Today is World Population Day, and in recognition the United Nations Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner released the following statement.

“From the beginning, the UN Foundation has believed in the tremendous potential of investing in adolescent girls. Today, there are more than 500 million girls in developing countries, and these girls have the opportunity to shape our future, if we help give them the opportunities to shape their own lives. These girls face tremendous challenges – they are often taken out of school early, married at a very young age, vulnerable to violence, and with limited access to quality reproductive health care, often become pregnant before their bodies are ready. As a result, pregnancy is the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 in developing countries.

“The consequences of adolescent pregnancy reverberate throughout a girl’s life, not only impacting her, but her children and the generations that follow. But we can change this: access to reproductive health care (Millennium Development Goal 5), including comprehensive sexual education and voluntary family planning, is a cost-effective solution that empowers girls to choose their path in life. When girls are given the information, tools and services they need to plan their families, they are better able to stay in school and pursue employment, lifting themselves out of poverty. This leads to healthier and stronger families, more prosperous and sustainable communities, and more peaceful and secure nations. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s a smart investment.

“This World Population Day, the UN Foundation, in support of the United Nations and our partners, is committed to helping every girl reach her full potential. To do so, the international community must redouble efforts to invest in girls’ education, health and welfare, and ensure that every girl has the information and services she needs to plan her family and her future. Our future depends on it.”

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