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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
UK Pledges £100 million to UNFPA
ISSUE 76 - 18 October 2007
Below is a press release on the United Kingdom's pledge of £100 million to UNFPA, to achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015. The announcement was made during the opening of the Women Deliver conference in London.
UNFPA Press Release
UK PLEDGES £100 MILLION TO UNFPA TO MAKE
CHILDBIRTH SAFER AND PROMOTE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
LONDON, 18 October 2007-- Maternal deaths and unwanted pregnancies can be cut dramatically in countries around the globe after the British Government today pledged £100 million to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to achieve universal access to reproductive health.
"Maternal health can be improved through strengthened political commitment and the dedication of increased resources. Life or death is a political decision," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director. "The United Kingdom's generous investment in women will enable UNFPA to provide urgent, coordinated and sustained action to save mothers' lives. There can be no safe future without safe motherhood -- no woman should die giving life."
The £100 million over five years was announced today by Douglas Alexander, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for International Development, who called on leaders of the world's poorest countries, especially in Africa, to make women's health a priority on the opening day of Women Deliver, a three-day global conference aimed to reduce maternal deaths.
"The death of a mother deprives a child, a family, a community and ultimately a country of one of its most valuable sources of health, happiness and prosperity," said Mr. Alexander in his address to delegates at the conference. "Every minute a woman dies from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. More than 10 million women have died in the last 20 years. This is a tragedy but so is the fact that these deaths could have been prevented."
To address this challenge, the United Nations General Assembly formally included, earlier this month, a new target to achieve universal access to reproductive health in the monitoring and reporting framework of Millennium Development Goal 5. This goal calls for the improvement of maternal health, including the reduction of maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015.
Although progress has been made in such countries as Egypt, Sri Lanka and Thailand, maternal deaths remain high, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A woman in Africa faces a 1 in 26 lifetime risk of maternal death compared to 1 in 8,200 in the United Kingdom.
An estimated 720,000 unwanted pregnancies could be averted, 300,000 abortions could be prevented and the lives of 1,600 mothers and 22,000 infants could be saved for every £1 million invested in family planning, according to Mr. Alexander.
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can now be found on UNFPA's website at: http://www.unfpa.org/parliamentarians/news/newsletters.htm .
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as the secretariat for the biennial International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI/ICPD). The first IPCI/ICPD was held in November 2002 in Ottawa, Canada, the second in October 2004 in Strasbourg, France and the third in November 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand. These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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