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New Zealand increases support to UN

21 March 2005

New Zealand increases support to UN work on sexual and reproductive health

New Zealand will provide United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with an additional $1 million this year.

Aid Minister, Marian Hobbs, made the announcement today during a visit to New Zealand by Ms Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA.

"Mothers dying, the spread of HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and domestic violence are just a few of the issues UNFPA is charged with addressing. Quite simply, these are some of the most significant challenges developing countries face," Marian Hobbs said.

"I want to reiterate New Zealand’s strong support for the work of UNFPA. This extra funding takes our direct contribution this year to $4 million – or $1 for every New Zealander, a very substantial contribution for a small country.

"Our neighbours in the Pacific face some difficult challenges in the area of population and reproductive health. UNFPA have acknowledged this, and the UNFPA Pacific Office is engaged in a range of activities in the region.

"Our international aid and development agency, NZAID, is also committed to sexual and reproductive health programmes in the Pacific. Co-funded projects with UNFPA include a 'Men as Partners' sexual and reproductive health programme in Fiji.

"NZAID and UNFPA are also working together in Vietnam and Timor Leste.

"For a niche donor like New Zealand to make a difference, it is important to work with reputable effective organisations and UNFPA certainly fits the bill. It is the world’s largest internationally-funded source of population assistance for developing countries. And most importantly, UNFPA offers assistance only at a country’s own request," Marian Hobbs said.

Ms Obaid was appointed head of UNFPA in January 2001, after holding the position of Director, Divisions for Arab states and Europe. She is the first Saudi Arabian to be named head of a United Nations agency.


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