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JULY 25, 2002
11:13 AM
CONTACT:  United Nations Population Fund
Stirling Scruggs, 212-297-5011 or 917-400-4103; or Kristin Hetle, 212-297-5020
UN Population Fund Welcomes European Union Pledge of $32 Million for Reproductive Health in 22 Countries

UNITED NATIONS - July 25 - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) welcomes the announcement made today by the European Commission to strengthen its support for sexual and reproductive health in 22 developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The $32 million joint project will be carried out by UNFPA in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) to provide the targeted countries with family planning services and advice on population and health issues. Of the total amount, UNFPA is expected to receive approximately $20 million.

"The resources will allow us to help women in these countries plan their families, have safe pregnancies and deliveries, and protect themselves from HIV infection," said Thoraya Obaid, executive director of UNFPA. "We are very pleased with the European Commission's decision, especially following the recent announcement by the United States Administration to withhold funds from UNFPA this year."

The funding for the new three-and-a-half year reproductive health initiative to serve 22 African, Caribbean and Pacific nations was negotiated over the past year.

"We are very grateful to our staunch partners in the EU for their generous support of multi-country reproductive health initiatives, including the successful initiative in Asia, and we thank Poul Nielson, the European Commissioner of Development and Humanitarian Aid, who has long been a supporter of reproductive health, women's empowerment and UNFPA," said Obaid.

UNFPA is currently engaged in a special fund-raising campaign to increase resources for its core programmes in all of the 142 developing countries it helps. "The gap left by the withdrawal of U.S. funding must still be filled," said Obaid. "We call on our partners to urgently support poor women and families. Unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and HIV prevention will not wait. We cannot allow poor women to suffer, and die, because they cannot get the care they need. Together we must remain committed to the Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development to ensure universal access to reproductive health services by 2015."

UNFPA is the world's largest multilateral source of population assistance, with programs in 142 countries. Since it became operational in 1969, the Fund has provided some $5.6 billion to developing countries to meet reproductive health needs and support sustainable development.


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