Statement from UN Foundation President & CEO Kathy Calvin on Elimination of U.S. Funds for UNFPA

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Defunding UNFPA puts millions of lives at risk and runs counter to American values

United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin issued today the following statement on U.S. defunding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Calvin said,

“The United Nations Foundation calls the action to cut vital U.S. support to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) unacceptable and in stark contrast to American values. The U.S. is one of the largest contributors to UNFPA, and eliminating U.S. funds threatens the health and rights of millions of girls and women around the world, particularly those in crisis situations.

“UNFPA is on the front lines in more than 150 countries, often in places where the U.S. can’t be, providing critical services, such as voluntary family planning, midwife training, pre-natal care and safe delivery services, and working to end child marriage and female genital mutilation. UNFPA does not fund or perform abortions or forced sterilizations anywhere in the world. Instead, the agency offers voluntary family planning to prevent unintended pregnancies which, in turn, empowers girls and women to pursue an education, earn an income, and live more prosperous lives.

“UNFPA is often the first – and in some cases the only – health provider in humanitarian crises. Last year, UNFPA used funding from the U.S. government to reach 9 million people in crisis situations with HIV/AIDS prevention services, domestic violence counseling, pregnancy checkups, safe childbirth and other critical services.

“In the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where girls and women face extraordinary challenges such as malnutrition, trauma, and violence, UNFPA is there to make sure every childbirth is safe. In Iraq, a UNFPA clinic supports women who are survivors of physical abuse, sexual violence, and other horrific atrocities inflicted by ISIL. It is the only such clinic in Iraq and is fully supported by the very U.S. government funds that are now being eliminated.

“The U.S. government played a central role in the creation and launch of UNFPA in 1969 and has been an active member of UNFPA’s Executive Board over the last 45 years under both Republican and Democratic administrations. U.S. support for UNFPA embodied then what remains true today: Investing in the health and rights of girls and women – and empowering them to plan their families and their futures – yields direct returns to the U.S. This investment sparks a ripple effect, generating not only strong, healthy, and empowered girls and women, but more stable and prosperous families, communities, and countries.

“The health and rights of the world’s most vulnerable girls and women are at risk. The United Nations Foundation calls on the U.S. government to stand up for American values and restore full funding to UNFPA to preserve its lifesaving work around the world.”

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About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: http://www.unfoundation.org.

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Serena Jiwani
UN Foundation
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