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Skills, tools, political will and public support to analyze demographic change and develop effective population and social policies based on data, evidence and human rights, are key to long-term, sustained development, according to UNFPA Representative, Rwanda, Kwabena Asante-Ntiamoah in his statement commemorate the World Population Day.

"Sustainable development can only be achieved if women have autonomy over their bodies and if reproductive rights and choices, and gender equality, tenets of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), are safeguarded" Said KWABENA  Asante-Ntiamoah, UNFPA Representative.

While the World celebrates the World Population Day (WPD) every July 11, this year’s celebration coincides with the 5th Population and Housing Census, where the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) will start enumeration to update data on core demographic, social and economic indicators.

The census will in turn inform the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national and international development plans and programmes that the country has committed on, particularly the NST1, Vision 2050, and SDGs as well as the Africa Agenda 2063.

This WPD’s theme being “A world of 8 billion: Towards a resilient future for all - Harnessing opportunities and ensuring rights and choices for all,” the World will need to reaffirm commitments and the urgency to put women and girls at the centre of efforts to recover from Covid-19 and build forward and better.

Earlier this year, UNFPA Rwanda and other stakeholders launched in Kigali and Karongi districts , the UNFPA 2022 annual State of World Population (SWOP) Report titled 'Seeing the Unseen: the case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy.’

The report portrays that an estimated 121 million pregnancies per year are unintended, and that it is an ‘unseen’ crisis because it is so common. “Nearly everyone knows someone who has experienced an unintended pregnancy” the report reads. It also shows that women are more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy when they have fewer choices and less power.

Although the latest Demographic Health Survey data shows a decrease in Total Fertility Rate, an increase in use of Modern Contraception, and a narrowing of the Unmet Need for Family Planning, to maintain the accelerated pace of contraceptive uptake, necessary steps are required to improve the quality, outreach, and impact of family planning services, especially for adolescents and youth, as put by the UNFPA Representative.

“According to projections, Rwanda’s population is estimated to continue growing the rest of the century and reach 33.35 million people by 2099. The population, which currently is estimated at 12.95 million in 2020, is projected to surpass 20 million people in 2042 and 30 million people in 2076. Around 70 percent is youth with 27.6 percent between the ages of 16 and 30.  

Rwanda’s high population growth has put an increased demand on food, infrastructure and services, and the government has made efforts around family planning to decrease the fertility rate and ensure a quality slow the population growth,” he added.

Rwanda’s population is not the only one rapidly growing. In 2011, the world reached a population of 7 billion, and it is expected the number will hit 8 billion this year. The increase in population requires investment in the youth now and harnesses the demographic dividend and a resilient population to achieve the SDGs.

Mr. Asante – Ntiamoah, commends the Government of Rwanda for its ICPD25 Commitments made at the historic Nairobi Summit and FP2030 commitments to accelerate access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.

The ICPD25 was held in Nairobi, Kenya, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994, where representatives of 179 governments gathered in a Cairo conference at the same time the international community was working towards meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“Rwanda is making tremendous progress, and together with our valued partners, UNFPA will continue to support the realisation of these Commitments. Let us work together to uphold the right of every woman to decide when and if to be pregnant; and let us stand up for the rights and choices of all women and girls to ensure demographic resilience” added the UNFPA Representative.

This year’s celebration of the World Population Day, different activities will be carried out including:  Joint statements  by UNFPA and National Institute of Statistic of Rwanda (NISR), Community Radio Live talk shows, the commemoration of the World Population Day in Nyamasheke District through Sports competitions and Social Media Campaigns among others.