Statement: USA for UNFPA Welcomes the Renewal of U.S. Funding for UNFPA
USA for UNFPA welcomes the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to renew U.S. funding for UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. U.S. Government support of UNFPA’s lifesaving work means more women will receive access to the care they need in order to survive childbirth, plan their families, and live fulfilling lives free from violence.
After four years of U.S. support being withheld, this announcement comes at a crucial time. With the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s health systems, women, girls, and babies are at greater risk of dying from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and are now more likely to experience acts of violence and abuse.
COVID-induced disruptions to child and maternal health services could lead to an increase in maternal and child deaths. UNFPA predicts the pandemic will cause high levels of additional unintended pregnancies, child marriages, cases of female genital mutilation, and instances of gender-based violence.
“To create a better world for the most vulnerable,” said USA for UNFPA’s CEO, Amanda Seller, “we need everyone to commit to ensuring basic health and rights for absolutely every person, no matter what. The world had been making great progress and we simply cannot allow the pandemic and its consequences to thwart that – women and girls are counting on us.”
USA for UNFPA mobilizes funds for UNFPA programs that aim to achieve zero maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero harmful practices, which include child marriage, female genital mutilation, and violence against women.
The decision to reinstate U.S. funding for UNFPA comes as crises around the world such as those in Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo continue. Reproductive health issues are among the leading causes of death and illness among women of childbearing age, but during emergencies, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care often become unavailable, exacerbating the vulnerability of pregnant women.
“In the past,” added Seller, “the United States has been a key partner in meeting the needs of women and girls, especially in humanitarian emergencies. Renewing this partnership is essential to helping those most in need.”
“With 808 women dying everyday due to causes related to pregnancy and childbirth,” said the Chair of USA for UNFPA’s Board of Directors, Jacob Onufrychuk, “the return of U.S. support is one necessary step towards ensuring every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. To fully make this vision a reality, we need every sector of society to step forward.”