United Nations Foundation Announces $42 Million for United Nations Programs – Special Focus on Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

July 24, 2000


Megan Rabbitt

Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) announced today $42 million in new investments to support UN projects around the world. Major funding was provided in two areas of special focus for the Foundation – encouraging conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; and improving the lives of adolescent girls.

“Working with the UN, we have developed an exciting program to help protect some of the world’s most important natural resources. By investing in these incredible World Heritage sites, we hope to protect these sites for future generations and work with local communities to demonstrate the economic benefits of conservation,” said Ted Turner, the Foundation’s founder and Chair. “During the past 18 months, we have placed special emphasis on working with key UN agencies to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of adolescent girls,” said UNF Board Member Ruth Cardoso. “Addressing girls needs – for health, self-esteem, livelihood opportunities and education – has been extremely successful here in Brazil, and UNF’s support will help to promote a brighter future for girls all over the world,” Cardoso said.

Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls: The Foundation will invest more than $21 million to improve the social and economic situation of adolescent girls worldwide. In Sao Tome, for example, UNDP and UNFPA will work with girls to provide them with opportunities to develop livelihood opportunities and encourage enhanced social standing in their communities. A UNFPA/UNICEF project in Benin will help improve the sexual and reproductive health of girls through the operation of multi-purpose youth centers. In Mauritania, the UNICEF Country Team will empower girls to participate more fully in the economic and social life of their communities through basic education.

Conserving Biodiversity: UNF will provide approximately $6 million to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity worldwide. In one creative project, UNESCO will develop a replicable approach for linking sustainable tourism with biodiversity conservation in six World Heritage sites, including Tikal in Guatemala and Rio Platano in Honduras. In a separate project, UNDP will promote conservation of endangered species in the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal and address economic issues of importance to local communities.

Brief descriptions of all projects receiving funding in the July, 2000 round are attached.

Population and Women

Project Title: Improving the lives of Adolescent Girls – Phase II Planning Grants
Amount: $2,934,750 over 3 years

In the fall of 1998, UNF awarded a $3 million planning grant to UNICEF to encourage creative country-level strategies for enhancing adolescent health and development. Phase II, the focus of this project, will encourage additional planning and broad implementation of adolescent girls empowerment efforts, particularly in West Africa.

Project Title: Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls in Malawi
Recipient: UNICEF
Amount: $2,550,375 over three years

Girls in Malawi typically have limited access to education, live with poor health and lack training in vocational or professional skills. This project will help address the low status of adolescent girls in Malawi society through various efforts at the community level, including: civic education and awareness campaigns; establishment of vocational schools; and participation of girls in youth centers.

Project Title: Interagency Program for Adolescent Girls in El Salvador
Recipient: UN Country Team and UN Gender Task Force
Amount: $2,180,000 over 3 years

The project seeks to ensure human development opportunities for adolescent girls in the poorest rural and marginal urban areas in El Salvador. The project will provide multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary responses to girls’ needs and interests, with special focus on education, training, social communication and awareness raising.

Project Title: Sustainable Livelihoods for Adolescent Girls in São Tomé
Recipient: UNDP/UNFPA Country Team
Amount: $836,404 over three years

In Sao Tome, adolescent girls suffer from lack of safe, viable employment opportunities and access to education. This project aims to create sustainable livelihoods for adolescent girls and promote gender empowerment in their communities. The project will provide Sao Tomean girls with the life skills necessary to lead healthy, productive lives and provide appropriate reproductive health services through the use of peer educators.

Project Title: Improving Adolescent Lives in Mongolia
Recipient: UNICEF/UNFPA/WHO/UNESCO Country Team
Amount: $1,510,000 over three years

Last year, UNF supported an adolescent needs assessment to profile the situation of adolescents in Mongolia. The resulting national assessment identified key problems facing adolescents, in key areas such as health, education, social standing and lack of outreach. This project will allow the UN Country Team in Mongolia to develop and execute an integrated, multi-sectoral program for adolescents. The program will be developed in close collaboration with adolescents, communities, government and NGOs.

Project Title: Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls in Sénégal
Recipient: UNICEF/UNFPA Country Team
Amount: $1,099,675 over three years

This project aims to improve the social and economic well-being of adolescent girls in Senegal. Using peer counselors, the project will help educate and empower the youth in three critical areas: reproductive health and rights; education and human rights; and employment and livelihood. The project will build the capacity of local programs and providers to provide ongoing assistance in each of these projects’s key areas.

Project Title: Health and Social Services for Adolescent Girls in Benin
Amount: $1,341,421 over 3 years

Like many West African countries, Benin faces the challenge of meeting the needs of a large adolescent population – which accounts for 26 percent of the total population. This project aims to enhance girls’ self esteem and help promote greater social respect for young girls. The project will improve reproductive health services for adolescent girls through the operation of multi-purpose youth centers – which simultaneously will offer health services as well as recreational and skills training opportunities.

Project Title: Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls in Burkina Faso
Recipient: UNFPA
Amount: $678,773 over 3 years

More than 50 percent of the population of Burkina Faso is 18 years of age or younger. In Burkina Faso, adolescent girls have limited employment opportunities and low school enrollment and literacy rates. This project will help develop and implement a strategy to address some of the primary socio-economic problems facing adolescent girls – such as limited livelihood opportunities, and gender inequality.

