Every country has made commitments to improve living standards in larger freedom. These commitments are elaborated in many international agreements, including the Millennium Development Goals and the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Yet, for millions of women and girls, a life of health and equal opportunity is threatened by violence, discrimination, poverty and other ills.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is a key partner in providing the expertise and support needed to change this unacceptable state of affairs. For nearly 40 years, UNFPA has fought for womenâ€™s rights and empowerment. In 2006, UNFPA provided assistance to 154 countries and territories, with special emphasis on increasing the availability and quality of reproductive health services, fighting gender discrimination and violence, formulating effective population policies and intensifying HIV prevention. As always, partnershipsâ€”with United Nations agencies and othersâ€”made progress possible. UNFPA also joined in efforts to reform the United Nations, in particular towards â€œOne UNâ€� and better system-wide coherence.
The right to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity must be pursued on many fronts. Yet, much depends on meeting one single goal that is put forth in both the ICPD and the outcome of the 2005 World Summit: Universal access to reproductive health by 2015. UNFPA pursues this objective in many ways: By providing training for midwives and safe motherhood supplies for refugees; by helping to devise national action plans to address violence against women, forging partnerships with faith-based organizations, encouraging youth participation, assisting with census-taking and promoting family planning.
UNFPAâ€™s mission is clear: To help countries 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. This report chronicles UNFPAâ€™s diverse and vital work around the world, and I commend the information and analysis to a wide global audience.