United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
From its birth, the United Nations has been taken a lead in population development issues, which were first analysed by the UN Commission on Population. In the 60’s, extremely rapid growth of world population became a serious concern. In 1966, the General Assembly authorised the United Nations to provide technical support in the area of population. The following year, it established the Trust Fund on Population, which was renamed as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in December 1987. UNFPA was assigned the role of providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Today, UNFPA is the largest international source of assistance, implementing programmes aimed at population and development in more than 150 developing countries.
The UNFPA is the world’s largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries. The main objectives of UNFPA are to assist countries in providing quality reproductive health and family planning services on the basis of individual choice, and formulate population policies that support sustainable development. The Fund's strategy focuses on meeting the needs of individual women and men rather than on achieving demographic targets. Key to this approach is empowering women and providing them with more choices through expanded access to education, health services and employment opportunities.
The UNFPA budget consists of donors’ contributions and is not a part of the regular UN funds. One fourth of the world’s population assistance from donor nations to developing countries is channelled through UNFPA. In addition, the Fund provides a pipeline through which donors can direct assistance for specific population programmes or projects. Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided more than $6 billion in assistance to developing countries. In the year 2002, UNFPA country-donors’ contributions totalled $256 million. Also noteworthy was the expansion of the UNFPA donor base, which reached a target of 131 donors in 2002. Donor-countries include Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Australia, France, China, New Zealand, Pakistan, Korea, Spain, Ireland and others.
UNFPA IN KYRGYZSTAN
United Nations Population Fund began its assistance to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in 1992. The UNFPA office in Kyrgyzstan was established in 1993. The UNFPA Area office is located in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. UNFPA Field Office in Kyrgyzstan is attached to the UNDP Resident Representative Office.
On September 16, 1999, the UNFPA Executive Board, in a regular session in New York, adopted a new $US 3.5 million country programme for Kyrgyzstan for the period 2000 - 2004.
The main goal of the UNFPA in Kyrgyzstan is to achieve a balance between the social-economic development, environment and the dynamics of Kyrgyz population growth. The determined strategy of the population of Kyrgyzstan considers the linkage between ecology, population growth and sustainable human development.
Most of the activities within the ongoing sub-programmes are aimed at improving the strategies for population development and reproductive health services throughout the country. The political and economic situation in the country is currently stable, but the outlook in terms of resources in terms of tackling the population growth is not so optimistic. Most of the equipment is inoperable or out of date, the resources for training medical staff in reproductive health methods are limited and RH commodity supplies are insufficient. This is a primary concern for UNFPA assistance to Kyrgyzstan. Demand in schooling, health care, other social services and employment increasing along with growing population could hardly be afforded due to the country’s economic growth projections.
UNFPA programmes work in three main directions:
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND FAMILY PLANNING
UNFPA supports the provision of reproductive health care and services, including a wider choice of family planning methods and information. Reproductive health care services include safe motherhood, counselling and prevention of infertility, prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, and dealing with the health consequences of unsafe abortion. In the meantime UNFPA sees RH/FP programmes as one the most effective tools of PRSP approach. As one dollar invested into RH/FP activities saves forty dollars of Government direct and indirect expenditure to the social sector.
POPULATION DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
UNFPA helps countries to formulate, implement and evaluate comprehensive population policies as a central part of sustainable development strategies. This includes support for data collection, analysis and research that helps to formulate population policies in Kyrgyzstan.
UNFPA is an advocate for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) goals which include reproductive health and rights, improving the status of women, longer life expectancy, lower infant and maternal mortality, closing the gender gap in education, strengthening national capacity to formulate and implement population and development strategies, and increasing awareness and resources for population and development.
RESULTS ON THE GROUND
- Support of the Social Patronage System in the South of the Kyrgyz Republic, which consists of trained para-medical personnel, primarily medical nurses, working even in the most remote areas of the country. With a help of UNFPA SPS workers provide a wide range of services, including identification of high-risk families, health education at home, promoting the healthy life style approach in rural and medical counselling at the community level. The Ministry of Health now considers the SPS the primary instrument for reducing infant and maternal mortality. The vulnerable population covered by the SPS has lower infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR). Following the Government’s request UNFPA has started supporting for SPS expansion to the provinces that are not yet covered. Accordingly, UNFPA and the UN Fund for Human Security have approved a project proposal to strengthen and expand the reproductive health services of the SPS in the northern regions of Kyrgyzstan. Contribution amount is USD $498,388.00.
