Natalia Kanem

Natalia Kanem is Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

Mother and baby attend health fair in Ahua Village, Côte d’Ivoire.

Population policies today are about people, not numbers, and about the rights of individuals and couples to freely decide whether, when or how often to have children. But it has not always been this way.

Shortly after the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in 2015, we spoke to 10 ten-year-old girls from around the globe, asking them what their one wish was. Their answers affirmed what the American poet Maya Angelou once wrote: “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”