Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem
The Government of France has announced its intention to contribute €90 million to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership — a flagship programme that provides modern contraceptives and life-saving maternal health medicines to countries with some of the highest maternal death rates in the world.
This contribution comes at a critical moment for the Supplies Partnership. As the COVID-19 pandemic upends health systems around the world, family planning has been one of the most extensively disrupted health services, and the greatest impacts are being felt by the most marginalized women and girls. Yet even as the Supplies Partnership ramps up its efforts to maintain and expand family planning, there is concern about donor commitments being rescinded and diminished.
This new support from the Government of France will safeguard the health and lives of millions of women and girls. We estimate this donation will help UNFPA and its partners prevent 6.8 million unintended pregnancies, 1.9 million unsafe abortions, and 145,000 maternal and child deaths.
More than a contribution, the support is an investment, one that will generate savings for families and developing nations by eliminating about USD $441 million in health care costs related to unintended pregnancies. However, the biggest gains will come in the form of empowered women and girls able to exercise agency over their bodies and determine their own futures.
The pandemic has tested the world’s commitment to multilateralism, and it has exposed the deep inequalities within and across societies. Women’s reproductive health and rights have been undermined, not only by interruptions in services but also in the form of spikes in child marriage, teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation and gender-based violence.
On behalf of the UNFPA Supplies Partnership, we welcome this strong support by the Government and people of France and the commitment it shows to gender equality. Achieving a better world for women and girls means a better world for all.