UNFPA Mobilises $8 Billion to Campaign against Maternal Deaths, GBV

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has said that it has been able rally financial pledges to the tune of $8 billion in support of the global effort aimed at achieving zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, zero gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030.

More than 8,000 delegates comprising governments, civil society, the private sector, academia, and others from 170 countries made 1,250 financial and other made commitments in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights at the last meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya last year.

This was disclosed by the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem during the event to mark the one year anniversary of Nairobi Action Plan on ending preventable maternal death, the unmet need for contraception, and gender-based violence and harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation, by 2030.

Natalia Kanem said that despite global COVID-19 crisis, governments still upheld support for women’s and girls’ health and rights, one year after historic Summit.

The director said UNFPA is commited to ICPD25 Commitment and Plan of Action.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on the health and economies of countries around the world, governments, non-governmental organizations, international financial institutions and the private sector are stepping up political, financial and in-kind support for programmes that protect the health and rights of women and girls in developing countries”.

According to UNFPA statement, at the landmark Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 last year, the world came together to commit to ending preventable maternal death, the unmet need for contraception, and gender-based violence and harmful practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation, by 2030.

It said more than 8,000 delegates from 170 countries made 1,250 financial and other commitments in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“Today, UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, reports that major donor governments are already substantially delivering on the amounts they pledged in Nairobi. And some are even surpassing what they promised, demonstrating their steadfast commitment to the rights of women and girls at the time it is most needed.

“The commitments made in Nairobi are more critical now than ever before. Far from dampening our ambition, COVID-19 has only sharpened our focus and resolve,” Natalia Kanem said: “I am heartened to see so many government, private sector and civil society partners take bold steps to sustain our collective efforts and deliver on our promises to women and girls. As long as we stand together, we will prevail.”

“Civil society, the private sector, academia, and others rallied behind the cause on an unprecedented scale, pledging over $8 billion towards achieving zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030.

“Governments also announced major financial commitments and in September 2020, UNFPA established a High-Level commission to ensure all the commitments made at the Summit stay on track, even during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

UNFPA said the commission chaired by Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, is expected to make recommendations that will further raise the momentum created in Nairobi continues towards a world of rights and choices for all.

“We will never lose sight of the world we are fighting for — one of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.”

In Nigeria, UNFPA said it will be ensuring accelerated action towards the ICPD25 commitments and plan of action (PoA) through its technical assistance to the federal government, ministries, agencies and other partners.

The UN agency said the global health crisis has increased the urgency and importance of attaining the Nairobi commitments in Nigeria and globally before 2030, adding that UNFPA has responded by rethinking and reprogramming to ensure that no woman or girls are left behind.

“During this one-year anniversary of ICPD25, we recommit to providing unwavering support to our partners in generating data for planning, implementing and measuring progress on attainment of the transformative goals and Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).”