The United Nations agency that seeks to promote a life of health and equal opportunity worldwide by focusing on reproductive choice in the battle against poverty and under-development enjoyed another record year in contributions in 2007.
A total of 181 Member States contributed $419 million to UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, representing the highest number of donor nations and the largest amount of contributions to the agency since it began operations in 1969.
“We are extremely proud of this unprecedented financial backing by the world community,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said in a statement today. “It underlines a firm appreciation for our mandate and our work. It also exhibits a keen global understanding of the centrality of population issues, including sexual and reproductive health, for achieving sustainable development.”
The record number of contributing countries in 2007 was the culmination of a steady increase over the last few years, from 69 in 1999, to 172 in 2005, to last year’s new high of 181. The top 10 donor countries were the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Spain and Canada. In addition, every nation in sub-Saharan Africa pledged funds to UNFPA in 2007.
Co-financing income – funds earmarked to specific projects or programmes – also reached a new high at $244 million in 2007. This included contributions from donors, including the European Commission and the World Bank, in support of national population and housing censuses, UNFPA’s thematic trust funds on reproductive health commodity security, maternal health, and the Campaign to End Fistula, as well as UNFPA’s humanitarian activities and HIV prevention efforts.
“We are very thankful for this overwhelming show of support,” Ms. Obaid said. “At the same time, we are genuinely hopeful that the rest of the world community will join our efforts to promote women’s rights and ensure universal access to reproductive health – which would bring us closer to achieving the goal of poverty eradication.”
UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.