YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia has joined in the largely symbolic celebration of the birth of the world’s seven billionth person expected by the United Nations on Monday.
A baby boy born into the Voskanian family in the northern Armenian town of Artik 20 minutes past midnight on Monday was declared by the Armenia office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to be the seven billionth living person on Earth.
Thousands of babies are born around the world every hour, and it is hardly possible to precisely tell which of the newborns gets the honor of taking the human race to that landmark. Therefore, the United Nations has apparently decided to go without officially naming anyone to be that child, with every country picking its own honoree.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), UNFPA Armenia Country Office Executive Representative Garik Hayrapetian said the estimation of the world population is based on “a very serious scientific approach.” Still, he added: “Five children are born every second, and I don’t think it is possible to tell exactly which child is born to be the seventh billion.”
The baby in Artik, who was named Vahram, was born two weeks prematurely. He weighs 2.9 kilograms (or about 6 pounds and 6 ounces) and is now under the supervision of local doctors. Vahram’s parents are residents of the nearby village of Pemzashen.
His father, Garik Voskanian, was not in town to celebrate the occasion with his family. Like many in this economically depressed area he had gone to Russia as a migrant worker. His close relatives say, however, he will come back soon to see his son.
The UN office undertook to provide Vahram with all essential items in the postnatal period, while the maternity hospital in Artik issued a special certificate to the little one and the town’s mayor gave him a letter of gratitude.
The maternal hospital in Artik was chosen for the symbolic celebration as an establishment that by its level of equipment and the number of recorded births yields to other similar centers in Armenia. The UN office on Monday donated a mobile echoscope to the center.
The UN estimates that the number of living persons on the planet will reach eight billion in 2025, while the world population is expected to hit the 10-billion mark in 2083.