Press Release

As women and girls bear the brunt of the crisis, UNFPA urgently seeks $29.2 million to save and protect lives in Afghanistan

13 September 2021

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 13 September 2021 – UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, is appealing for funding to respond to the urgent needs of Afghan women and girls as a humanitarian catastrophe looms in the country. 

The political unrest and ongoing volatility in Afghanistan, coupled with the suspension of international donor funding has already had a harmful – and life-threatening – impact on the lives of many women and girls as access to life-saving health care is disrupted; any further reductions, including in support to education and the provision of basic health and social services, will have devastating consequences, with the danger that the country could descend into a protracted humanitarian crisis. 

There is an immediate and pressing need for the international community to step up and respond to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan at scale, to save lives, prevent further suffering and spark hope for a better future. 

As part of the broader UN flash appeal for $606 million through to the end of 2021, UNFPA is appealing for $29.2 million to respond to the reproductive health and protection needs of 1.6 million vulnerable women and girls. Our response will build on years of experience providing services that are tried and tested in the Afghan context and developed with significant community engagement and ownership,  which is how we are continuing to deliver through 200 family health houses and protection centres in the current situation.  

Additional funding will allow us to increase the number of service centers, expand the level of services provided and reach hundreds of thousands of women and girls with life-saving health and hygiene supplies.

“Right now, our priority is the health and protection of the nearly 4 million women and girls who need urgent humanitarian assistance,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director. “We must stand strong and stand together to save lives and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of women and girls, including their right to participate fully in all aspects of society. ”

Following the suspension of World Bank funding, including to the Sehatmandi project (providing a basic, essential package of health services), the health system is teetering on the brink of collapse.  At the same time needs are growing and countless women and girls will die without immediate support. Our initial estimates indicate that this could lead to 51,000 additional maternal deaths, 4.8 million unintended pregnancies and a near doubling of the unmet need for family planning between now and 2025. A solution for continued funding of the health system is critical.


UNFPA Media Contact

For media and interview enquiries, please contact: Zina Alam: +1 929 378 9431,


About UNFPA:

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. UNFPA's mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, quality maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.




High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan


United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called the international community to join him in Geneva, in person and virtually, on Monday 13 September to express solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and pledge tangible support to address their critical humanitarian needs. Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director and Under-Secretary General, will be participating in person.


Tentative programme

Venue: Room XIX, Palais des Nations, Geneva

2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Geneva (CET) / 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. New York (EDT)

2.00 p.m. - 2.30 p.m.  Opening Session

2.30 p.m. - 4.55 p.m.  Interventions from the Floor

4.55 p.m.- 5.00 p.m.    Closing Remarks


Press Conference with Secretary-General António Guterres from approximately 5 p.m.

Venue: Room XVIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva


Media Resources

  • The event and press conference will be webcast live on UN web tv
  • Photos from the event will be available on UNOG Flickr
  • Freely available stock photos from Afghanistan from OCHA
  • To comply with current health measures, access to the conference room will be limited and media representatives are invited to follow the event on UN web tv. For those in Geneva who are not permanently accredited to the UN Office, it is possible to request accreditation. For enquiries, please contact
  • For broadcasters: Live feed via EBU/Eurovision of both the conference and press conference. Broadcast media in Geneva can also take a direct feed from UNTV.



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