Press Release

UNFPA Asks Donors to Help Women in Conflict

29 November 2000
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York –The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today asked the international donor community to help meet urgent reproductive health needs among victims of conflict and natural disasters around the world. The Fund asked donors for approximately $16 million to fund relief efforts in 19 humanitarian crises.

Citing this year’s theme of the Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeals, “Women and War”, UNFPA highlighted the fact that about 80 per cent of internally displaced persons and refugees around the world are women and children. The Fund also pointed out that, although women are generally non-combatants, they are the most affected by the violence of conflict, damage to essential health services, and the loss of family support.

“The special needs of women and young people in emergencies must be put in the forefront of the international community’s relief efforts,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Nafis Sadik.

“The risks of unattended childbirths and complicated pregnancies in emergencies can be averted,” she said. “UNFPA provides life-saving reproductive health services, including safe delivery materials, prevention of HIV/AIDS, family planning and assistance to victims of rape. The success of this year’s appeals will determine the well-being of millions of women and youths trapped in perilous circumstances.”

UNFPA has component projects totaling $16.8 million within the 2001 Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeals for Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Maluku (Indonesia), Northern Caucasus (Russian Federation), Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South-eastern Europe, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

As examples of the urgent needs addressed in the 2001 Appeals, the UNFPA pointed to developments in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Angola, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The war in DRC (UNFPA appeal: $1.1 million), which has seriously affected the region since 1998, continues to cause widespread suffering, particularly among women and young people. The chances that a woman will have access to maternity services in today’s DRC are the slimmest in four decades.

Maternal mortality statistics noted in last year’s appeal – 1,837 deaths per 100,000 births, were some of the highest in the world. Yet this year’s appeal shows even more alarming rates in areas of eastern DRC – 3,000 deaths per 100,000 live births. In addition, severe malnutrition is prevalent, the most basic reproductive health services are scarce, and a 15-year effort against the spread of HIV/AIDS has been completely erased.

In Angola (UNFPA appeal: $2.5 million), UNFPA plans to target 600,000 people, including 350,000 women of childbearing age, and 250,000 men and youth. The Fund seeks to provide reproductive health services and curb sexual violence, as well as offer psycho-social support, and fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. The main objective of the strategy is to reduce the maternal mortality rate (MMR) and morbidity related to reproductive health. Angola’s MMR is the highest in Africa, at 1,854 deaths per 100,000 live births, or some 32 deaths per day.

In its largest 2001 appeal for international funding (UNFPA appeal: $4.5 million), UNFPA focuses on South-eastern Europe, including Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In April 2000, the Fund conducted a rapid reproductive health assessment mission in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which showed a major deterioration in the quality and availability of reproductive health care.

The specific objectives and key activities of the Fund's programmes in South-eastern Europe are to ensure access to basic reproductive health care, including safe delivery and prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as emergency obstetrical care and family planning. The Fund also seeks to assist local capacity building and rehabilitation of maternity facilities by providing reproductive health supplies and equipment.

UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral 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 $4.9 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries.

More information on the work of UNFPA can be found at www.unfpa.org

The 2001 Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeals can be found at www.reliefweb.int/appeals/2001.html

The Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeals aim to address needs in a coherent and efficient manner. They are the expression of the will of United Nations organizations and their partners to work together in response to complex emergencies. The Appeal documents, which are available in full at www.reliefweb.int/appeals/2001.html, describe the main concerns, priorities and goals of multilateral humanitarian action in each affected country or region, and detail the manner in which to meet them. They also detail the requirements of all appealing agencies and organizations.

Participating organizations include: FAO, ILO, IOM, OCHA, OHCHR, UNCHS, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNMAS, UNV, UNSECOORD, and WFP.

Contact Information:

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