VIENTIANE, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) collaborated with the Lao government to celebrate the Day of Seven Billion on Monday by offering gifts to mothers and babies born at Mahosot Hospital in Laos' capital of Vientiane on the important date.
Diego De La Rosa, the Advocacy and Communication Officer of UNFPA to Laos, told Xinhua that gift baskets containing health information packages and special birth certificates were given to 15 babies who were born at around 12 a.m. on Monday to symbolically represent the seven billionth person in the world.
Della Sherratt, the UNFPA Officer in Charge, said a world of seven billion is both a challenge and an opportunity, explaining that in Laos, people are living longer, healthier lives, but reducing inequities and finding ways to ensure the well-being of people alive today and the generations that follow will require the commitment and planning of today's leaders.
Of the world's seven billion, 1.8 billion are young people between the ages of 10 and 24, while in Laos, 60 percent of the population is under 25 years old.
Somchit Inthamith, Lao Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, explained that Laos' human resources include a large youth and working age population who are and will be the main power to drive national development. However, Laos' prosperity will come only if the young generation, both women and men, are healthy, educated, skilled and employed.
"Laos' demographic golden opportunity has started and will last for at least 30 years," he said.
The UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. It supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.