U.S. Representative Ambassador Rick Barton today said nearly one thousand women die each day of preventable, pregnancy-related causes and at least 215 million women still have an unmet need for family planning.
In his remarks to the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund, Mr. Barton expressed his appreciation for UNDP’s leadership in reassessing the organization’s strategic priorities. He commended UNDP for sharing their vision to move closer to the full realization of the ICPD Program of Action and MDG 5 targets to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health.
“We acknowledge the challenges UNFPA faces and are pleased to hear that strengthening accountability and effectiveness remain top priorities.”-Mr. Barton
According to Mr. Barton, it is estimated that forty percent of countries are not on track to achieve MDG 5 targets. He said taking into account that the world population will reach 7 billion this year, the largest ever cohort of young people who are reaching reproductive age, the demand for family planning and reproductive health services will certainly continue to grow.
“For this reason, our collective efforts in support of the ICPD Program of Action and MDG5 must be further strengthened. We will only succeed if we are able to develop and implement innovative solutions and achieve better coordination and performance on the ground.”-Mr. Barton
Mr. Barton welcomed the consultation UNFPA leadership held last month with the Executive Board and support the vision that was outlined to maximize impact over the remaining two and a half years of the current Strategic Plan. He said he was pleased to learn that mechanisms are already in place to better coordinate with other UN entities which have overlapping population and development activities.
According to Mr. Barton, the U.S. government is in agreement that reproductive health is an issue that cuts across much of our development work and is one of the most powerful investments we can make to improve the lives of women and their families.
“As the largest bi-lateral donor of reproductive and maternal health assistance, the United States has helped women and men in the developing world gain access to modern methods of family planning, allowing them to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children.”-Mr. Barton
Mr. Barton highlighted that priority areas which are highly supported by the American government include contraceptive commodity security; improving access to family planning at the community level; integration of family planning, maternal and child health and HIV programs; promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy; and cross-cutting areas such as gender equity.