United Nations Population Fund
|Headquarters||New York City, USA|
|Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin|
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN organization that works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
The work of the UNFPA involves promotion of the right of every woman, man and young person to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity, based on the premise that all human beings are entitled to equal rights and protections. The Fund focuses on women and young people because these are groups whose ability to exercise their right to sexual and reproductive health is often compromised.
UNFPA adopts a human rights-based approach throughout its work. This entails educating individuals and communities about their human rights, so that they can then demand the respect and basic services they are entitled to. This approach also involves empowering governments to fulfil these rights. The Fund achieves that by working within local cultural complexities because many of the issues UNFPA deals with – including sexual and reproductive health and rights – are sensitive, sometimes taboo, subjects.
UNFPA amplifies its impact by empowering governments to deliver on their promises to women and young people. It accomplishes this by providing data and analysis to show where countries are falling short, by mobilizing resources and expertise, by advocating directly with government officials or in public forums and through training and monitoring.
UNFPA further expands the scope of its work by partnering with civil society, academic institutions and the private sector. It also works regularly with parliamentarians to review progress in implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, and participates in and administers a number of pooled funding mechanisms at country, regional and global level.
The UNFPA supports programs in 159 countries, territories and areas spread across four geographic regions: Arab States and Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Around three quarters of the staff work in the field. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee. 
- 1 Origins
- 2 Role
- 3 Leadership
- 4 Goodwill Ambassadors
- 5 Areas of work
- 6 Programme of Action
- 7 Approach to health care
- 8 UNFPA Programmes
- 8.1 Population and development strategies
- 8.2 Sexual and reproductive health
- 8.3 Gender equality and women’s empowerment
- 8.4 Cross-Cutting Concerns
- 8.5 Culturally sensitive, human rights-based approaches
- 8.6 Supporting adolescents and youth
- 8.7 Assisting in emergencies
- 8.8 Campaign to End Fistula
- 8.9 Ending Female Genital Mutilation
- 9 Relations with the US government
- 10 Other UN population agencies and entities
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
UNFPA began operations in 1969 as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (the name was changed in 1987) under the administration of United Nations Development Programme. In 1971 it was placed under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly.
Its stated mission is to promote the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of "health and equal opportunity." UNFPA helps ensure that the reproductive health and the rights of women and young people remain at the very center of development. It helps countries use population data to assess and anticipate needs, and to monitor progress and gaps in delivering on our promises. It provides technical guidance, training and support to empower its partners in the field.
UNFPA also supports countries in using population data for policies and programs to "reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect."
How UNFPA Works
UNFPA works in partnership with governments, along with other United Nations agencies, communities, NGOs, foundations and the private sector to raise awareness and mobilize the support and resources needed to achieve its mission. The Fund is fully committed to a more effective, coherent and better coordinated United Nations system that ‘delivers as one’, which is the essence of the ongoing United Nations reform process.
Since 2007, UNFPA has decentralized its operations as a way to become a more field-centred, efficient and strategic partner to the countries it serves. Toward this end, it established five regional and six sub-regional offices in the field that help coordinate work in 159 countries, territories and other areas through a network of 112 country offices. In 2013, all UNFPA offices combined had a total of 2,471 regular staff.
150 countries, areas and territories through a network of 129 country offices.
UNFPA’s income in 2009 totaled $783.1 million, including $469.4 million in voluntary contributions from governments and private donors.
Executive Directors and Under-Secretaries General of the UN
2011–present Dr Babatunde Osotimehin (Nigeria)
2000–2010 Ms Thoraya Ahmed Obaid (Saudi Arabia)
1987–2000 Dr Nafis Sadik (Pakistan)
1969–87 Mr Rafael M. Salas (Philippines)
The Fund's Patron is Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Its goodwill ambassadors are:
Areas of work
UNFPA is the world's largest multilateral source of funding for population and reproductive health . The Fund works with governments and non-governmental organizations in 159 countries with the support of the international community, supporting programs that help women, men and young people:
- voluntarily plan and have the number of children they desire and to avoid unwanted pregnancies
- undergo safe pregnancy and childbirth
- avoid spreading sexually transmitted infections
- decrease violence against women
- increase the equality of women
According to UNFPA, these elements promote the right of "reproductive health", that is physical, mental, and social health in matters related to reproduction and the reproductive system.
The Fund raises awareness of and supports efforts to meet these needs in developing countries, advocates close attention to population concerns, and helps developing nations formulate policies and strategies in support of sustainable development.
Programme of Action
UNFPA's work is guided by the Program of Action adopted by 179 governments at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. The conference agreed that meeting people's needs for education and health, including reproductive health, is a prerequisite of sustainable development.
The main goals of the Program of Action are:
- Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
- Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015
- Reducing maternal mortality by seventy-five percent by 2015
- Reducing infant mortality
- Increasing life expectancy
These goals were refined in 1999. One of the most important additions concerned HIV:
- HIV infection rates in persons 15–24 years of age should be reduced by 25 percent in the most affected countries by 2005 and by 25 percent globally by 2010.
