UN chief urges greater efforts to end poverty, inequality on World Population Day

10:07, July 12, 2011      

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Marking World Population Day on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged efforts to be stepped up to end poverty and inequality for generations to come as the globe approaches 7 billion people.

"This year's World Population Day falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the earth's seven billionth inhabitant," Ban said in a message for World Population Day which falls annually on July 11.

"This is an opportunity to celebrate our common humanity and our diversity ... it is also a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for each other and our planet," he said.

Reaching a global population of seven billion is a "numerical landmark," he said but noted that "our focus should always be on people."

"That is why I am pleased that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is giving meaning to the number by launching its campaign for '7 Billion Actions' to contribute to a better world."

The campaign is intended to promote dialogue on the challenges, opportunities and actions that will be needed to ensure a better future for humanity.

"More than ever, individuals can make a difference by uniting together through social networks and working for change," Ban said in his message. "We have seen many examples this year of the immense power of people to embrace hope over despair, to seek fair treatment where they are suffering discrimination, and to demand justice over tyranny."

Ending poverty and inequality "unleashes vast human potential," he said noting the importance to promote the UN's Millennium Development Goals, which are internationally agreed on developmental goals, that foster prosperity and peace.

"Later this year, a seven billionth baby will be born into our world of complexity and contradiction," Ban said. "We have enough food for everyone, yet nearly a billion go hungry... we have the means to eradicate many diseases, yet they continue to spread."

On this day, Ban called on the world to take "determined actions to create a better future for our world's seven billionth inhabitant and for generations to come."

According to UNFPA, the global population has doubled since 1968 and grown by nearly 40 percent since reaching 5 billion in 1987, when the first World Population Day was observed.

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