UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, responds to emergencies in some of the world’s poorest countries, delivering lifesaving sexual and reproductive health supplies and services to protect the rights, safety and dignity of women and young people affected by crises. In 2017, UNFPA reached 16 million people in 58 countries with humanitarian assistance, including 10.8 million people reached with sexual and reproductive health services and 3.9 million people reached with gender-based violence (GBV) services. In the last decade, UNFPA’s humanitarian activities have grown exponentially.
UNFPA Supplies, the thematic fund for family planning, and the UNFPA Humanitarian Action Thematic Fund are the major providers of the reproductive health kits that UNFPA dispatches in emergencies. These Funds also support countries in the preparedness, response, and recovery phases to develop strong supply chains for contraceptives and key maternal health medicines.
The consequences of conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies can be staggering. More than half of maternal deaths occur in fragile and humanitarian settings, where pregnant women are at risk of lifethreatening complications. Disrupted access to family planning services exposes women and adolescent girls to unintended pregnancies in perilous conditions.
The breakdown of protection systems heightens the risk of sexual violence, exploitation and HIV infection. Hygiene needs are often neglected.
UNFPA is a member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Global Health Cluster and often convenes Reproductive Health Working Groups (RHWG) under the Health Cluster. UNFPA is also a member of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises Steering Committee. In 2017, UNFPA assumed sole leadership of the GBV Area of Responsibility (AoR), the global-level forum for coordination on GBV prevention, risk mitigation and response in humanitarian settings that functions as part of the Global Protection Cluster.