Our planet is home to 6.1 billion people. Our paths may never cross,
but we are on a common journey. We all want to lead healthy and satisfying
lives and have hope for the future. But chronic poverty and ill health,
widespread discrimination, armed conflict and, increasingly, HIV/AIDS,
take a heavy toll. Half of all people live on less than $2 a day. Poor
people are much more likely to fall sick and live shorter lives.
Discrimination against women and girls persists, stunting both individual
and national growth. Armed conflict, particularly within countries,
continues to rob people of peace and vital services, especially health and
education. And now AIDS is destroying decades of progress in many
countries, depleting the resources of families and countries alike.
UNFPA's purpose is to help countries solve population problems and meet
their social and economic goals. UNFPA plays a leadership role in
supporting countries to formulate effective population policies, undertake
national censuses and develop and maintain health information systems. We
work with governments and other partners to develop policies that address
real concerns such as rapid urbanization, HIV/AIDS, poverty, ageing,
environmental protection, migration, gender issues, and reproductive
health. Our research and participation in conferences and seminars helps
advance awareness of key population issues and strategies.
With country offices in 110 nations, UNFPA assists in identifying
priorities, developing and managing population programmes and tracking
progress. UNFPA's monitoring system includes regular data collection,
periodic field visits, yearly project reporting and programme review, and
a mid-term review halfway through the country programme cycle to identify
weak areas and improve effectiveness.
Malian mother carries her child. UNFPA is working
to help reduce infant and child mortality by two
thirds by the year 2010.
Erik Just, Denmark
Our nine technical support offices – in Addis Ababa, Amman, Bangkok,
Bratislava, Dakar, Harare, Mexico City, Kathmandu and Suva – provide
professional advice and services to countries in different regions to help
them carry out their population plans and build local capacity in such
areas as programme evaluation, situation analysis, policy and strategy
development, research, training, monitoring, and development of
information and education materials.
We also support five training institutes that offer a nine-month
diploma in population and development studies. The institutes offer
training to local officials to increase their knowledge and skills and
build local capacity.