Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world. It is also home to a number of long-running conflicts that exact a human toll. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) places women and girls at the center of humanitarian response. Every year the number and frequency of disasters (whether natural or conflict-related) is increasing, with millions of people displaced from their homes. UNFPA works to fulfill the pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind: focusing on the needs of women and girls for a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Globally, 60 per cent of all preventable maternal deaths occur during conflict, natural disasters and displacement. Too often women die because they simply don’t have access to basic reproductive health care. Emergencies also exacerbate gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, when populations are forced to move whether through natural disasters, drought and famine, or conflict.
When health infrastructure and support services break down during emergencies, services to safeguard women’s health and address gender-based violence are as essential as food, water and shelter to save lives. They must be prioritized in humanitarian response.
Advocacy is used to create awareness among humanitarian actors, policymakers and donors; and can be used to influence policy change. Additionally, advocacy is used to ensure funds and other essential resources are available to address sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services during times of crisis. UNFPA focuses on fully integrating these services into preparedness actions, response and recovery plans, which contribute to saving the lives of women when they are most vulnerable.
UNFPA works closely with governments, communities, young people and partners to:
Support preparedness, disaster risk reduction and long-term resilience building, in order to reduce the impact of disasters and conflicts;
Ensure reproductive health needs are met in emergencies through the implementation of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health; and
Promote the safety and wellbeing of women, girls, boys and men by implementing UNFPA’s Minimum Standards for prevention and response to gender-based violence in emergencies.
UNFPA works to uphold the dignity and rights of every person in a crisis. Without the generous support of donors it would be impossible to carry out this critical work. We thank the governments, civil society partners and private sector entities who work with us. And we invite those who wish to support UNFPA including our humanitarian response activities to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org