"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends, including population growth, ageing, migration and urbanization," wrote Guterres, IRNA reported.
He added that the world’s population continues to increase with an uneven pattern and therefore, for many of the world’s least developed countries, the challenges to sustainable development are compounded by rapid population growth as well as vulnerability to climate change.
Other countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations, which entails providing adequate social protection. The world continues to urbanize – 68% of the world population will live in cities in 2050; therefore, "sustainable development and climate change will increasingly depend on the successful management of urban growth".
"Twenty-five years ago, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), world leaders first spelt out the links between population, development and human rights, including reproductive rights. They also recognized that promoting gender equality is both the right thing to do and one of the most reliable pathways to sustainable development and improved well-being for all."
He added that despite progress in lowering maternal mortality and unintended pregnancies, many challenges still remain unsolved.
Women’s rights and health services, deaths due to pregnancy among girls aged 15 to 19, and gender-based violence are still challenging, he wrote.
Encouraging Member States of the Cairo Conference to participate in the 25th anniversary of the event at the highest, he said, "Carrying forward the vision of the ICPD will unlock opportunities for those left behind and help pave the way for sustainable, equitable and inclusive development for all."