Statement on U.S. Withholding UNFPA Funding

Remarks By UN Foundation Women And Population Executive Director Tamara Kreinin

Washington, D.C.

June 27, 2008


Megan Rabbitt

“The United Nations Foundation joins the international community in expressing its deep disappointment that the administration has decided—for the seventh straight year—to withhold the $39.7 million authorized by Congress to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world’s leading voice on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“In a statement notifying Congress of the administration’s decision to withhold funds from UNFPA, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte once again cited UNFPA’s program in China as a violation of the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which bars funding for programming that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive or involuntary sterilization.”

“UNFPA does not—and has never—supported coercive or involuntary sterilization. In fact, the decision to withhold funds from UNFPA is inconsistent with the reports from the State Department and several other blue-ribbon investigative teams, which included descriptions of UNFPA’s work as “a force for good” in China.

“Working in 150 countries, UNFPA is on the front lines reducing maternal and infant mortality, decreasing HIV/AIDS rates, and protecting women and girls from rape and violence, particularly during conflict situations. The $34 million that the United States has withheld each year is close to 10 percent of UNFPA’s regular income. The amount withheld every year could have helped UNFPA prevent 2 million unintended pregnancies, 800,000 abortions, 4,700 mothers’ deaths, and more than 77,000 infant and child deaths. Approximately 181 industrialized and developing countries, including all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, contribute to UNFPA. The United States is the only country to withhold funding for political reasons.

“The UN Foundation is looking forward to working with the next administration to restore funding for UNFPA and to strengthen the U.S.’s role as a global health leader. During the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, the United States pledged to work to respond to the world’s most pressing development challenges, including poverty, gender inequality and disease. It is past time that the administration acknowledges how fundamental UNFPA is to addressing these global challenges and that the U.S. funds UNFPA’s work.


About the UN Foundation
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the United Nations. Through new and innovative public-private partnerships, advocacy and grantmaking, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.