In 2021, UNFPA continued to respond to the needs of women and girls with speed and ingenuity, despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In defiance of serious disruptions to family planning supply chains and services, overburdened health systems, and a rising tide of gender-based violence, the organization recorded its highest performance in achieving key outputs of its four-year strategic plan. UNFPA’s humanitarian operations alone reached more than 29 million women with sexual and reproductive health information and services, supported 1.5 million safe deliveries, and assisted millions of survivors of gender-based violence this year. Telehealth services, online and phone-based psychosocial support, and digital learning have been seamlessly integrated into many programmes and operations, allowing UNFPA to reach more people, in more demanding environments, than ever before.
These successes are a testament to the insight, vision and leadership of our field offices around the world. They also highlight UNFPA’s strengthened collaboration with and support for community-based, women-led and feminist-driven organizations. We saw this in the East and Southern Africa region, where UNFPA worked with diverse stakeholders to ensure ownership of, and buy-in to, programmes at all levels — from collaborating with faith leaders to prevent female genital mutilation, to advocating for minimum age of consent in marriage laws and training government agencies on data collection. In Latin America and the Caribbean, UNFPA focused on national, regional and international efforts to uphold the rights of excluded people, including through comprehensive strategies to reach and empower marginalized groups.
UNFPA also rose to the challenge amid increasing calls for support on demographic issues. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, UNFPA’s priorities included responding to demographic challenges, culminating in the launch of the Decade of Demographic Resilience, which aims to galvanize action based on evidence and human rights. In West and Central Africa, UNFPA worked through the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project to address issues affecting education and employment, universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality. In the Arab States region, there was a focus on public advocacy and service provision, along with the launch of a tool to track and measure progress in securing sexual and reproductive health and rights. And in the Asia and the Pacific region, UNFPA was able to ensure lifesaving services for women and girls in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and more, while also intensifying advocacy for population policies embedded in human rights.
UNFPA is now closing the chapter on its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, a period that saw both unprecedented ambition — in the form of UNFPA’s transformative results — and unprecedented tumult. That experience has strengthened our organization. We are undeterred in our goals and secure in the knowledge that we can, and we will, continue to deliver for women and girls.
Source: United Nations Population Fund