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UK’s 85% family planning aid cut will be devastating for women and girls: UNFPA

“When funding stops, women and girls suffer”, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, said in a statement, “especially the poor, those living in remote, underserved communities and through humanitarian crises.”  

Dr. Kanem added that the UNFPA deeply regrets the UK’s decision to step away from its commitments at a time when inequalities are deepening, and international solidarity is needed more than ever. 

Impact of the cuts 

The withdrawal of approximately $180 million to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership, would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions, she added.  

Whilst acknowledging the challenging situation facing many donor governments, Dr. Kanem said the UNFPA deeply regrets the UK’s decision to step away from its commitments at a time when inequalities are deepening and international solidarity is needed more than ever.  

154 million GBP ($211 million) had been the expected contribution from the UK for 2021. This will now be reduced to around 23 million GBP ($32 million), a retreat from agreed commitments made to the programme in 2020.  

In addition, 12 million GBP ($17 million) is to be cut from UNFPA’s core operating funds. Several country-level agreements are also likely to be impacted. 

Delivering on rights to modern contraceptives  

Dr. Kanem stated that the UNFPA remained dedicated to its mandate and is currently assessing the full scope and impact of the cuts, whilst actively formulating mitigation strategies.  

Reiterating the rights of women and girls to modern contraceptives, Dr. Kanem called on all the agency’s partners and allies to come together and secure the viability of UNFPA Supplies and of all its programmes.  

In this Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the unfinished business of the International Conference on Population and Development programme, to deliver on the promises made to women and girls must be finished.  

They are counting on us, Dr. Kanem said. 

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