Accelerating efforts to save lives, protect rights and dignity and leave no one behind

23 May 2016

Joint statement of United Nations member states and UNFPA on sexual and reproductive health in emergencies

Today, 23 May 2016, as world leaders gather for the World Humanitarian Summit, we jointly commit to intensify support to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in crisis settings to save lives, uphold human rights and dignity, and ensure that no one is left behind.

Women do not stop getting pregnant or having babies during conflicts, on the run as refugees, or when disaster strikes. Yet emergencies put women and their babies at risk because of the loss of medical services, which is compounded in many cases by trauma, malnutrition or disease, and exposure to violence, including sexual violence, child marriage, and human trafficking.

From now until 2030, we will enhance support for sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, to end all preventable deaths, of women, adolescent girls, and newborns in crisis settings.

By protecting sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, we will better ensure accountability to affected populations, address the special needs of women and adolescent girls, and contribute to their empowerment and participation in decision-making in humanitarian action and peace building.

Our joint efforts will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, the realization of peace and security, the transformation of humanitarian action and the strengthening of risk reduction and resilience.

Every day, some 500 women die in pregnancy or childbirth in humanitarian and fragile settings. Sixty percent of preventable maternal deaths and 53 percent of under-five deaths take place in countries affected by, or prone to, conflict, forced displacement, and natural disasters.

Fortunately, the vast majority of maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented with proven interventions to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted and every birth is safe.

We, therefore, commit to:

  • Invest in sexual and reproductive health services and supplies, as part of an essential health package in emergencies and implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction;
  • Scale-up in emergency settings the implementation of the 2030 Agenda targets on maternal, newborn and adolescent health to ensure safe delivery, HIV prevention and treatment, improved access to information on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, emergency contraceptive services, voluntary family planning, necessary medical and psychological services for GBV survivors, as well as improved capacity of health systems and health workers;
  • Roll out the Minimum Initial Services Package [MISP] within 48 hours of an emergency, implementing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services as soon as possible after an emergency, by 2017.
  • Ensure that financing for humanitarian action includes access to sexual and reproductive health and is increased, diversified and complemented with funding for peace and security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development to increase effectiveness and meet the needs of affected populations.

In the countdown to 2030 to further the Agenda for Humanity, we call on all stakeholders to accelerate efforts to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights to ensure effective humanitarian action.

Sponsors to this Joint Statement


Central African Republic





The Netherlands


The Philippines



United Kingdom


UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund