8 Billion People : But Infinite Possibilities For Everyone!

The State of the World Population report was launched in Yaounde, Cameroon on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

Entitled “8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices,” the 2023 report on the State of the World Population was launched in Yaounde, Cameroon on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. At a ceremony chaired by Paul Tasong, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development in charge of Planning. He was joined by other cabinet ministers, heads of United Nations agencies and other government functionaries.  

Reason To Rejoice
“The world’s population reached 8 billion people in November 2022.This is reason to rejoice because there is now greater access to better healthcare and longer life spans,” said the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Cameroon Resident Representative, Justin Koffi at the event.

No Need For Alarm!
He said this year’s report encourages government authorities and the media to stop alarmist reports and comments on the figure of 8 billion people in the world. Instead, they should ask if women are able to make their own free choices concerning reproductive health, he advised. “This landmark report raises powerful voices like the ban, in some countries, of free contraceptives in hospitals…. Women’s bodies should not be held captive by population demands,” Koffi warned. According to him, “Advancing gender equality is the best way to tackle population issues,” he Justin Koffi noted. Commending the quest of the Cameroonian government, people and development partners to build a better world.

Right Child Spacing
Paul Tasong, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development in charge of Planning, recalled that this year’s theme focuses on the right to decide the number of children to have, and their spacing. However, the world’s population is growing faster than resources, he cautioned. 

Huge, Dependent Population
“Cameroon has about 30 million people now. This year’s theme, “8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities: The Case for Rights and Choices,” is timely because the country has a huge dependent youth population, which exerts greater strain on resources,” the Minister Delegate said. Thus, Cameroon has an uphill task to satisfy all the needs of its population, he added.      

Responsible  Parenthood 
“As long as Cameroonians do not have access to education or something to eat, then we are faced with major challenges,” he said. “In our socio-cultural context, issues of reproductive health touch on procreation, which is sensitive. The stance of the Cameroonian government is that everyone has the right to the number of children they wish, but this must be done responsibly to ensure responsible parenthood,” Paul Tasong explained.

Qualitative Reproductive Healthcare 
“Government’s actions with partners are facilitating access to qualitative reproductive healthcare. There is a potential for Cameroonians to be resilient in the face of rapid population growth. Nevertheless, Cameroon still needs the assistance of its development partners… The Head of State is determined to continue to place population issues at the centre of Cameroon’s development policies,” the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development in charge of Planning said.  

Global Report Launch 
Speaking in New York, USA on April 19, 2023 at the global launch of the report, UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem, said the world is living in a period of extreme demographic diversity. With two-thirds of people living in places with below-replacement fertility. While some live in countries experiencing vigorous population growth, other countries have a median age of around 50, others around 15.

India Overtakes China In Population 
Dr Kanem warned that the ranking of the world’s most populous countries will change significantly over the next 25 years. “For example, as we speak, India’s population is overtaking China’s,” she disclosed. What all this means, according to her is that there is a serious danger that human rights, and particularly reproductive rights, will be undermined. “That is already happening in some places, with calls for limiting family size, bans on contraception in public hospitals, women being urged to step away from their careers to become mothers. Yet, women are also clapping back to insist that they are not merely baby factories,” she said.

Blaming Fertility Rates – For Nothing!
“Many say the world is overpopulated. They blame fertility rates for the climate crisis, for instance. In a recent survey, we found that the most commonly held views were that the global population is too large and fertility rates too high. According to that kind of logic, global warming is supposedly driven by proliferation of human beings on a planet of finite resources. 

Wrong People Held To Account 
“Yet this fallacy holds the wrong people to account. Just 10 per cent of the world’s population is responsible for fully half of all greenhouse gas emissions. The countries with the highest fertility rates contribute least to global warming and suffer most from its impacts,” Dr. Natalia said. Urging the shattering of the myth that low birth rates are the culprit behind ageing and related economic concerns. 

They Are Not Baby-making Factories!
“Blaming women for producing an insufficient supply of babies ignores much more viable solutions that can be implemented while respecting human rights. For example, ageing, low-fertility countries can increase productivity by achieving gender parity in the workforce, expanding access to affordable childcare, and by looking to migration to fill labour shortages.&n...



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