Press Release

Netherlands Again Number One Donor to United Nations Population Fund

11 December 2001

NEW YORK—The Netherlands government has once again become the biggest donor of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Ms. Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the Fund, warmly welcomed the move and encouraged other countries to follow the Netherlands in increasing their contributions to UNFPA.

The Netherlands made an end-of-year contribution to UNFPA of $2.1 million, which brings their total pledge in 2001 to approximately $50.3 million (Dutch Guilders 129 million), compared to $50.5 million in 2000, when they were also UNFPA’s number one donor. Their contribution accounts for some 19 per cent of UNFPA’s general resources.

“I am delighted at the leadership shown by the Netherlands government in again becoming our number one donor. It proves the commitment of the Netherlands to improve reproductive health in the developing world and to help all countries find a sustainable balance between population and development,” said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA Executive Director. She also advocated the need for further action in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and the reduction of maternal mortality.

Contributions to UNFPA’s general resources in 2001 is expected to be around $256 million, $50 million short of the funding it received just a few years ago. For the past several years, official development assistance has dropped significantly. The Fund hopes this year indicates a reversal in that trend by donor countries to fulfill their commitment to the funding targets agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. These targets, if met, would result in universal reproductive health services by 2015.

Reproductive health programmes provide people with the information and services they need to protect their health and the health of their families. But in many developing countries such services are severely limited, and the consequences are tragic. Over 52 million women in Africa, Asia and Latin America deliver their babies each year without a nurse, midwife or doctor present. Some 514,000 women die during or after pregnancy because they did not receive prompt treatment, and at least 7 million women suffer infection or injury. More than 330 million people are infected with a sexually transmitted disease each year. Over 350 million women do not have access to a full range of safe and effective contraceptive methods. Up to half of the nearly 175 million pregnancies each year are unplanned. Half of all new HIV infections occur in young people under age 25.

EVERY MINUTE:

  • 380 women become pregnant: half of them did not plan or wish the pregnancy;
  • 110 women experience a pregnancy-related complication;
  • 100 women have an abortion, of which 40 are unsafe;
  • 11 people are newly infected with HIV/AIDS;
  • 1 woman dies from a pregnancy-related cause.

The United Nations Population Fund works around the world to provide reproductive health services so people can stay healthy and plan their families and futures. Such care includes family planning, care during pregnancy and birth, counselling and prevention of infertility, prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS), and dealing with the health consequences of unsafe abortion. In many countries, our programmes focus on meeting the needs of young people and hard to reach and marginalized populations who are not targeted by other projects.

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UNFPA is the world’s largest international source of population assistance. About a quarter of all population assistance from donor nations to developing countries is channelled through UNFPA. Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided about $5 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries.

Contact information:

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446
Email: ryanw@unfpa.org

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