Press release 130/2017
11 July 2017
Finland strengthens work to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in developing countries. Finland announced at the international Family Planning Summit in London today that it will allocate EUR 21,3 million to related measures. The funding will mainly be channelled via the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and international civil society organisations.
“As long as less than half of the married or cohabiting African women cannot make their own decisions as concerns sex and contraception, it is unrealistic to expect that population growth starts to decrease in Africa. This has to do not only with every woman’s personal wellbeing, but also with the global development objectives,” says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Kai Mykkänen.
In the developing countries, there are still some 214 million women without access to family planning. A particular challenge in the developing countries relates to the large number of young people who are in dire need of contraceptives.
However, a lot has been achieved through the developing countries’ own efforts and with the help of international support.
“The fact that more than 300 million women in the world’s poorest countries have now access to modern contraception has prevented more than 82 million unwanted pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths,” says Minister Mykkänen.
Of the announced funding, EUR 18 million will be directed to the core funding of UNFPA. UNFPA’s goal is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Finland has, for a long time, been one of UNFPA’s main financiers.
In the current global situation where attitudes towards women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights have become less liberal, it is particularly important to continue this work. Funding cuts by the US have jeopardised a considerable part of international population programmes.
In the She Decides Conference held earlier this spring, Finland promised EUR 20 million for the funding of this work. The funding covers bilateral development programmes in Somalia, Afghanistan and Kenya, and work relating to humanitarian assistance in Syria. A significant part of the funding will be channelled via international civil society organisations.
The announced funding makes part of Finland’s planned measures to promote women’s and girls’ rights and does not increase Finland’s development budget.
Inquiries: Gisela Blumenthal, Senior Adviser, tel. +358 40 7680 360, Pasi Rajala, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, tel. +358 400 464 393.
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