Canada renews its humanitarian contribution with CAD $16.8 million to assist millions of women and girls in the Arab States region

21 Jun 2022

New funding from Canada will help to respond to the urgent needs health and protection needs of women and girls in the Arab States region. © UNFPA Yemen

UNITED NATIONS, New York - New funding from Canada will help UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, respond to the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls, and prevent and respond to gender-based violence in the humanitarian settings in the Arab States region mainly in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iraq and other countries where humanitarian needs continue to increase.

For more than a decade, protracted crises throughout the region – from Yemen to Libya and beyond – have taken a massive toll on every single person, but women and girls in particular have paid a very heavy price. They face increased risks of maternal death and unintended pregnancy, and life-threatening violence, including sexual violence, while at the same time lack access to essential health services. Existing gender inequalities have been exacerbated, and the extended erosion of protection mechanisms. In many occasions, the absence of legal accountability has led to a growing sense of acceptance of violence against women and girls as a social phenomenon - a worrying trend of ‘normalization’. Women and girls' health, rights and dignity are at risk on a daily basis and it is essential that their needs are put at the front and centre of the humanitarian response.

“Women and girls in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen and Libya face enormous challenges, including mounting risks to their health and safety,” said Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Regional Director, Arab States. “We are grateful to the Government and People of Canada and their support to safeguard women and girls’ rights, including their right to give birth safely and to live free from violence.”

The bulk of Canada’s funding of CAD $15 million will support UNFPA to provide lifesaving sexual and reproductive health services, including emergency obstetric care; and preventive, protective, and responsive services for women and girls survivors of violence. Reproductive health supplies, including equipment and medicines, will be distributed to health facilities, while Dignity Kits, containing essential hygiene supplies, will be provided to the most vulnerable women and girls. This funding will support UNFPA’s continued humanitarian operations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon Syria and Yemen for the next two years.

Canada is also contributing CAD $1.8 million to support the coordination of the humanitarian response to gender-based violence in the region. Service providers’ skills to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services, as well as services to address gender-based violence, will be strengthened, while robust data systems for the planning and monitoring of service delivery will be enhanced.

Canada’s renewed commitment to the women and girls of the Middle East will support UNFPA to ramp up its humanitarian response.

This grant is part of Canada’s overall support for UNFPA development and humanitarian activities, amounting to over CAD $85.4 million in 2021 alone.

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