UNITED NATIONS, New York, 21 July 2017—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is appealing for $308 million to deliver life-saving work in 2017 to support about 38 million people, including more than 5.6 million pregnant women across 56 countries in conflict or natural disasters. The funds will provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, as well as programmes to address gender-based violence in countries such as Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Nigeria and Yemen.
Of the $308 million sought, UNFPA has so far received $71 million, which is only 23 per cent of what is needed to meet the special needs of women, girls and young people. UNFPA’s appeal is part of a larger global fundraising effort initiated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with an appeal for $23.5 billion.
Sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian crises were also underscored at the recent London Family Planning Summit, held on World Population Day, 11 July. The Summit galvanized further support for UNFPA’s mandate, including for humanitarian work, to end maternal deaths, unmet demand for family planning, as well violence against women and harmful practices.
“Every day, in countries around the world, UNFPA and its partners are working to meet the reproductive health needs of women, adolescent girls and young people in emergencies, responding to their priorities and ensuring their participation,” said Acting UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem. “But so much more needs to be done. With rising needs, we need rising support.”
“The death of more than 500 women every day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth in countries affected by humanitarian crisis and fragility, and persistent high levels of gender-based violence, testify to the need for stronger collective action,” added Dr. Kanem.
During crises, one in five women of childbearing age is likely to be pregnant. And some 60 per cent of maternal deaths occur in countries affected by humanitarian crises and fragile contexts.
“Services for sexual and reproductive health to prevent and respond to gender-based violence can mean the difference between life and death, yet these services are often neglected,” said Dr. Kanem. “This neglect results in untold suffering and shame, and limits prospects for a more just and stable future.”
UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
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