World Population Day is always our busiest day of the year, and 2023 was no different. After taking a couple of days to decompress, we wanted to share some of the highlights with you.
An insightful 90 minutes
We were proud to welcome four great speakers from around the globe in a webinar to look at the critical links between education, population, women’s empowerment and the environment. They brought a wide range of perspectives and experiences, articulating their contrasting but powerful personal experiences that were heart-rending, thought-provoking and inspiring in equal measure.
We were joined by people from 25 different countries on the day, but if you missed it (or you’d like to watch it again), the whole event is available to view below.
Is education the magic bullet?
There was also a question we weren’t able to answer in the Q&A section at the end of the session, so we thought we’d do so here.
Q. How much funding is needed to address these issues per year, globally?
A. UNESCO released a report in April which put the total funding shortfall for education at US$97b. Perhaps surprisingly, the funding is currently at about 80% of that target, but obviously still a huge shortfall.
Awards for new group of change-makers
We announced the winners of our third annual Change Champions Awards, celebrating inspirational people who have made a real difference in the world. Some of the categories included Youth Champion, Media Story, Online Campaign and Population Matters Supporter.
As Cindy Forde, author of Bright New World: how to make a happy planet and winner of the Shining a Light Award, put it:
The fact that we can solve so many of our pressing challenges by inclusion, respect and kindness to women and girls is a glorious message to share with children, educators and families. Population Matters’s work lays the foundations for how we can thrive as a human family. I am delighted to help shine a light on this and to win this wonderful award.
A good news report
We have published a brand new report, Power to the people – how population policies work, detailing how population policies can and have improved the lives of millions across the world. From imagination, humour and hard work in Thailand to the journey from trauma to empowerment in Rwanda, there is a good news story here that is seldom told.
Here’s a small extract from the report, taken from the Costa Rica case study which details how they managed to successfully slow population growth and eventually rank as the 16th happiest place on Earth.
Through its [the Costa Rican Government’s] family planning programme, the government made contraceptives much more accessible, particularly to rural and low-income communities. As a result, the percentage of women in rural areas who used modern contraception jumped from 24 to 64 from 1969 to 1976 […] Local churches of various denominations also contributed by normalising and helping distribute contraceptives. For example, Padre Carlo, a local minister, hosted a highly effective radio show called Dialogo, in which he challenged the cultural hesitancy to discuss sex and promoted contraceptive usage.
Make your voice heard
Last but not least, we are asking you to take action and ask that population is brought into the Summit of the Future.
This week in New York, senior politicians will gather from around the world as part of the UN’s long process intended to both rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and look beyond them. Please contact your government to demand meaningful action.
We have supplied contact information for many foreign ministries or ministers, as well as suggested text, here.