By Our Reporter
The planned cut of over 85% supplies to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) by the United Kingdom will lead to increase in maternal, child deaths, unsafe abortion and unintended pregnancies.
The UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem, disclosed this in a statement while reacting to the decision by the UK to cut 85 per cent of its supplies to the agency.
The decision, according to her, will be devastating to women and girls across the world.
She lamented that 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.
Dr. Kanem, therefore, called for support from partner countries, noting that: “We count on the continued support of the international community and call on all our partners and allies to come together and secure the vitality of UNFPA Supplies and of all our programmes.
“In this Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals, even and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must finish the unfinished business of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and deliver on the promises made to women and girls. They are counting on us.”
The statement revealed that the intended 85 per cent cut to UNFPA supplies by the UK will mean that “the expected contribution of £154 million ($211 million) for 2021 now will be reduced to around £23 million ($32 million), a retreat from agreed commitments made to the programme in 2020.
“In addition, £12 million ($17 million) is to be cut from UNFPA’s core operating funds. Several country-level agreements are also likely to be impacted.”
These cuts, she insisted, will be devastating for women and girls and their families across the world.
“With the now-withdrawn £130 million ($180 million), the UNFPA Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended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.
“UNFPA recognizes the challenging situation facing many donor governments, yet deeply regrets the decision of our longstanding partner and advocate to step away from its commitments at a time when inequalities are deepening and international solidarity is needed more than ever.
“The truth is that when funding stops, women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those living in remote, underserved communities and those living through humanitarian crises.
“The needs of women and girls and their right to modern contraceptives have not changed, and UNFPA remains resolute and dedicated to our mandate.
“We are assessing the full scope and impact of the cuts and are actively formulating mitigation strategies.”