UN agency concerned at drop in resources for reproductive health

2 April 2003 –

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has expressed concern that the world has dropped further behind commitments made at a 1994 global conference to invest $17 billion a year on population and reproductive health by 2000.

Preliminary data have put the amount provided in 2001 at about $9.4 billion, down from some $11.2 billion in 2000, UNFPA said.

Addressing the annual session of the Commission on Population and Development on Monday, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid said that the drop between 2000 and 2001 affected both external assistance and domestic spending by developing countries.

“Given rising demands and HIV/AIDS infections, the mobilization of resources is more critical to the success of the Cairo Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals,” Ms. Obaid said, referring to the outcome document of the 1994 Population Conference in Cairo and the targets set at a UN summit of world leaders in 2000.

“The Cairo Programme’s reproductive health goals must be met fully if we are to attain development goals related to health, social and economic outcomes, especially those on girls’ education, women, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS.”

Ms. Obaid highlighted evidence that when the international community invests in health and education, it reaps rewards for individuals, nations and the world. “Whether the world will eliminate illiteracy and gender disparity or add 2.6 billion people will largely depend on the actions that we all take over the next decade,” she said, partly referring to projections that world population might rise from today’s 6.3 billion to 8.9 billion persons in 2050.

The flow of financial resources for the Cairo Programme of Action is one of the items before the current session of the Commission. Population, education and development, as well as demographic trends are also on the agenda.

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