Press Release

Rotary, UNFPA to Cooperate on Population, Development Issues

06 June 2001

UNITED NATIONS, New York - The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Obaid, and the President of Rotary International, Frank Devlyn, today signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to work together on population and reproductive health issues and promote awareness worldwide of the social, economic and environmental implications of population growth and challenges. The UNFPA and Rotary will cooperate on projects to address development needs and the challenges of a global population that increases by 77 million people each year, mainly in the world’s poorest regions.

“The international development goals to reduce poverty and promote development in the new millennium will be achieved only through stronger cooperation among governments, the international community and civil society groups such as Rotary International, which excels in cooperation to promote societal needs,” said Ms. Obaid. “I am honoured to welcome Rotary as a partner in the UNFPA’s mandate to save millions of lives all over the world by promoting safe motherhood, fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS and reducing the number of women who die of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in the developing world. In the struggle against HIV/AIDS, for instance, we can save thousands of young lives together by promoting behavioural changes, counselling and services for its prevention and control.”

“A core cause of poverty in many parts of the world is the imbalance between population growth and resources such as employment, health care and education,” said Mr. Devlyn. “There are 900 million illiterate people on this earth, of whom two thirds are females.” He stated that population growth, only if accompanied by increased and adequate health care and education, could be an important element of a prosperous society, providing a strong labour force to help drive an economy.

By the terms of the Memorandum, the UNFPA and Rotary will work together to identify local population and development needs, especially in health, and seek ways to collaborate on them. The Fund will encourage its offices to initiate consultations with Rotary clubs and districts in the field. Rotary will promote assistance for population and development programmes by incorporating related projects into the Rotary International Projects database and by encouraging its clubs and districts to support public and private funding for them.

Further, Rotary will promote population and development projects – especially those to delay the first birth, promote child spacing and enhance the status of women – at all levels through intercountry partnerships, supported by local Rotary clubs, districts and zones, using Rotary Foundation Humanitarian Grants and other sources.

The organization encourages its members to further the goals of the UNFPA through projects that promote education on population issues, access to family health care, and adequate nutrition. Through programmes on hunger prevention, HIV/AIDS, literacy, and the environment, Rotary clubs have already begun to address the issue of population growth.

Rotary International is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotary club members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 163 countries.

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The UNFPA is the largest multilateral source of population assistance to developing countries. Through a human rights approach, the Fund promotes development and poverty reduction by acting as the leading or partner United Nations body in the pursuit of four of the seven international development goals that emerged from the 1990s global United Nations conferences. Those time-bound four goals are: to provide universal access to reproductive health services; reduce maternal mortality; make progress towards gender equality by eliminating gender disparities in school; and enrol all children in primary school.]

Contact Information:

Abubakar Dungus
New York

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