State of World Population 2016 Launch: How our future depends on a girl at this decisive age

SWD_unct_2016 State of World Population Launch 210 year old Temawelase Mazibuko receives SWOP 2016 poster from HRH Prince Hlangesemphi, Minster of Economic Planning & Development. ©UNFPA Swaziland/2016


“How our future depends on a girl at this decisive age”, the theme of the State of World Population 2016 (SWOP 2016) report was officially launched by the Honourable Minister of Economic Planning and Development HRH Prince Hlangusemphi on the 7th December, 2016, at an event attended by Government officials, civil society partners, UN agencies, development partners and the media.

United Nations Country Team members present at the event were the UN Resident Coordinator, Israel Dessalegne; WHO Representative, Dr. Tigest Ketsela Mengestu; UNICEF Representative, Rachel Odede and UNAIDS Country Director, Tim Rwabuhemba.

The State of World Population report is a global report produced annually by UNFPA to bring to the fore priority issues affecting the structure and dynamics of the global population with the aim of raising awareness, stimulating advocacy and action around these issues. The 10-year-old girl is the focus of the State of World Population 2016. The report explores how the 60 million 10-year-old girls in the world today represent both a challenge and an opportunity for the global community.

The report makes an intrinsic link of what the world will look like in 15 years when the lifespan of the Sustainable Development Goals comes to an end in 2030, and the life trajectory of a 10-year-old during that period. The report suggests that what the world will look like in 2030, largely depends on what we do to ignite the potential of the 10-year-old girl today.

Expressing his sentiment, HRH Prince Hlangusemphi commented that Temawelase Mazibuko, a Swazi 10-year-old girl featured in the SWOP 2016, represented “our own yardstick and will mirror our success and failures in the country’s 15 year journey towards 2030.” He further noted that Temawelase will be the “real test and testimony of how Swaziland is delivering for the adolescent girl on key development issues, such as education, health (including reproductive health), employment, and entrepreneurship.”

Speaking at the launch, UNFPA Representative, Sharareh Amirkhalili, described the State of World 2016 as particularly exciting for Swaziland, for the reason that it features the life of a Swazi girl, Temawelase. She described her “as a girl with a clear vision for her future” who at 25 years of age envisions herself practicing her career of choice as a financially independent woman.

Quoting from the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Bababatunde Osotimehin’s statement on the global launch of the SWOP 2016, Amirkhalili reiterated that “when a girl enjoys her rights, is able to able to stay in school, stay healthy and is protected from child marriage and early pregnancy, she has a better chance of realizing her full potential by the time she reaches adulthood.”