(AGI) Rome, Nov 18 - There are now 7.3 billion of people onthis planet and nearly 1.8 billion, including 600 milliongirls, are aged between 10 and 24, according to a report onpopulation released on Monday by the United Nations PopulationFund (UNFPA). Never before have so many young people livedtogether, and the UNFPA expects their number to rise to twobillion by 2050. In developing countries, with the youngestpopulation, one out of three adolescents is married before theage of 18, threatening their health, education and futureprospects. The report, presented in Italy by the Association ofWomen for Development (AIDOS), underlines that marrying earlyoften leads to early pregnancies with all connected problems.Up to half of sexual assaults are committed against girls belowthe age of 16 and young girls and women are more likely tosuffer genital mutilation, and to be infected with the HIVvirus and other sexually transmitted diseases. According to theUN agency, the large population of young people should be seenas an opportunity. With the right policies and investments inhuman capital, countries can empower young people to driveeconomic and social development, boost per-capita incomes andavoid the problems mentioned above. Without such policies, anenormous potential is ignored, the report states. To wipe outpoverty and ensure sustainable development, the NFPA warns, therights of young people must be recognised and protected. . .