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World Population Day

Putting women’s health and empowerment at the center of development

Kristalina Georgieva's picture
Registered nurses look after newborns at a maternity hospital in Freetown Sierra Leone. © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
Registered nurses look after newborns at a maternity hospital in Freetown Sierra Leone. © Dominic Chavez/World Bank


Last week on World Population Day, I was thinking of the joy of children and the right of women to decide when to have them. It matters to women, but it matters to society as a whole. There can be no sustainable development without women’s empowerment, and there can be no women’s empowerment without access to comprehensive maternal and reproductive health services. Family planning is part of them.

World Population Day 2017: What can we learn from Bangladesh?

Maitreyi Bordia Das's picture
Mom and daughter at a community health center outside Dhaka,
Bangladesh. Photo: Rama George-Alleyne / World Bank

Today marks World Population Day and this year’s theme is “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations”. It is an opportune moment to reflect and continue the conversation on demographic trends that I started through my blog on fertility decline last month.

Population and development: An unfinished agenda

Abdo S. Yazbeck's picture
Health Care Workers
Photo by Dominic Chavez/ World Bank

Forty-five years ago, the World Bank began a major shift in its approach to development.  Prior to the 1970s, the Bank’s overwhelming focus was on infrastructure projects, consistent with our origins as an agency focused on post World War II reconstruction.  The later shift came with recognition that sustained economic development had a lot to do with human development, not just physical development, which led to our first projects on population.   In the early years, these focused  on the Caribbean, North Africa and South and East Asia, and were underpinned by recognition that population dynamics have direct impact on poverty, health, human capital and economic growth.