UNFPAState of World Population 2002
Back to Main Menu
State of World Population Report (HTML)
Journalists' Press Kit
PDF Version of Report
Ordering Information
Previous Years' Reports


(Not for release before 3 December 2002)

Multiple Dimensions of Poverty
Macroeconomics, Poverty, Population and Development
Poverty and Gender
Poor Health and Poverty
HIV/AIDS and Poverty
Poverty and Education
Population, Poverty and Global Development Goals: The Way Ahead

Population, Poverty and Global Development Goals: The Way Ahead

Achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals depends in part on the universal availability of family plan-ning and other reproductive and sexual health services.

Recommendations for Action

The essential require-ments are to target assistance directly to the poor, to reduce their costs, and to give them a voice in the policies and pro-grammes that affect them.

Governments, communities, the private sector and the international community must cooperate more closely. Donors should encourage partnerships among governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Particular attention should be paid to incorporating the views of the poor in the design, implementation and monitoring of programmes.

Reproductive health—family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, care during pregnancy and birth and safe delivery—is most effective as part of an integrated package.

Effective health sector reform depends on guaranteed funding, by providing more resources and better use of available funds, and central support for services that cannot be supplied locally. Specific action is needed to protect preventive services like reproductive health.

The poor cannot afford to pay user fees, which have deprived millions of poor people, particularly women and children, of the care they need.

In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), nations committed themselves to the goal of universal access to reproductive health by the year 2015.

The goal remains a priority for the international community. Meeting the goal requires safety net systems— free services, subsidized care, insurance schemes and sliding-scale fees—to ensure that poor clients receive reproductive health care.

The ICPD agenda helps frame the issue of health financing in terms of client needs and empowerment. The question that needs to be asked by any policy initiative is, will it hurt the poor and will it discriminate against women?

Closer attention to poverty alleviation demands that programme benefits reach poor people directly. Underserved groups include the rural and urban poor, migrants, refugees and displaced persons, as well as adolescents.

Integrated approaches, covering different needs, empower people to set their own course out of poverty. Micro-credit schemes are among the most effective and often include other services such as literacy and family planning. Countries need to improve data systems for monitoring progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and the poorest need external assistance. UNFPA is working with partner institutions of the United Nations, the international financial institutions, bilateral donors and foundations to strengthen national monitoring capacity.

Since 1969, UNFPA has been the largest multilateral source of population assistance, providing nearly $6 billion for population and reproductive health programmes. At ICPD, countries agreed that one third of the $17 billion annual requirement for basic reproductive health and population programmes in 2000, or $5.7 billion, was to come from the international community; two thirds, or $11.4 billion, was to be provided by developing and other countries needing assistance.

In the year 2000, total expenditure was $10.9 billion, $6.1 billion short. Donor countries contributed $2.6 billion, less than a quarter (24 per cent) of total expenditure, and less than half (46 per cent) of their commitment. Developing countries contributed $8.3 billion, 76 per cent of the total spent and about 73 per cent of their commitment.

The international goals for poverty reduction and improvement of life quality offer a noble vision. Achieving and protecting them will require both a focus on the goals themselves and sensitivity to the context. Universal access to reproductive health care, universal education and women’s empowerment are goals in their own right, but they are also conditions for ending poverty.

 Back to top PreviousNext