FIGO calls for reinstatement of funding for UNFPA
In November 2020, it was announced that the UK Government would cut its overseas aid budget from 0.7% gross national income to 0.5%. It has now been revealed that this cut includes an 85% drop in funding to UNFPA’s flagship programme for family planning. The UK Government will drastically reduce its agreed contribution of £154 million to just £23 million, with devastating consequences for women and girls, health care workers and health systems globally, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the availability of contraceptive services and supplies.
FIGO considers reproductive autonomy, including access to contraception and safe abortion services, to be a basic and non-negotiable human right. These rights are prerequisites for reproductive health. Making safe and effective contraceptive methods easily accessible results in fewer sexually transmitted infections, fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer women and girls dying in pregnancy and childbirth – including from unsafe abortions.
The UK Government’s announcement to reduce its contribution to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services further exacerbates the threats facing women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has already disrupted contraceptive use for up to 12 million women and resulted in 1.4 million unintended pregnancies across 115 low- and middle-income countries during 2020 alone.
FIGO calls on the UK Government to reinstate its overseas aid budget to all core health and care services, including UNFPA’s Supplies Partnership. These are vital programmes that have wide reaching implications on the health and rights of women and girls around the world.