Approach to health care
The Fund promotes a holistic approach to reproductive health care that includes access to a range of safe and affordable contraceptive methods and to sensitive counseling; prenatal care, attended deliveries, emergency obstetric care and post-natal care; and prevention of sexually transmitted infections by promoting safer sexual behavior.
UNFPA looks to improve the lives and expand the choices of individuals and couples because, according to UNFPA, in time the reproductive choices, multiplied across communities and countries, affect population construction and trends.
The work of the agency revolves around improving reproductive health, making motherhood safer, supporting adolescence and youth, preventing HIV and AIDS, promoting gender equality, protecting human rights, and securing reproductive health supplies; throughout all this they use a culturally sensitive approach. Their assistance is in developing countries which receive help in accordance with their priorities for development.
UNFPA works in partnership with governments, as well as with other agencies and civil society broadly, to advance its mission. Two frameworks serve to focus its efforts: The Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development and the Millennium Development Goals, which the international development community committed itself to six years later.
Population and development strategies
The fact that world population has exceeded 7 billion people (up from 2.5 billion in 1950), with almost all of the growth occurring in the cities of less developed countries, has profound implications for the development process. Governments need to be able to gather adequate information about population dynamics and trends in order to create and manage sound policies and generate the political will to appropriately address both current and future needs. UNFPA assists countries in every aspect of this task, from developing capacity in data collection and analysis to participating in national, regional and global policy dialogue. Key areas of focus include migration, ageing, climate change and urbanization.
Sexual and reproductive health
Working with a wide range of partners, UNFPA assists governments in delivering sexual and reproductive health care throughout the lifecycle of women. Areas of assistance include:
- Voluntary family planning
- Antenatal, safe delivery and post-natal care
- Prevention and appropriate treatment of infertility
- Prevention of abortion and management of its consequences
- Treatment of reproductive tract infections
- Prevention, care and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
- Information, education and counselling, as appropriate, on human sexuality and reproductive health;
Working on eradicating fistula.Improving maternal health, MDG5, is a key priority for UNFPA and the goal which lags farthest behind. Key initiatives in this area include the Maternal Health Thematic Fund, the Campaign to End Fistula and numerous partnerships. The importance of universal access to reproductive health is underscored by the fact that it was added as an MDG target by the international community in 2005.
Access to reproductive health care also demands what UNFPA calls reproductive health commodity security, the ability for all individuals to obtain and use affordable, quality reproductive health supplies of their choice whenever they need them. This is the aim of the Global Programme on Reproductive Health Commodity Security, which UNFPA spearheads.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment
The importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment to development progress is underscored by the fact that this was selected as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Beyond being a goal in itself, gender equality is also a driver for all the MDGs, and is intimately linked and specifically connected to goals to improve maternal and newborn health and reduce the spread of HIV.
UNFPA’s gender framework incorporates four strategic linkages that address critical factors underlying inequalities and rights violations: girls’ education, women’s economic empowerment, women’s political participation and the balancing of reproductive and productive roles.
The Fund brings gender issues to wider attention, and promotes legal and policy reforms and gender-sensitive data collection. It works to end gender-based violence, including traditional practices that harm women, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. It also raises awareness of women’s specific strengths, vulnerabilities and needs in relation to a variety of issues, such as humanitarian emergencies, climate change and migration. UNFPA also recognizes the rights, perspectives and influence of men and boys, and seeks to involve them in efforts to promote gender equality and improve reproductive health. With this in mind the UN AIDS Agenda for Accelerated Country Action on Women, Girls, Gender Equality and HIV was developed.
Promoting and protecting fundamental human rights, including reproductive rights, are at the core of all UNFPA programming. This is one of the reasons the Fund places priority on reaching those in the greatest need, whether because of poverty, marginalization, emergencies, age, sex, ethnicity or health status.
Culturally sensitive, human rights-based approaches
A strong emphasis on the human rights, including reproductive rights, of individual women and men underpins all of UNFPA’s work and its way of working.
Promoting and protecting these rights requires considerable cultural fluency because UNFPA works in some of the most sensitive and intimate spheres of human existence, including sexuality, gender relations and population issues. Since 2002, UNFPA has emphasized the integration of culturally sensitive approaches into programming efforts. Toward this end, it has worked closely within communities and with local agents of change, including religious leaders and faith-based organizations.
Supporting adolescents and youth
In 2015, more than half of the world population was under the age of 30. UNFPA promotes and protects the rights of this important generation of young people, and works towards a world in which girls and boys have optimal opportunities to develop their full potential, to freely express themselves and have their views respected, and to live free of poverty, discrimination and violence.
UNFPA’s ' four keys' to opening up opportunities for young people include incorporating youth issues into national development and poverty reduction strategies; expanding access to gender-sensitive sexual and reproductive health education that encourages the development of life skills; promoting a core package of health services and commodities for young people; and encouraging youth leadership and participation.UNFPA also advocates governments to capitalize on their young people by investing in their health, employment, and productivity so that they can accelerate the rise in productive employment and GDP per capita. If successful, this is called harnessing a “demographic dividend” for economic development.
