World population hits 8 billion
UN urges solidarity in advancing sustainable devt
Published: Nov 15, 2022 11:57 PM
The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday called for solidarity in advancing sustainable development as the world's population hit 8 billion.

The UN said in a press release that the 8-billion-mark is "a clarion call" for ­humanity to meet its shared ­responsibility to protect people and the planet, starting with the most vulnerable ones.

"Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

While the world's population is expected to grow to around 10.4 billion in the 2080s, the overall rate of growth is slowing down. The world is more demographically diverse than ever before, with countries facing starkly different population trends ranging from growth to decline.

Today, two-thirds of the global population live in a low fertility context, where the lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman. At the same time, population growth has become increasingly concentrated among the world's poorest countries, most of which are in ­sub-Saharan Africa.

Against this backdrop, the global community must ensure that all countries are equipped to provide a good quality of life for their populations and can lift up and empower their most marginalized people, according to the release.

"A world of 8 billion is a milestone for humanity - the result of longer lifespans, reductions in poverty, and declining maternal and childhood mortality. Yet, focusing on numbers alone distracts us from the real challenge we face: Securing a world in which progress can be enjoyed equally and sustainably," said Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund.

Meanwhile, the majority of the world's population growth is concentrated among the poorest countries, which have significantly lower emissions rates but are likely to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change.

"We must accelerate our efforts to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement as well as achieve the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]," said Li Junhua, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs. 

"We need a rapid decoupling of economic activity from the current over-reliance on fossil-fuel energy, as well as greater efficiency in the use of those resources, and we need to make this a just and inclusive transition that supports those left furthest behind."

In order to pursue these solutions, increased investment from member states and donor governments is needed in policies and programs that work 

to make the world safer, more sustainable and more inclusive, the UN official said.