The world’s population is set to hit the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31, according to a written statement from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), bringing into focus the challenges of ensuring sustainable development and a fair share of the planet’s resources for a growing global population.
UNEP joined the 7 Billion Actions campaign, an initiative to encourage individuals, governments, businesses and organizations to take positive actions toward creating a more sustainable world with 7 billion inhabitants.
Coordinated by the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), the campaign aims to capitalize on the population milestone by promoting global cooperation on health, environmental sustainability, poverty and inequality, urbanization and other critical issues, according to a UNEP written statement.
Through an interactive website, social networks and mobile phone projects, 7 Billion Actions encourages people and organizations around the world to submit ideas and commit to actions for creating a fairer, more sustainable global society.
“Whether it’s the impact of climate change on food security, or the growing energy needs of a larger, more urbanized global population, meeting the environmental challenges of the 21st Century is vital to achieving sustainable, economic development for 7 billion people,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director in the UNEP statement.
“Investing in ‘green economy’ solutions, such as renewable energy, green technology or eco-tourism, for example, can boost employment, improve livelihoods and make more sustainable use of the planet’s finite resources,” he said.
“UNEP is delighted to join 7 Billion Actions, which showcases the need for coordinated action by all levels of society, just nine months ahead of the Rio+20 conference, where governments will meet to renew their commitments to meeting precisely these kinds of challenges,” he added.
Using an online tool, or by sending a text message from their mobile phone, participants in the 7 Billion Actions campaign can submit a snapshot of their daily lives and highlight the development issues that matter to them most. The diverse actions pledged by participants are then displayed on a visual mosaic on the website.
Other campaign projects include a smartphone application “7 Billion and Me”, film competitions, photo exhibitions and a song “United”, which can be re-interpreted by web users worldwide and re-submitted to the campaign website.