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Ankara, Türkiye - In the scope of World Population Day 2022, in addition to announcing the “Day of 8 billion” for the first time, UNFPA Türkiye took the opportunity to bring attention to the fact that reaching this milestone is both a cause for celebration and a clarion call for humanity to find solutions to the challenges we face.

For this purpose, UNFPA Türkiye organized a joint event with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany on 27 July 2022 at the Embassy premises to discuss what a world of 8 billion means for people and the planet and how countries mitigate potentially negative effects and fully harness the opportunities that come with demographic change while only 8 years remain for SDGs to be achieved.

The joint event was held by the moderation of famous anchor and journalist Afşin Yurdakul with the participation of the distinguished guests from the public sector, embassies, international organizations, academia and the press. UNFPA Türkiye Honorary Ambassador, actress Hazal Kaya also joined the event via live video broadcast.

Moderator of the event, Afşin Yurdakul

The event started with the opening speeches of Jürgen Schulz - Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hassan Mohtashami - UNFPA Türkiye Representative, Rauf Denktaş - Deputy DG of Multilateral Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cem Uraldı - DG of Family and Community Services, Ministry of Family and Social Services.

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Jürgen Schulz making his opening speech.

The messages conveyed in the opening speeches reflected both concerns and opportunities for all. However, the conclusion is common: Focus should be on people, not population, on more and equal access to rights and opportunities for all.

While Schulz said that “When it comes to policy-making for demographic challenges, we have to create a discussion on science and scientific evidence, follow the statistics with care and focus on people, not the population number”, Mohtashami highlighted that  “All numbers of the population count represent an individual. The rights of this individual should be the centerpiece of the discourse. That is why we have to focus on people, equal rights and opportunities for all, instead of the numbers”.

UNFPA Türkiye Representative Hassan Mohtashami making his opening speech.

After the opening speeches, UNFPA Türkiye Honorary Ambassador, actress Hazal Kaya also joined the event via live video broadcast. Kaya mentioned that “We have to learn to live together with empathy and tolerance, so that 8 billion people can become 8 billion beacons of hope.

UNFPA Türkiye Honorary Ambassador Hazal Kaya's online participation at the event 

Last but not the least, a panel discussion was organized for a deeper understanding on the dynamics of demographic resilience with the contribution of  Prof. Dr. Banu Ergöçmen from Hacettepe University, Institute of Population Studies, Mr. Vural Çakır, the President of INGEV and İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu, UN Young Leader for SDGs to reflect different perspectives from academia, civil society and youth & activism. 

Demographic Resilience Panel organized at the end of the event. (From left to right: Afşin Yurdakul, Prof. Dr. Banu Ergöçmen, Vural Çakır, İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu

“Global fertility is projected to decline by 2.1 births per woman by 2050. While the concern of the past was population growth, today’s is low fertility”, Prof. Ergöçmen highlighted. Çakır emphasized the income inequality and said that “while 1% of the world population accesses 82% of the whole generated income in the world, 7 billion 900 million people try to live with the remaining 18%.” From the activist youth point of view, Eskitaşçıoğlu explained “the emotional roller coaster that her generation is going through” and underlined that “the young people are not anxious and frustrated because of the growing population, but because the world leaders are too slow to take action.”

As it was pointed out during the event, every individual deserves to benefit from a more just, prosperous and sustainable world. We need to keep counting, but we have to look beyond the numbers. Because the solution is not more or fewer people, but increasing and equal access to rights and opportunities for all the people. To achieve this, we have to make sure that everyone is counted. Therefore, UNFPA calls on all governments to take action to pursue people-centered population policies with sexual & reproductive health and rights at their core.


Live stream of the event