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UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund

Annual Report 2004

www.unfpa.org

Poverty, Population & Development

Poverty, Population and Development

The goals championed by UNFPA - reproductive health, women's empowerment, equality - can help break the cycle of poverty that traps millions of women and families and blocks the progress of human development. At Cairo, countries agreed that meeting reproductive health needs, particularly of poor families and communities, and stabilizing world population would contribute significantly to development. Slower population growth could also allow communities more time and resources to combat poverty while greatly improving women's health.

The issues of poverty, population and development are so closely linked that progress is mutually reinforcing. Poor women who are unable to access family planning services are unable to time or space their children, and this in turn limits their ability to participate fully in income generating activities. Enabling people to choose their family size will slow the rapid population growth that undermines poverty-reduction efforts in the world's poorest countries. UNFPA endeavours to raise awareness of these links, in particular between poverty and reproductive health, and to support their articulation in national development plans, policies and reports.

For UNFPA and all partners in global development, the challenge is to reduce the severe poverty that afflicts 1.2 billion people today, and at the same time create the conditions that will enable the 1 billion people who will be added to world population by 2015, mostly in the poorest countries, to live decent lives. The Cairo agenda helps us to effectively address these issues. As the international community strives to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, UNFPA believes that the ICPD's rights-based agenda for addressing the interdependence of population and poverty deserves the highest priority.

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS

UNFPA, guided by the ICPD Programme of Action, continued to provide strategic guidance to help meet internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. UNFPA raised awareness of the fundamental importance of universal access to reproductive health services to achieving the MDGs, and the overarching objective of eliminating poverty. The Fund also assisted countries with MDG reporting. In 2004, a large number of countries incorporated discussion of reproductive health in their Millennium Development Goal Reports.

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DATA AND POPULATION STRATEGIES

Data collection and analysis is an important area of UNFPA work. Activities include conducting censuses and strengthening data generation, analysis and utilization systems. Accurate data reflects the current situation and also enables planners to project future trends. In the next 50 years, the population of the 50 least developed countries is expected to triple. Not only is the world's population ageing, but it is also experiencing the largest youth generation in human history, with the youngest populations in the poorest countries.

UNFPA worked with countries to track and analyse the distribution, structure, size and dynamics of their populations - and to apply this information to strategies, policies and programme planning to meet the needs of their people. UNFPA continued to promote a gender-sensitive approach, and a common set of indicators for use in monitoring, evaluation and national reporting.

In June 2004, UNFPA released the results of a Global Survey that summarizes responses from 169 countries on the steps taken to implement the ICPD Programme of Action. The survey returned a 92 per cent response rate among developing nations and countries with economies in transition, and an 82 per cent response rate among donor countries.

UNFPA's 2004 International Poster Contest

The winning poster in UNFPA's 2004 International Poster Contest. The contest's theme was: "Keeping the Promise: ICPD at Ten". Young artists were invited to participate through posters depicting women and girls enjoying good health, education and economic opportunity.

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CENSUS DATA FOR PLANNING

UNFPA provides financial and technical assistance to implement census-taking activities and to analyse demographic data - essential for development planning and to meet basic needs for education, health and housing.

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SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

UNFPA intensified efforts in 2004 to raise awareness of the links between poverty and population issues, emphasizing the positive effects that reproductive health and family planning can have on economic and social development.

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WORLD POPULATION DAY

Each 11th of July for the past 15 years, UNFPA offices in all parts of the world have raised awareness about population and development issues on World Population Day. In 2004, the day's events emphasized safe motherhood and the better prospects promised girls and women through implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. The poster produced for the day proclaimed, "Every minute a mother goes missing," drawing attention to the impact of maternal mortality on families.

Young people at home in an Ethiopian slum.

Young people at home in an Ethiopian slum. Young people make up one fourth of the 1.2 billion people who live below the extreme poverty line of $1 a day. UNFPA-supported programmes link job training to reproductive health information and services.

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