The world population, according to the projections of United Nations, has reached to 7 billion. According to the report released by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on October 26, 2011, this milestone has with itself both the possibility of opportunity and challenge. UNFPA says that the world population may reach to 10 billion or 16 billion by the end of this century, depending on the nature of the actions that we are taking today. Our today's attitude towards the world and humanity would determine whether we would be able to provide more equitable and environmentally sustainable future for world population or not.
The Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, mentioned in the foreword of the report, "With planning and the right investment in people now – to empower them to make choices that are not only good for themselves, but also for our global commons – our world of 7 billion can have thriving sustainable cities, productive labour forces that fuel economies, and youth populations that contribute to the well-being of their societies,"
The report, titled as "People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion" does not talk just about the numbers; rather it tries to throw some light on the dynamics behind the numbers. It goes within the diverse attitudes found in different parts of the world regarding population growth and its control.
It is mainly a report from the field, where demographers, policy makers, governments, civil society and individuals are grappling with population trends ranging from ageing to rapidly rising numbers of young people, from high population growth rates to shrinking populations and from high rates of urbanization to rising international migration. The countries featured in this report are China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Some of the truths presented by the reports are very interesting in nature. They include the facts like the choice of today's girls and women to have fewer children as compared to their mothers and grandmothers. This choice has something to do with the education and empowerment of girls and women in many parts of the world.
The report further suggests that more investments should be made for youth as they form an integral part of the today's world population. The numbers reveal that out of 7 billion population of the world, 1.8 billion is comprised of young people. These people have their ages between 10 to 24 years. More investment in order to provide them better opportunities would be repaid in the form of economic and social developments they would be able to make. The same would be beneficial for Afghanistan as well.
As Afghanistan also has a considerable number of its population being comprised of youth. Arie Hoekma, Afghanistan Representative for UNFPA said, "In Afghanistan people less than 25 years old make up almost 70 percent of the total population.
Investing in adolescent girls is one of the smartest investments a country can make. With health, education and opportunities, girls and women can contribute fully to their societies and help break the cycle of poverty. To celebrate the 7 billion possibilities behind the 7 billion people of this world, UNFPA stands close to Afghan women's right to a safe and healthy motherhood."
The facts and figures relevant to Afghanistan show that the population growth rate for Afghanistan is 3.1%; total fertility rate is 6.0 and life expectancy at birth for male and female is 49. These figures are not really satisfactory and show that more concentration has to be devoted towards Afghan population to raise the standard of life in the country.
Another issue regarding the population of Afghanistan also remains unattended and that is the absence of a comprehensive and scientific population census in the country, without which, it would be very difficult to carry out development work and make effective and positive social and political decisions for the Afghan people.