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Statement by Kofi Annan,
UN Secretary General

"The theme of this year’s World Population Day, “One billion adolescents: the right to health, information and services”, highlights the need to support young people in their efforts to lead safe, rewarding lives and contribute to the well-being of their families and communities.

"Throughout the world, millions of girls and boys are deprived of an education, harming their individual prospects and those of society at large. In some countries, half of all girls are married before the age of 18, often resulting in early childbearing that poses serious health risks to both mother and child. Experience shows that educated women are more likely to marry later, and have healthy and better educated children, who will pass on these benefits from one generation to the next. Education and information also influence how many children they will have. If a woman were to wait until age 23, instead of age 18, to have her first child, that alone could reduce the momentum in population growth by over 40 per cent.

"Information and services are also crucial in the fight against AIDS and the broader quest for good health. Young people should know how the HIV virus is transmitted, and how to protect themselves from infection. This is important everywhere but is absolutely critical in countries where infection rates are already high or quickly rising. Reproductive health services and factual information about reproductive health will also help young people to avoid risky behaviour, unwanted pregnancy and poor health in general. And in conflict zones, where levels of sexual violence and abuse are dramatically heightened, young people need appropriate and sensitive services to recover and participate in their country’s return to normal life.

"If the world is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and implement the programme of action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, the most effective interventions will involve young people themselves. It is they who can best identify their needs, and who must help design the programmes that address them.

"One of every six people on earth is an adolescent. In the developing world, more than 40 percent of the population is under age 20. The decisions these young people make will shape our world and the prospects of future generations. On this World Population Day, let us recognize their right to the health, information and services they need and deserve."

General Resources

Web Resources

Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)

  • Population, migration and refugee studies: information sources
    Guide highlighting information resources located at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet.
  • Discussion papers - Universite de Neuchatel. Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies (FSM/SFM)
    Provides full text access to the discussion papers of FSM. These are research, evaluation and commentary papers on aspects of migration, asylum, and integration research, politics and policies broadly defined.
  • InfoNation - United Nations Cyberschoolbus
    Allows users to construct statistical tables comparing and contrasting data for up to five countries at a time. Data figures are available for the following areas: population, economy, environment, health and technology. Links to more detailed country profiles are also provided; these include maps, basic demographic details, and links to news sources.
  • CPOP current projects: roundtable on the demography of forced migration - National Academy of Science. Committee on Population (CPOP)
    Established 1999 to serve as "an interdisciplinary, nonpartisan focal point for taking stock of what is known about demographic patterns in refugee situations, applying this knowledge base to assist both policy makers and relief workers, and stimulating new directions for innovation and scientific inquiry in this growing field of study." Access to the complete text of all the Roundtable's publications.
  • Guia del mundo - Instituto del Tercer Mundo
    Annual reference book provides information and data on countries around the world. It is divided into two sections: the theme section reviews current issues such as indigenous people, population, water, climate change, globalization, work, drugs, etc.; in the country section, users will find historical information, a review of relevant events, maps, photos, statistical and demographic data for over 200 nations.
  • World health report 2002: reducing risks, promoting healthy life - World Health Organization (WHO)
    Report quantifies the health risks faced by the world's population today and looks at how these risks can be reduced in the future in order to increase life expectancies. The complete text of the report is provided in PDF format, with overviews available in all six official WHO languages.
  • Publications - Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM), Georgetown University.
    Examines a range of issues relating to international migration including "causes of and potential responses to population movements, immigration and refugee law and policy, comparative migration studies, the integration of immigrants into their host societies, and the effects of international migration on social, economic, demographic, foreign policy and national security concerns," and internal displacement.
  • Reproductive health in refugee situations: an inter-agency field manual - UNHCR, WHO, UNFPA & International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
    Manual to support the delivery of reproductive health services in the field. Chapters cover safe motherhood, sexual/gender-based violence, sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, among other issues. Also notable is Appendix 2, which summarizes basic rights to reproductive health based on international human rights instruments. A glossary of terms is presented in Appendix 3.
  • Population Council - New York. Research updates: Population Briefs: Reports on Population Council Research; Policy Research Division: Working Paper Series; Journal: Population and Devlopment Review

Relevant Organizations

Contact details for relevant organizations (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)

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creative commons logo (CC) BY-NC-ND This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Photograph of Adolescents

More than 1 billion young people are between the ages of 15 and 24. They need supportive relationships and respect.
© UNFPA, Abbas/Magnum Photos

Last updated Sep 06, 2011