UN Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth Remarks on U.S. Administration’s Restoration of Funding for UNFPA

Washington, D.C.

January 23, 2009


Megan Rabbitt

“By signaling his intention to restore U.S. funding for UNFPA, the UN Population Fund, President Barack Obama is signaling his reengagement with the international community on the critical challenge of improving reproductive health around the world.

“Universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning, is an agreed global goal, supported by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), because it is central to economic development, health, gender equality, human rights and environmental security around the world.   For the past seven years, UNFPA funding has been a victim of false accusations and misinformation that had everything to do with politics and nothing to do with sound policy.

“UNFPA is the world’s leader in advocating for universal access to reproductive health services.   It is very clear that working with UNFPA will save women’s lives and help reduce the need for recourse to abortion. For example, the $34 million withheld by the Bush Administration in one year alone, 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.

“Working in more than 150 countries, UNFPA is on the front lines of reducing poverty, ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. Approximately 180 industrialized and developing countries, including all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, contribute to UNFPA.  The United States was the only country to withhold funding for political reasons.”


The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas, and capital to help the United Nations solve global problems.  We build partnerships, grow constituencies, mobilize resources and advocate policy changes to support the UN’s work for individual and global progress.  The UN Foundation’s work – focused on select global problems – is decreasing child mortality, improving disaster relief, protecting diverse cultures and environments, creating a clean energy future, empowering women and girls, and improving U.S.-UN relations.  For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.