The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the world's largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries. Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided more than $4.5 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries.

One fourth of the world's population assistance from donor nations to developing countries is channeled through UNFPA

Dr. Nafis Sadik was appointed the Executive Director of UNFPA in 1987 with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. She is one of the six women holding similar ranks in the United Nations System.  Dr.  Sadik plans to retire at the end of this year, and Ms.  Thoraya A.  Obaid of Saudi Arabia has been appointed as the next UNFPA Executive Director.

Objectives of UNFPA

  • To assist developing countries in providing quality reproductive health and family planning services on the basis of individual choice, and in formulating population policies that support sustainable development.

  • To advance the strategy endorsed by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and reviewed by a special session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1999(ICPD+5). The strategy focuses on meeting the needs of individual women and men rather than achieving demographic targets. Key to this approach is empowering women and providing them with more choices through expanded access to education, health services and employment opportunities.

  • To promote cooperation and coordination among United Nation organizations, bilateral agencies, governments, non governmental organizations (NGOS) and the private sector in addressing issues of population and development, reproductive health gender equality and women's empowerment.

UNFPA has three main programme areas:

  1. Reproductive Health including Family Planning and Sexual Health
    UNFPA supports the provision of Reproductive health care including wider choice of family planning methods and information. Reproductive health care includes: family planning; safe motherhood; counseling and prevention of infertility; preventing and treating reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDs; and dealing with the health consequences of unsafe abortion.

  2. Population and Development Strategy
    UNFPA helps countries formulate implement and evaluate comprehensive population policies as a central part of sustainable development strategies. This includes support of data collection, and analysis, and research.

  3. Advice
    UNFPA is an advocate for ICPD and ICPD+5 goals which include: reproductive health and rights; improvement of the status of women; longer life expectancy; lower infant and maternal mortality; closing the gender gap in education; strengthen the national capacity to formulate and implement population and development strategies; and increasing awareness and resources for population and development.

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