Press Release

UNFPA Requests $20 Million to Assist Crisis-Stricken Populations in 29 Countries in 2007

1 December 2006
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is requesting that international donors contribute $20 million for projects to address the urgent reproductive health needs of refugees, internally displaced persons and others affected by conflict or natural disaster. The aim is to prevent pregnancy-related deaths, HIV infection and the sexual violence that often accompany a crisis.

The proposed UNFPA projects are part of the Humanitarian Appeal 2007 launched yesterday by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York. The consolidated appeal by UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and more than 140 non-governmental organizations calls on international donors to contribute $3.9 billion to help 27 million crisis-afflicted people in 29 countries in 2007.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland co-chaired the appeal launch, alongside Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan and Dr. Denis Mukwege, director of a hospital that treats survivors of rape in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of the Congo.

During 2006, the United Nations and its partner humanitarian agencies have fed tens of millions of people, supported thousands of emergency health facilities, and provided protection and assistance to some 20 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

But because the 2006 Humanitarian Appeal received only two-thirds of the funding requested, millions of people living in desperate conditions were forced to do without.

“Each year,” said Mr. Annan, “we knowingly fail to provide for a child suffering from disease or hunger. Each year we knowingly fail a mother who struggles to feed her family under desperate conditions. Each year, we fail to offer vitally needed assistance to health care professionals like Dr. Mukwege, working valiantly on the frontlines.”

Dr. Mukwege agreed that partial funding of the appeal was not enough: “When we hear that 63 per cent of the appeal has been funded, some may conclude that the other 37 per cent is not important.”

“I can assure you that the other 37 per cent of the people are just as important,” said the doctor, whose hospital has treated some 10,000 survivors of sexual violence in Kivu over the past five years.

Sexual violence prevention and treatment—along with programmes to promote safe motherhood, HIV prevention, and data collection—are among the interventions proposed by UNFPA under its portion of the 2007 Humanitarian Appeal. Examples of specific UNFPA activities include: 

  • Strengthening access to maternal health care and other vital reproductive health services for displaced people returning to post-war Burundi;
  • Preventing and responding to cases of sexual violence among displaced people in Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic;
  • Reducing maternal and infant mortality among pregnant women in the occupied Palestinian territory, where delays at checkpoints often prevent pregnant women from reaching the hospital in time and have forced many to give birth along the roadside;
  • Working with WHO to collect health data in Somalia, to allow humanitarian agencies to more accurately determine need and target interventions accordingly; and
  • Helping vulnerable populations stay HIV-free in conflict-affected areas in northern Uganda.

The UNFPA projects would be carried out in close collaboration with national governments, local NGOs and UN partner agencies including UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, and WHO.

***

UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

Contact Information:

David del Vecchio
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-4975
Email: delvecchio@unfpa.org

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