Forging alliances with governments, civil society, religious leaders and others to ensure that everyone counts
The 2008 United Nations Population Award honoured the work of Dame Billie Antoinette Miller of Barbados and of Family Care International, a New York-based NGO that makes pregnancy and childbirth safer. The annual award is given to individuals and institutions for outstanding work to improve individual health and welfare in the area of population. Dame Miller has promoted population and gender issues in many capacities, including as chair of the NGO Planning Committee for the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. Family Care International is a global leader in fighting maternal mortality. Ann Starrs, President of Family Care International, accepted the award on behalf of her organization from Anders Lidén, chairman of the awards committee, at a ceremony at the United Nations.
UNFPA strives to spend resources efficiently and effectively with one goal in mind: to achieve measurable results. The Fund works with other United Nations entities, especially UNICEF, UNAIDS and the United Nations Development Programme, to make United Nations reform a reality. This involves careful coordination to create complementary programming, in line with each organization's comparative advantages, to reduce overlap and minimize bureaucracy.
To respond better to local needs, UNFPA increasingly devotes resources to country-level efforts. UNFPA support has resulted in the development of national plans and policies to empower women, expand access to reproductive health and account for population dynamics.
Making United Nations Reform a Reality
UNFPA is a leader in implementing United Nations reform. Through its strategic partnership programme, UNFPA works with other United Nations entities, such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNIFEM, to promote coherent country-level operations and address health, gender and population issues. To improve its own accountability and effectiveness, UNFPA focuses on achieving measurable results and collecting data to gauge the success of programmes and initiatives. UNFPA's management strives to ensure the strong stewardship of resources. In 2008, several countries established new international operations manager positions dedicated to such tasks. UNFPA also stresses activities that promote coordination among different divisions and offices, at all levels of its work, whether global, regional or national. To better serve countries in need, UNFPA has increased its responsiveness to its country offices and sought to build local capacity through the transference of skills and knowledge.
UNFPA continued to play a leading role in the implementation of the United Nations "Delivering as One" initiative. This initiative, underway in eight pilot countries, aims to achieve development results with lower transaction costs.
For its contribution to harmonization within the United Nations system, UNFPA received recognition through the 2008 Multilateral Organizations Performance Assessment Network Survey.
Progress Through Partnerships
Without strong alliances and partnerships, UNFPA could not hope to achieve its mission, which often challenges long-held social norms and customs regarding women, youth and other vulnerable people. Whenever possible, UNFPA forges diverse strategic partnerships, both within and outside the United Nations system, to achieve the objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development's Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. In 2008:
UNFPA continued to participate in the International Health Partnership, which seeks to help low-income countries meet health-related Millennium Development Goals by strengthening national health plans and other actions; expanded its partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to better serve those affected by emergencies; and established a partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to strengthen responses to the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls in the aftermath of disasters.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNFPA and Vodacom agreed to establish a telephone messaging system to provide victims of sexual violence with access to care services. UNFPA engaged private media houses in the United Republic of Tanzania to promote and advocate for issues related to the International Conference on Population and Development.
Generating Goodwill, Prompting Action
UNFPA's Goodwill Ambassadors call attention to reproductive health and family planning projects, make public appearances and give media interviews, participate in UNFPA campaigns, engage in dialogue with government officials or policymakers and discuss the needs of reproductive health care and family planning programmes in developing countries.
UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Catarina Furtado spent one week in Guinea-Bissau launching and publicizing an initiative to improve emergency obstetric care in Oio and Gabu. Ms. Furtado, a well-known actress and television personality in Portugal, raised funds for a new medical-surgical facility and laid the first brick.
In February, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and Spice Girl singer Geri Halliwell promoted maternal health at meetings with United States legislators on Capitol Hill to call attention to the death and disability that can result from childbirth.
Natalie Imbruglia, singer and spokesperson for the Campaign to End Fistula, and British entrepreneur Richard Branson co-hosted a fund-raiser in London. Half of the event's proceeds benefited a UNFPA fistula prevention and treatment project in northern Nigeria. Celebrity attendees included the Duchess of York, Rita Marley and Kelly Rowland.
On the eve of World AIDS Day, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador and Miss Universe 1999 Mpule Kwelagobe said, "there is reason to hope for change if we work collectively," at a commemoration at the Riverside Church of New York organized by UNFPA, UNAIDS and others.