SOS for teenage girls
The focus will be on the risks facing teenage girls as Jamaica marks World Population Day (WPD) tomorrow.
This year, WPD, which is observed globally, will be used to raise awareness of important population and development issues under the theme, 'Investing in teenage girls'.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has noted that teenage girls continue to face numerous obstacles to a successful transition into adulthood.
According to the UNFPA, poverty, sexual abuse and violence, discrimination and sexual and reproductive health concerns, including teenage pregnancy, maternal mortality and HIV and STIs, limit girls' dreams for the future and reduce the contributions they could make to their communities and societies.
Age of opportunity
"Notwithstanding these difficulties and vulnerabilities, adolescence is the age of opportunity and this reality can be changed.
"Special investments are required for teenage girls to live up to their full potential and attain their dreams. By investing in a young adolescent girl's education and health, and reducing the risk of early pregnancy, and all forms of discrimination and abuse, she has greater opportunities to stay in school, find a path out of poverty, build a better future, lead a healthier life and become an asset to her family, community and society," said the UNFPA.
In recognition of this, the UNFPA, in collaboration with the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the National Family Planning Board-Sexual Health Authority and other national stakeholders, will be commemorating WPD 2016 in Morant Bay, St Thomas, under the expanded theme, 'Investing in teenage girls: Engaging men and boys'.
The purpose of the event is to underscore the importance of investing in teenage girls as a prerequisite for achieving Vision 2030 Jamaica and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"Investments in girls will ensure that we collectively build a world in which they face no limit to their aspirations and future," said the UNFPA.