World Population Day

11 July, 2015

world population day, demographics, conflict, human rights, women’s rights, child rights

In an increasingly dangerous world, proximity to conflict is becoming a reality for more and more people. Saturday 11 July annually marks World Population Day, chosen by the United Nations to draw attention to population issues across the globe. In a world embroiled in conflict, 2014 saw a record 59.5 million people displaced by war.

In response to this The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has focused this year’s event on the safety and dignity of women and children displaced by conflict, specifically their access healthcare. As the Ebola crises in West Africa exposed the vulnerabilities and fatal weaknesses of local health services, which we recently examined in our forum on health systems and mobile technology, war exposes and exacerbates the vulnerabilities of individuals and communities in emergency situations.

2015 holds particular significance as it marks the end of the 15 year timeframe in which 140 world leaders agreed on 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to the United Nations, whilst equality has been achieved in primary education between girls and boys and women’s participation in politics continues to grow under MDG3, recurring violence against women undermines this progress.

In conflict zones women and children face the very real threat of sexual violence, discussed in our event on Preventing sexual violence in conflict which featured then Foreign Secretary William Hague and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Envoy, Angelina Jolie. Programme director Isobelle Jaques has also conducted a number of high profile forums on peacebuilding work, which aimed to protect women and children in conflict. Despite such weighty support, the unrestrained sexual abuse of women in conflict still remains a weapon of war.

Wilton Park, as part of its long term programme of forums, has and will continue to promote efforts toward reaching these goals by facilitating open dialogue and discussion in a neutral and discreet setting.

Further information

(Re)Building health systems in West Africa: what role for ICT and mobile technologies? (2015)

Supporting competitiveness and innovation: how to create the workforce of the future in the UK and Germany (2014)

Preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations (2012)

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