US’s $50 million contribution will help empower women, says top UN official

26 March 2009

The recent announcement by the United States State Department that it will contribute $50 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will ring in a new era for women, girls and their families around the world, the head of the agency has said.

The release of funding underlines the “support to protecting the lives and human dignity of women and girls” by the administration of President Barack Obama, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said yesterday.

Last month, Mr. Obama signed legislation to restore US funding for the agency which has been suspended since 2002.

“We are delighted that the United States will, once again, take a leading role in championing women’s reproductive health and rights, alongside all other countries and partners that have supported UNFPA over the years,” Ms. Obaid said.

The resumption of funding, she noted, will allow the agency to maintain global efforts, including training midwives in safely delivering babies, increasing access to family planning, delivering reproductive health supplies to remote clinics and supporting the treatment of obstetric fistula.

The money will also assist in meeting women’s needs in emergency situations, help curb the spread of HIV among young people and promote steps to end violence against women, she added.

“We believe that access to safe and effective voluntary family planning is one of the most effective ways to prevent unintended pregnancies and empower women and men to plan their families,” Ms. Obaid said.

“If a woman cannot make decisions about her own fertility, then she cannot make decisions about anything else in her life.”


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