Adolescent pregnancy on World Population Day

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has announced that the theme of World Population Day 2013 - observed on July 11th - will be adolescent pregnancy.

In a statement, the organisation said that complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death worldwide for 15 to 19-year-olds, especially in the developing world.

Approximately 16 million girls in the age group give birth every year.

"Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy requires commitment from nations, communities and individuals in both developed and developing countries to invest in adolescent girls," the UNFPA claimed.

It urged world governments to ensure that adolescents are provided with "age-appropriate, comprehensive" sex education and have access to high-quality reproductive health services.

The organisation noted that of the 600 million young girls in the world, some 500 million live in developing countries, where factors like poverty, gender inequality and child marriage affect their susceptibility to maternal complications.