Financial turmoil, climate change, threats to peace and other challenges underscore the interdependence of population, development and environment issues—and the importance of the United Nations Population Fund's life-saving work.
As this report documents, UNFPA strives to ensure that pregnancies are wanted, that young people can protect themselves against HIV, and that women and girls are treated with respect. The Fund also helps to protect vulnerable groups from violence and discrimination, uphold reproductive rights, and empower people to fulfil their potential.
In 2008, UNFPA intensified its efforts to support countries in achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 on improving maternal health—work that is all the more critical given that progress on this Goal has been slower than on any other.
The Fund is also assisting many countries in preparing for the 2010 round of censuses. This exercise will yield important data that can help governments to craft effective policies and strategies for tackling poverty and providing social services and opportunities to vulnerable groups and people.
These activities make a tremendous difference in the lives of individuals: the youth who learns to avoid HIV infection; the mother who survives a difficult childbirth; the girl who is able stay in school. And collectively, they will benefit whole societies, helping in response to the global challenges of today while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable tomorrow.
This report details the important achievements of the Fund in 2008; I commend it to policymakers and all others concerned about the future of our world.
Secretary-General of the United Nations