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Australia provides UNFPA AUD 8 million to protect Ukrainian women and girls from gender-based violence

29 Mar 2022

Australia provides UNFPA AUD 8 million to protect Ukrainian women and girls from gender-based violence
With this new contribution, the Australian Government commits to protect women and girls fleeing the war in Ukraine from gender-based violence. © UNFPA Moldova/Eduard Bîzgu

The Government of Australia has announced a contribution of AUD 8 million (approximately US$6 million) to UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, to help provide for the protection of displaced Ukrainian women and girls at risk of gender-based violence.

With this new contribution, the Australian Government commits to protect women and girls fleeing the war in Ukraine from gender-based violence, and to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and protection services. Since the war broke out on 24 February, more than 10 million people have been forced to leave their homes, either for internal displacement or to neighbouring countries. According to UNHCR, the majority are women and children. 

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Marise Payne, communicated Australia’s commitment to support emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, with a focus on protecting women, children, older people and people with a disability. 

The new $8 million contribution will help prioritize the specific needs of women and girls caught up in the Ukraine war. Many are traveling alone, which brings new risks including increased vulnerability to violence, trafficking, exploitation and abuse. UNFPA is actively supporting women and girls on the move, and offering guidance on how to protect themselves and stay safe. 

This funding will go to UNFPA’s Humanitarian Thematic Fund, which will allow UNFPA to respond with flexibility and efficiency to needs, which are growing by the hour. UNFPA estimates that there are 265,000 pregnant Ukrainian women, and that 80,000 will give birth in the next three months and will need medical care and assistance. 

UNFPA is scaling up the delivery of life-saving support across Ukraine and in host countries to people affected by the war, including by distributing essential medicines, supplies, and equipment for maternal health care and the management of obstetric emergencies, and hygiene items such as sanitary pads. UNFPA is also procuring mobile health units for the delivery of priority reproductive health services, including specialized services such as psychosocial support, for women and girl survivors of violence. Local frontline health personnel are also receiving capacity-building training, while cash and voucher assistance is being provided to increase access to services and protection. 

With this new contribution to UNFPA’s humanitarian operations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, the Government of Australia demonstrates its absolute commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine, particularly women and girls. Australia continues its support for UNFPA’s mandate to serve the world’s most vulnerable, and ensure that the health, rights and dignity of women and girls are safeguarded.  

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