Three private foundations announce the creation of a new Challenge Fund of up to $50 million to UNFPA Supplies Partnership
Paris, France, 25 September 2021 – Today at Global Citizen Live event in Paris, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Natalia Vodianova announced the creation of a Challenge Fund of up to $50 million for UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. The Fund, created by three private foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, is intended to address a severe shortfall in funding this year to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership, which delivers a choice of modern contraceptives and life-saving maternal health medicines into the hands of adolescents and women who need them most.
Conflict, climate shocks and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continue to disproportionately affect women and girls, including a loss of reproductive choice as health systems falter. More than a third of countries have reported COVID-related disruptions in family planning, reproductive health, nutrition, and pregnancy-related care. Millions of women have lost access to contraceptives. The economic crisis is putting intense pressure on national budgets – and funding for family planning and women’s health has often been the first to go.
“Right now, millions of women and girls have lost access to life-saving family planning. Millions more are at risk. Every girl must grow up knowing that she has the right to choose whether, when, and how many children to have. When she does, she can build a better future for herself, her family, and her entire community,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA.
While the additional funds are much welcomed, the Partnership is still facing a funding crisis with a shortfall of $150 million this year alone, threatening its ability to meet reproductive health needs in half the 48 low-income countries it supports, fourteen of which are hosting refugees or facing conflict or a humanitarian crisis. This lack of funding, if not met, will have a devastating impact on women and girls, leading to an estimated 14.6 million unintended pregnancies, 4.3 million unsafe abortions, and 250,000 maternal and child deaths.
Speaking on the Global Citizen stage tonight, Ms. Vodianova highlighted the urgency for other donors to come forward and support the initiative as contraceptive stocks are running out in some contexts. “The Partnership is still facing a funding crisis with a shortfall of $150 million this year alone, threatening women and girls in the poorest countries, including those that are refugees or living in a humanitarian crisis. These women and girls need you now.”
UNFPA’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Alanna Armitage, joined her on stage and highlighted that with the contribution announced that day, “UNFPA [would] be able to avoid 2.4 million unwanted pregnancies, 675,000 unsafe abortions, and 50,000 maternal and child deaths within a year.”