2004 marks the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994.
Ten years ago, on the eve of World Population Day, a new campaign was launched to raise awareness of how international family planning helps save women and children's lives, safeguard the environment, and slow population growth. 179 governments committed to it when they signed the Program of Action of ICPD, which prescribes the steps that will not only save millions of women's lives but empower societies to achieve a better future.
Today, there are more than 6 billion people on the planet, with half of the world's population under the age of 25-at or just reaching their childbearing years.Russia
Nearly 600,000 women still die each year from pregnancy-related causes. And an estimated 90 percent of infants whose mothers die at childbirth will not survive to their first birthday.
Wild species are becoming extinct 50 to 100 times faster than they naturally would, because of the impact of rapid population growth and increased population density in many countries.
World Population Day
Though population growth is slowing worldwide, more than 90 percent of current growth occurs in the developing world where needs are great and resources are scarce. And these nations have a huge unmet need for family planning services-over 150 million married women of reproductive age in the developing world indicate that they would prefer to postpone childbearing but are not using any method of contraception.
"Girl born today in the developing world faces better prospects than a girl who was born 10 years ago. School enrolment rates are increasing, mortality is declining and life expectancy is rising, more and more women and couples are able to choose the number and spacing of their children and many countries are taking additional steps to confront HIV/AIDS. But progress is uneven, and in some cases slipping backwards. We need the strength and determination of a marathon runner to meet our goals during the next decade."