Investing in the youth
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2014 - 12:00am

As a champion and ambassador of Goodwill of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), I have visited various schools like EARIST, Rizal High School, Juan Sumulong High School, PUP, Ateneo and La Salle to moderate engagements on sexuality.

The World Population Day is celebrated every July 11. The day was designated by the United Nations to conduct wide-range discussions regarding significant issues concerning population affecting the global community. The observance was inspired by public interest on the Day of Five Billion on July 11, 1987 — the day the global population reached five billion.

These past years, World Population Day focused on topics such as reproductive health rights, climate change, population growth, family planning and teen pregnancy.

In keeping with UNFPA’s focus on adolescent and youth well-being and to support a global movement to push for a new goal on the youth in the post-2015 development agenda, the theme for this year’s World Population Day is Investing in Young People.

According to Klaus Beck, UNFPA country representative, “Why do we need to invest in young people? Today, we have the largest generation of young people in human history — globally and in the Philippines — one in every three Filipinos is 10 to 24 years old. Young people are among the largest groups of marginalized and excluded people that the world has ever seen.

“This largest generation of adolescents is also entering their sexual and reproductive life. Yet, there have been significant gaps in availability, quality and access to comprehensive sexuality education and services for young people.”

Beck explains that pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among 15 to19 years old in low- and middle-income countries. In the Philippines, 22.8 percent of 18-year-old women have begun childbearing (according to the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Survey 2013) while teenage fertility rates went up from 54 per 1,000 as reported in 2011 to 57 per 1,000 in 2013 (based on the Family Health Survey 2011 and National Demographic and Health Survey 2013).

“Adolescents and youth are central to the development agenda in the coming two decades. Investing in young people today by promoting healthy habits, ensuring education and employment opportunities, and access to health services is the best investment to improve the lives of the world’s future generations,” Beck explains.

For this year’s observance, UNFPA launched a global social media selfie campaign which aims to collect as many selfie photos from young people, decision-makers, celebrities and other advocates to support a year-long Youth Campaign leading to the conclusion of the post-2015 development agenda.

The “selfies” are aimed at putting a human face to the issues of young people. UNFPA Philippines partnered with photographer Niccolo Cosme and his Headshot Clinic to roll out the Philippines’ selfie campaign with celebrities that include Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago, Luke Jickain, Radha, Ramon Bautista, Sam YG, Harry Morris of the Philippine Volcanoes, Princess Manzon, Wanggo Gallaga and the Miss Philippines Earth 2014 winners.

 

ATENEO AND LA SALLE BEA ROSE SANTIAGO DAY OF FIVE BILLION FAMILY HEALTH SURVEY GOODWILL OF THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND HARRY MORRIS OF THE PHILIPPINE VOLCANOES HEADSHOT CLINIC PEOPLE WORLD POPULATION DAY YOUNG
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