WORLD POPULATION DAY 2015 WELCOME MESSAGE
Around the world, the number of people forcibly displaced from their abodes due to man-made or natural disasters has risen to a record high. Among them are women, adolescents and youth, very young children, older persons and people with disabilities. We all know that in a crisis situation, the absence of quality health and other basic human services, pose serious threats to the survival of displaced families and individuals.
Esteemed guests, fellow workers in public service, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
The UNFPA reports that under normal or abnormal conditions, reproductive health complications continue to be the leading cause of illness and death among adult women and young mothers. Our own experiences here in Zamboanga City have taught us that in humanitarian crisis situations, adult women and adolescent girls are likely to be pregnant. We also know that in challenging situations, skilled birth attendants and obstetric care do not come in easy, hence, these expectant women and girls become vulnerable to death if not injuries.
This is the reason why this year’s WPD celebration is focused on women and adolescent girls. This sector of our population faces much greater risks of abuse, sexual exploitation, and violence during conflict and natural disaster situations. Those women who survive a crisis find themselves responsible for the care and survival of their children and other household members. They have to overcome immense obstacles to provide water, food, sanitation, medicines, shelter, clothing, health and care for their loved ones and above all, they need to bear the heaviest burden of finding relief and reconstruction amidst the devastation to lives and properties.
Many of them neglect their own needs in their desire and instinctive nature to care for others. Their seeming hopeless situation made even worse by poor governance, uncoordinated disaster responses, climate change and numerous other problems.
The theme of this year’s World Population Day is “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies”.
The United Nations Population Fund is hopeful that through all of us here present, we may empower and safeguard the well-being of women, adolescent girls and young people, older persons, people with disabilities, the sick and lame, the homeless and displaced individuals and families, and respond to their basic needs and concerns.
As we continue to work closely with our local government, the United Nations system, local partners and others involved in disaster preparedness thru various agencies and instrumentalities of the national government, let us ensure that reproductive health is not only integrated but rather given paramount attention before, during and after emergency responses.
Reproductive health is a right. Reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international laws and international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic rights of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes the right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in the UN human rights declaration (ICPD, 2008).
The Commission on Population Regional Population Office IX shares the commitment of UNFPA of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Thank you for your continued support. #