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2004 Record Year For UN Population Fund

2004 Record Year For UN Population Fund In Donors And Donations

A record 166 countries contributed to the United Nations Population Fund (<"http://www.unfpa.org">UNFPA) in 2004 for total contributions of $326 million, the highest ever in the 35-year history of the world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programmes.

But the agency still needs more.

“This remarkable level of support from governments demonstrates their commitment to reproductive health and rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said.

These investments “are absolutely essential to save lives and reduce poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals (<"http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/">MDGs),” she added in reference to the targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 to halve extreme poverty and hunger, slash infant and maternal mortality and greatly increase access to health and education, all by 2015.

But she added: “I must put these figures into perspective, because the issues addressed by UNFPA, such as HIV/AIDS, have become far more serious than we could have ever imagined. In other words, I consider it imperative that our regular income continues to grow over the next few years to the $400 million level.”

“This will enable UNFPA to maintain its relevance in promoting reproductive and sexual health worldwide and to prevent HIV, particularly with respect to the world’s largest generation of adolescents,” she said.

The top six donors were the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The contributions of $326 million, a provisional figure, easily passed the previous high of $300 million in 1996.

At the <"http://www.un.org/popin/icpd2.htm">1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, 179 governments and civil society organizations committed to a 20-year action plan to ensure universal access to reproductive health information and services, including family planning, and to uphold fundamental human rights, including reproductive rights.

The number of UNFPA donors has been steadily increasing over the last few years, from 69 in 1999, to 149 in 2003, and now 166. In addition, more than 40 countries pledged multi-year funding in 2004, another record for UNFPA.

UNFPA works with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in more than 140 countries, supporting programmes that help people plan families and avoid unwanted pregnancies, undergo pregnancy and childbirth safely, avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and combat violence against women.

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