The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released its annual report on the State of World Population at a briefing this week at the National Press Club. The report raised concerns about the impact of urbanization on the world’s youth (ages 18 and younger), who will comprise 60 percent of the world’s population in 2030. According to the report, one in every six people in the world now live in slums, and women and girls constitute a disproportionate percentage of these urban poor populations.
George Martine, the principal author of the report, and US Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a long-time supporter of women”s rights, were among the speakers at yesterday’s public launch of the report. Addressing the report’s emphasis on access to reproductive health for women if urbanization is to succeed, Representative Maloney stated the need for the international community to return its focus and funding to basic healthcare for women.
In addition to discussing the challenges facing the world”s urban populations, the speakers expressed great optimism about the future of cities as centers of innovation and progress. Representative Maloney stated that, “the world’s cities should be seen as places of hope, especially for women.”