The European Commission, Denmark, Luxembourg and the Gates Foundation contribute more than $100 million to ensure access to family planning and other vital health services for women and girls
26 Sep 2022
26 Sep 2022
UNITED NATIONS, New York — At the Global Citizen Festival, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, announced a $45 million contribution to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership to support women’s and girls’ reproductive health.
The Governments of Denmark, Luxembourg, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also pledged new contributions, resulting in a total of $104.3 million in new commitments to UNFPA to advance the health and well-being of millions of women and girls worldwide.
Still today, 257 million women and girls who want to avoid pregnancy are not using an effective modern method of contraception. This number is expected to rise to 272 million by 2030, mainly because in developing countries family planning services are not keeping pace with rapid population increases.
“The EU is proud to support the work of UNFPA in improving the health and wellbeing of young girls and women around the world. Access to sexual and reproductive health rights and services saves women’s lives,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. At a signing ceremony this week, Julitta Urpilainen, the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, also underscored the commitment of the EU “to the right of every individual to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality and their sexual and reproductive health. This is a core part of our global health policy,” she added.
The UNFPA Supplies Partnership is its flagship family planning programme; it is the only one within the United Nations and the world’s largest provider of donated contraceptives. The partnership also delivers life-saving maternal health medicines to the adolescents and women who need them most, and reaches over 20 million women and girls every year across more than 50 countries.
“Without bodily autonomy and access to contraceptives, we will not achieve gender equality”, stressed Flemming Møller, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Minister for Nordic Cooperation, who announced in his video at Global Citizen a total contribution to UNFPA of more than $46 million, including $17 million for the Supplies Partnership.
The additional $62 million from the European Commission and Denmark will help the Supplies Partnership avert an additional 3.3 million unintended pregnancies, over 900,000 unsafe abortions and some 70,000 maternal and child deaths More than 9 million women and girls will also have access to the contraceptive method they choose as being right for them.
On stage at Global Citizen with UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Mr. Xavier Bettel announced that his government would increase its financial support to the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by over seventy percent for the next four years. “Luxembourg shares your commitment to empowering women and girls around the world. It is time to end this practice once and for all,” the Prime Minister said.
The UNFPA Executive Director also announced a new $10.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As long-term partners of UNFPA, we value their critical role as the UN’s leading sexual and reproductive health agency,” said Ann Starrs, Director of Family Planning at the Gates Foundation. “The foundation’s commitment of $10.5 million will help UNFPA scale up high-impact family planning practices and bolster midwifery services and operations, which will drive improved quality service provision, advancing the health and well-being of women and girls.”
“We must put her rights and choices of women and girls at the forefront of our advocacy and action, and prioritize universal access to sexual and reproductive health services,” Dr. Kanem stressed. “We have seen time and again that this is the path to the progress and prosperity that everyone wants—and deserves”.
As we are soon to reach 8 billion people on the planet, how we invest in and support women and girls now will determine what our world will look like in the decades ahead. The new funding will help countries build stronger, integrated health systems that will ensure access to and use of life-saving family planning services, and other essential health services.