Assisting in emergencies
In times of upheaval, pregnancy-related deaths and sexual violence soar. Reproductive health and obstetric services often become unavailable. Young people become more vulnerable to HIV infection and sexual exploitation. Within the coordinated, inter-agency response to disasters, UNFPA moves quickly when emergency strikes. The Fund takes the lead in providing supplies and services to protect reproductive health, with an emphasis on the special needs and vulnerabilities of women and young people.
UNFPA supports various data collection activities, including censuses to provide detailed information for planning and rapid health assessments to allow for appropriate, effective and efficient relief. It also assists stricken communities as they move beyond the acute crisis and enter the reconstruction phase.
- Safe birth. Even here.
- Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Toolkit for Humanitarian Settings
- Women are the Fabric: Reproductive Health for Communities in Crisis
Campaign to End Fistula
- This UNFPA-led global campaign works to prevent obstetric fistula, a devastating and socially isolating injury of childbirth, to treat women who live with the condition and help those who have been treated to return to their communities. The campaign works in more than 40 countries in Africa, the Arab States and South Asia.
Ending Female Genital Mutilation
- UNFPA has worked for many years to end the practice of female genital mutilation, the partial or total removal of external female genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons. It is estimated that the practice undermines the health and well-being of some 3 million girls each year, and that more than 130 million girls and women in the world today have undergone some form of FGM. FGM is concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Arab States. In 2007, UNFPA in partnership with UNICEF, launched a $44-million program to reduce the practice by 40 per cent in 16 countries by 2015 and to end it within a generation
Relations with the US government
UNFPA has been accused by different groups of providing support for government programs which have promoted forced-abortions and coercive sterilizations. Controversies regarding these allegations have resulted in a sometimes shaky relationship between the organization and the United States government, with three presidential administrations, that of Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush, withholding funding from the UNFPA.
UNFPA provided aid to Peru's population control program in the mid-to-late '90s. When it was discovered the Peruvian program had been engaged in carrying out coercive sterilizations, UNFPA called for reforms and protocols to protect the rights of women seeking assistance. UNFPA was not found directly involved in the scandal, but continued work with the family planning program after the abuses had become public to end the abuses and reform laws and practices.
From 2002 through 2008, the Bush Administration denied funding to UNFPA that had already been allocated by the US Congress, partly on the grounds that the UNFPA supported Chinese government programs which include forced abortions and coercive sterilizations. In a letter from the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns to Congress, the administration said it had determined that UNFPA’s support for China’s population program “facilitates (its) government’s coercive abortion program”, thus violating the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which bans the use of United States aid to finance organizations that support or take part in managing a program of coercive abortion of sterilization.
UNFPA says it "does not provide support for abortion services". Its charter includes a strong statement condemning coercion. UNFPA's connection to China's administration of forced abortions was disputed by investigations carried out by various US, UK, and UN teams sent to examine UNFPA activities in China. Specifically, a three-person U.S State Department fact-finding team was sent on a two-week tour throughout China. It wrote in a report to the State Department that it found "no evidence that UNFPA has supported or participated in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China," as has been charged by critics.
However, according to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, the UNFPA contributed vehicles and computers to the Chinese to carry out their population control policies. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), criticized the State Department investigation, saying the investigators were shown "Potemkin Villages" where residents had been intimidated into lying about the family-planning program. Dr. Nafis Sadik, former director of UNFPA said her agency had been pivotal in reversing China's coercive population control methods, but a 2005 report by Amnesty International and a separate report by the United States State Department found that coercive techniques were still regularly employed by the Chinese, casting doubt upon Sadik's statements.
A 2001 study conducted by the pro-life Population Research Institute (PRI) claimed that the UNFPA shared an office with the Chinese family planning officials who were carrying out forced abortions. "We located the family planning offices, and in that family planning office, we located the UNFPA office, and we confirmed from family planning officials there that there is no distinction between what the UNFPA does and what the Chinese Family Planning Office does," said Scott Weinberg, a spokesman for PRI. President Bush denied funding to the UNFPA. Over the course of the Bush Administration, a total of $244 million in Congressionally-approved funding was blocked by the Executive Branch.
In response, the EU decided to fill the gap left behind by the US under the Sandbaek report. According to its Annual Report for 2008, the UNFPA received its funding mainly from European Governments: Of the total income of M845.3 M, $118 was donated by the Netherlands, $67 M by Sweden, $62 M by Norway, $54 M by Denmark, $53 M by the UK, $52 M by Spain, $19 M by Luxembourg. The European Commission donated further $36 M. The most important non-European donor State was Japan ($36 M). The number of donors exceeded 180 in one year.
In America, nonprofit organizations like Friends of UNFPA worked to compensate for the loss of United States federal funding by raising private donations. In January 2009 President Barack Obama restored US funding to UNFPA, saying in a public statement that he would "look forward to working with Congress to restore US financial support for the UN Population Fund. By resuming funding to UNFPA, the US will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries." 
Other UN population agencies and entities
Entities with competencies about population in the United Nations :
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[UNFPA in the UN system.] Retrieved 28 February 2013.