diseases, plaques, et cetera.
Mr Speaker, there is no need for natural disasters and calamities to control population growth. The antidote is in family planning. The family planning programme has decreased the fertility rate of women and enabled the contraceptive prevalence rate to increase.
It is, therefore, not surprising that the theme for this year's celebration is Family Planning; Empowering People, Developing Nations.
Mr Speaker, the world population day this year, coincides with the Family Planning Summit expected to take place in London. The United Kingdom Depart- ment for International Development will co-host the global summit with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development and Global Affairs Canada.
There are also national programmes on this day which seek to focus attention on population issues.
The Family Planning Summit would enable stakeholders to provide a platform for donors to complement and commit themselves, to assist poor but needy countries and find financial solutions to address the shortfall in the supply of contraceptives.
It will also enable the family planning community to share experiences and display technical innovations that have the potential to accelerate progress in family planning. This can be achieved through short films, data visualisation and other dynamic story telling tools.
Mr Speaker, an estimated 225 million women in developing countries who want
to delay or stop childbearing are not using any method of contraception. The reason for this include cultural and religious reasons, lack of information and limited access to contraception and lack of co- operation from their male partners.
The range of contraceptive methods over the last few decades has been increasing.
They include the condoms, female contraceptives, and female hormonal preparations which can be in the form of pills or injections; intra uterine devices, Norplant's insertions, which last for about five years, Minilaporatomy with bilateral tubal ligation, the standard day's method and the male sterilisation (Vasectomy) for men to also remind ourselves about the male sterilisation or Vasectomy.
Let us remember that vasectomy is not the same as sterilisation or castration.
Mr Speaker, family planning is key to slowing unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impacts on the economy, environment and national development effort. For the first time in history, 300 million women and girls across 69 developing countries now use modern contraceptives. This has led to the prevention of 82 million unwanted pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths.
Mr Speaker, access to voluntary family planning is a human right . It is also central to gender equality and women empower- ment; and is a key factor in reducing poverty. In Ghana, family planning is prioritised as a key strategy for addressing critical socioeconomic issues.