- An important UNFPA initiative that reached people at the grassroots level was a series of activities for religious leaders. One of these activities was organisation and conduct of round table meetings and seminars. Among the issues raised was promotion of reproductive health and family planning not only among women of fertile age, but also among men and adolescents. The book by Abdel Rahim Omran, world known demographer, “Family Planning in the legacy of Islam” was translated and presented during the seminars. Religious leaders emphasised the significance of such undertakings aimed at strengthening of families, and agreed that there are some artefacts in interpretations of Koran’s views on family planning. Religious leaders agreed to participate in related educational activities for the sake of family strengthening, and they agreed that some sections of the Koran have been incorrectly interpreted to the detriment of reproductive health.
- UNFPA has long been streamlined ICPD advocacy on gender issues in the Muslim society. Since 2002 UNFPA provides technical and financial support to “Mutakalim”, religious women’s NGO in Kyrgyzstan, which is responsible for an active involvement of women in Muslim society into the social initiatives related to RH/FP issues.
- Technical and financial assistance during the first National Census in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the organisation of an advocacy campaign within the census (posters, booklets and brochures) and publication of results of the census. With UNFPA’s support the National Statistical Committee managed to improve data collection, analysis and dissemination system.
- Ten years ago, the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) provided with a vision comprehensive and forward looking that it still very much represents the needs of today’s women and men’s aspirations for themselves and their families. As part of efforts to assess the implementation of the ICPD PoA and the Key Actions, the UNFPA undertook national assessments of the progress achieved and constraints faced by them during the decade 1994 – 2004. In close co-operation with the Government Country Report on ten-year implementation of ICPD PoA was developed. It includes a situational analysis of population, gender and reproductive health issues in the country, looking at past trends during 1994-2004 as well as likely trends during 2005-2014; an assessment of the implementation of ICPD PoA in the country during 1994-2004; priority and emerging challenges relevant to alleviating poverty and their linkages to the Cairo agenda; and a country strategy to further strengthen the implementation of the ICPD PoA and the Key Actions in the future.
- UNFPA is a major donor for supply of contraceptives in Kyrgyzstan. In 2003 UNFPA supplied contraceptives in the amount of USD 108,791, which almost totally met the country’s need.
- Establishment of Legal counselling on the Law on Reproductive Rights, violence against women, gender equity and equality (jointly with support legal clinic lawyers that provide counselling).
- Support for development and implementation of the Law on Reproductive Rights in the Kyrgyz Republic. The Law determines how the State guarantees the protection of the population’s reproductive health, promotes reproductive rights and establishes a legal basis for family care services. By initiative from the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic the Law on Reproductive Rights was improved in close co-operation with UNFPA and its support.
- UNFPA is leading the UN Coalition, with the participation of UNICEF, WHO, and ILO, in the development and implementation of a project on Improving the Quality of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care through Empowering Users. The project involves a series of studies and meetings to build partnerships among healthcare providers and consumer groups in order to improve the quality of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Kyrgyzstan.
- UNFPA supported development of the National IEC strategy, which was approved by the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic.
- UNFPA supports programmes that promote healthy adolescent development and, among sexually active youth, safer and responsible sexual behavior. A Roundtable on HIV/AIDS and Young People, jointly organized by the UNFPA and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), was held in Kyrgyzstan in June 2003. The Roundtable was attended by 61 participants and representatives from 8 ECO member countries, namely Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakstan, Kyrgzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan, as well as by UNFPA Headquarters and regional staff and members of ECO Secretariat.
- UNFPA has developed a Logistics Management Information System (LMIS) that can facilitate timely delivery of contraceptives to clients, monitor contraceptive distribution, and forecast contraceptive needs. UNFPA introduced the LMIS in pilot areas. In 2002 the LMIS was revised and now is being improved and modified. According to the resolution passed by the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic LMIS is used throughout the country during the remaining years of the UNFPA Country Programme.
- In 2003 the most successful advocacy activities included mass media competition among journalists; TV conference “1 billion adolescents: the right to health, information and services”, publication of IEC materials; regular press conferences with updates on UNFPA activities; production and broadcast of television and radio spots on HIV/AIDS, and healthy lifestyles; developing video films on HIV/AIDS and ICPD goals and MDGs.
For more information you can visit www.unfpa.org.kg
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