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Monday, 25 January, 1999, 11:26 GMT
Sex education to halt population boom
Population Concern warns that young men should take more responsibility
Population Concern warns that young men should take more responsibility
The world faces an unprecedented boom in population unless reproductive education is freely available around the world, a charity has warned.

It also said that men in particular should take more responsibility and need access to contraceptives and health advice.

The warning came from Population Concern, a non-governmental organisation that supports reproductive health care programmes in developing countries.

It said that action now could mean the difference between a world population of seven billion and one of 11 billion in the opening decades of the next century.

Landmark increase

This year will be the first time the human population of this planet has passed six billion, the report said.

This is double the population in 1969.

The review highlights the "need to address the universal rights of men, women and young people world-wide as endorsed by over 180 governments at the International Conference on Population and Development".

The ICPD, set up by the United Nations, met in Cairo in 1994. It emphasised human rights and a responsible approach to using the world's resources.

One of the principles it agreed was that: "Population-related goals and policies are integral parts of cultural, economic and social development, the principal aim of which is to improve the quality of life of all people."

Access to information

Sir Charles Morrison, chairman of Population Concern, said: "The emphasis placed by the ICPD on ensuring access to reproductive health services, on expanding opportunities . . . is well placed and immensely important."

The charity said there are two billion people under the age of 20, and more young women aged 15 to 19 than ever before.

This means that the number of people in their reproductive years will continue to grow for several decades, along with the number of births, it said.

The charity called on governments and non-governmental bodies to take an "holistic approach".

Wendy Thomas, its chief executive, said: "Young men today comprise half of the largest generation in history to enter adulthood.

"In the developing world the majority of young, unmarried people, especially young women, are not sexually active.

"Nonetheless, millions of young men are sexually active before marriage. These young men need access to information and services about reproductive health care including contraception."

In February the Hague Forum will meet to review progress ICPD in 1994.

See also:

27 Nov 98 | International
08 Jan 99 | Health
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