World Population Day 2019 marked in Belgrade

Photograph: from NGO Atina's archive, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Ms Brankica Janković and Oluwakemi Oyewole Kimi from NGO Atina

World Population Day 2019 marked in Belgrade​

On the occasion of the World Population Day, July 10, on the plateau in front of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, the Council of Europe's project "Living Library" was presented, implemented in Serbia by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality. Oluwakemi Oyewole Kimi, an activist for women's and human rights dedicated to improving the position of women around the world, also took part in this event. She is originally from Nigeria, and currently residing in Serbia, where she is active in the Advocacy Youth Group supported by the feminist organization Atina, with the aim of encouraging independence, empowerment, and full social inclusion of women and girls. Kimi is actively involved in building the capacities of professionals in Serbia working within civil society organizations and institutions engaged in migration issues, and also in improving the position of women in migration, as well as promoting anti-discrimination standards and policies to create a framework for coping with the root causes of gender-based violence. She is involved in providing support to refugee and migrant girls and women, especially those suffering various forms of violence.

"Serbia is the third country in Europe in terms of demographic age, and the challenge of aging is one of the most complex ones that the state faces. This year, after a long period, we have more babies born, which is a reason for joy, but not for optimism. The issue has been recognized and the state has adopted a set of population policy measures. However, they should not be focused on financial support alone, which is very important but not crucial. It is not enough to work on increasing the number of children, but on better migration management as well. Only through a good system of education, social and health care, better economy and stability with strong institutions and equal chances can the preconditions be created for young people to want to stay in Serbia - said the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Janković, and added that population policy measures do not give results immediately, but only in two to three decades.

The event was also attended by hundreds of citizens of our beautiful Belgrade, and the "living library" met with an excelent response from everyone present. "Living Library" is a project in which books are actually living people, carefully selected from social groups we often judge on the basis of deeply ingrained prejudices and negative stereotypes. The goal is for as many people as possible to hear first-hand authentic life stories of those who are different. Breaking negative stereotypes and prejudices is a basic condition for reducing discrimination, which ultimately leads to the creation of conditions for a better quality of life, better understanding, and mutual respect.

World Population Day, as well as the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, were marked together with the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, the United Nations Population Fund in Serbia, as well as the Cabinet of the Minister without Portfolio responsible for Demography and Population Policy. The accompanying activity of the event was painting of the canvas with messages that will be "sent to the world" via social networks, as a symbolic connection of the citizens of Serbia with other parts of the planet.