UNFPAState of World Population 2003
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HOME: STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2003: Giving Priority to Adolescents
State of World Population
Overview of Adolescent Life
Gender Inequality and Reproductive Health
HIV/AIDS and Adolescents
Promoting Healthier Behavior
Meeting Reproductive Health Services Needs
Comprehensive Programmes for Adolescents
Giving Priority to Adolescents
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Giving Priority to Adolescents

Policy Environment
Rights-based Programmes
Mobilizing Community Support
Involving Young People in Programming
The Costs of Failing to Act


The International Conference on Population and Development agreed on the cost of a package of reproductive health and other needs for people of all ages in developing countries—$17.0 billion a year in the year 2000, to increase to $18.5 billion in 2005, $20.5 billion in 2010 and $21.7 billion in 2015. The international community would provide one third of these amounts.

In the year 2001, total expenditure was $9.6 billion. International assistance totalled $2.5 billion, less than half (44 per cent) of the commitment for the year 2000. Developing countries contributed $7.1 billion, about 63 per cent of their 2000 commitment. A few large countries account for much of this expenditure. Africa is the region with the largest share (70 per cent) of allocations coming from international sources.

The original ICPD estimates for HIV/AIDS programme costs did not incorporate costs of blood supply monitoring, testing and counselling systems or outreach to specialized high-risk populations. It also did not include secondary prevention efforts like anti-retroviral treatments (e.g., to slow mother-to-child transmission or reduce viral loads in infected populations).

UNAIDS has updated the prevention component requirements in the original package and estimated the additional resources needed for these complementary and essential components of a response to the pandemic. The estimated requirements for the interventions in the initial estimate (mass media campaigns, in-school education, promotion of voluntary abstinence and responsible sexual behaviour and increased condom supplies) have increased by $200 million to $1.7 billion. The supportive and complementary costs for prevention, care and treatment raise the total to $10 billion per year.

Additional resources would be required for basic health infrastructure development, tertiary care and emergency obstetrical care.

Further resources would be needed for other population-related development goals in the Programme of Action. Among these are:

  • Universal basic education.
  • The empowerment of women.
  • Environmental concerns.
  • Employment generation.
  • Poverty eradication.

Although the Programme of Action estimates did not allocate resources to the needs of people of different age groups, adolescents and youth have been a significantly underserved population.


The Government of Finland has been a leader in supporting global efforts to address adolescent sexual and reproductive health. In recent years, it has supplemented its regular contribution to UNFPA with additional financial and technical support that has enabled the Fund to document and strengthen successful programmes, and to replicate their approaches on larger scale. Finland has also provided support for global advocacy and knowledge sharing, a campaign to eradicate obstetric fistula, provision of youth-friendly services, the development of behaviour-change communication strategies, and the participation of policy makers and youth leaders several global and regional meetings. See Sources

Adolescents challenge nations, societies and families to support, welcome and respect them. Coming of age is a time to learn limits, explore potentials and test opportunities. The choices that are made early set the course for future action. Whether or not young people make wise choices depends on the examples, the education and the resources with which they have been provided. Too often societies and families are challenged or uncertain about how to meet the needs of the young.

Young people will use whatever they have been provided with to assert their identities and chart their course. There will be over 1.2 billion adolescents for the next 50 years, living in different places and situations. Not taking young people and their life transitions into account will seriously harm the young, their families, society and future generations. Appropriate investments can ensure healthy growth and development.

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