Statement from United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth on International Women’s Day

Universal Access To Reproductive Health Benefits Women, Families And Communities

Washington, D.C.

March 8, 2012


Alexis Krieg

To mark International Women’s Day, United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth issued the following statement on the need to invest in reproductive health for women around the world:

“Promoting gender equality, empowering women and girls, and championing access to reproductive health have been at the core of the UN Foundation’s work since our creation in 1998.  We know that addressing the needs and rights of women around the world is critical to alleviating poverty, achieving social justice, and accelerating progress on all of our global development goals.  Although great progress has been made, there is still more work to be done.

“Today, complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among adolescent girls in developing countries. Approximately 215 million women around the world want, but do not have access to, contraception. Access to voluntary family planning saves lives – reducing maternal mortality by one-third and infant mortality by 10-20 percent; it also promotes women’s equality and empowerment, environmental sustainability and political security.

“It is clear that access to voluntary family planning is critical to achieving progress on all of our global development goals. That’s why, since 2008, the UN Foundation has led a large-scale, multi-stakeholder advocacy effort which seeks to strengthen the leadership role of the United States in working toward Millennium Development Goal 5, universal access to reproductive health. To date, this initiative has contributed to a 30 percent increase in U.S. funding for international reproductive health since 2008 and sustained funding for the 2012 fiscal year. Additionally, the initiative has expanded the capacity of NGOs and others to advocate on behalf of international reproductive health and family planning.

“By investing in women’s reproductive health, we are investing in a better future for all of us. To learn more about how universal access to reproductive health is critical to achieving our global development goals, please visit the UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project online.”

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit