Joyful day of seventh billion

UN initiative proclaims October 31st the day on which the Earth’s seven billionth resident is born

By Irina Borovikova

It’s difficult to determine in which country the baby — long-awaited — has been born, but the UN decided not to choose a specific person for the honour, as they did in 1999, when Adnan Mevic from Bosnia was proclaimed the Earth’s six billionth person. Of course, Russians, Philippians and Hindus are all keen to claim the baby as their own. However, as two or three babies are born worldwide every second, it’s actually impossible to give a real answer.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, stresses that the jubilee gives us a chance to assess our progress and to meet the future with hope and determination, facing our problems with a positive outlook. Without dispute, population growth is especially concerning in countries where poverty and instability reign, creating a challenge for humanity.

Can our world ever achieve peace? It’s a huge question. Nevertheless, our problems never detract from the joy of a new arrival, in whichever corner of the world it occurs. Every country is sure to celebrate in its own way. Belarus has chosen to honour all who have become mothers on October 31st.

Young Natalia Borisevich received congratulations from the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Antonius Broek, from Belarus’ First Deputy Healthcare Minister, Igor Pinevich, and from the Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Protection, Dmitry Starovoitov. She has been awarded a certificate and gifts: everything needed to care for a baby. She had no idea that the birth would attract so much attention. Stanislav — a strong, apple-cheeked boy weighing 3.62kg — was born around 11am, immediately becoming a ‘star’.

While the baby snuffled quietly in his cot, his mother chatted to journalists. She delivered at one of Belarus’ top maternity departments: the Republican Mother and Child Scientific and Practical Centre. She feels well, having been cared for by qualified and benevolent doctors. “This is our second child and we’re now thinking about a third baby!” she smiled, hardly able to take her eyes off the new family member.

Tatiana Shtil, who gave birth to Albert, also received congratulations, as did Yelena Papkovskaya, with her daughter Alisa. Around 300 children are to receive congratulation certificates countrywide.

Sergey Shcherbov, the head of a research group studying population dynamics and forecasting, at the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Vienna Demography Institute, tells us:

When will the Earth’s eight or nine billionth person be born? Any demographic forecast will show that no one knows for sure. In my opinion, the arrival of the seven billionth human is symbolic. At present, no single demographer is exactly aware of the number of people living on the planet.

Jubilee babies have been said to be born in the Balkans until now, with the Earth’s five billionth resident appearing in Zagreb in 1987. In 1999, in Sarajevo, the planet’s six billionth person was born. UN experts believe that, by 2050, there will be 9.3 billion people on the Earth while their number will exceed ten billion by the end of the century.

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