Project Title: Improving Adolescent Lives in Palestinian Society
Recipient: UNFPA/UNICEF Country Team
Amount: $2,104,762 over 3 years

This project aims to increase opportunities for full, healthy development of adolescents and promote equal participation of adolescent girls and boys in Palestinian society. The UNFPA component will address the critical need for quality reproductive health information and education. The UNICEF component will tackle issues of societal participation and life skills development. The project will pursue a strategy that is meant to provide immediate benefits to selected adolescents, while at the same time influencing longer-term policy planning and service delivery systems for adolescents.

Project Title: Improving the Lives of Adolescent Girls in Mali
Recipient: UNICEF/UNFPA/UNDP Country Team
Amount: $1,599,675

Mali, one of the least developed countries in the world, is characterized by a young population – with more than 60 percent of the population under 20 years of age. This project will increase access to family planning and reproductive health services, reinforce government actions undertaken in the area of schooling and literacy, and promote adolescent girls’ engagement in community affairs and the political arena. This project will give special attention to girls that live on the streets and those engaged in domestic and migrant work.

Project Title: Improving the Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Care
Agency: UNFPA
Amount: $3,150,000 over 20 months

This important global initiative aims to develop a comprehensive framework for improving the quality of sexual and reproductive health care provided by donor agencies around the world, with special emphasis on ensuring that service providers are responsive to the clients they serve. Implemented in six countries, the project will encourage participatory dialogue to help improve clients’ experiences with quality sexual and reproductive health care. If successful, the project will help all relevant UN agencies to provide higher quality to countries seeking to implement the program of action developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The ICPD identified enhanced service quality as a major priority.

Project Title: Educating Adolescent Girls in Mauritania
Recipient: UNICEF Country Team
Amount: $1,553,800 over 3 years

In Mauritania, less than 14 percent of adolescent girls receive a secondary education or technical training. This project aims to increase secondary school enrollment rates for girls in order to strengthen their independence and empower them to actively participate in the socio-economic development of their communities.


Project Title: Assessing the Capacity-Building Needs in the UNFCCC Process
Recipient: UNITAR
Amount: $400,000 over 6 months

This project aims to gain an improved understanding of the specific climate change capacity-building needs of developing country participants in the climate change treaty negotiating process. The project will undertake a country-driven assessment of capacity building needs in 30 developing countries on specific issues related to the Kyoto Protocol and CDM mechanism.

Project Title: World Heritage Program Development in Brazil (Planning Grant)
Agency Request: UNESCO
Amount: $76,650 over five months

This planning grant will help encourage development of a major “World Heritage Biodiversity Program for Brazil.” The program will encourage use of World Heritage designations to generate public support, stimulate better management, and raise additional resources for key natural areas identified by the government and local communities. The planning grant will help officials to 1) review the inventory of existing Brazilian World Heritage sites as well as Brazilian Government plans and schedules to nominate new areas; 2) identify the key governmental, non-governmental, private sector, local community, and scientific interests whose participation will be essential to project success; 3) convene a workshop of interested parties in Brazil to discuss project components and build consensus around content; and 4) draft a full project proposal with sufficient opportunity for review and comment by all key parties.

Project Title: Linking Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism at World Heritage Sites
Recipient: UNESCO
Amount: $2,500,000 (including $500,000 in matching funds) over four years

This project seeks to use World Heritage sites as models for developing approaches to linking sustainable tourism with biodiversity conservation. The project will support a set of integrated activities at six World Heritage sites, including enhancing site management capacity for using tourism to support conservation; increasing local awareness and support for site conservation; linking tourism marketing strategies with site and community needs; and promoting the sharing of experience between sites. The six sites are Sian Ka’an and El Viscaino in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala, Rio Platano in Honduras, and Komodo and Ujung Kulon in Indonesia.

Project Title: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Agency Request: UNEP
Amount: $4,200,000 over four years

This project will support a major global assessment of ecosystem health – the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) – as well as ten important regional, national, and local assessments. Patterned loosely on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the MA will help provide state-of-the-art scientific information on how changes in the world’s ecosystems will affect our ability to meet human needs for food, water, health, and other essential services.

Project Title: Community-based Commercial Enterprise Development
Recipient: FAO
Amount: $200,000 over six months

This project aims to promote sustainable natural resource management at two World Heritage sites by supporting the development of community-based forest enterprises. The sites to be targeted – Mount Emei in China and Bwindi National Park in Uganda-have large, highly-resource dependent communities living within or around park boundaries. The project will focus on capacity building for resource managers, strengthen local institutions and encourage development of new alliances between businesses and local organizations.

Project Title: Conservation of Endangered Tiger and Rhinoceros in Nepal
Recipient: UNDP
Amount: $748,095 over three years

This project’s objective is to conserve and rehabilitate the only existing corridor forest linking the Royal Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage site in Nepal, to the upland Himalayan forest ranges. In doing so, the project will promote landscape-scale conservation of endangered speices of tiger and rhinoceros. UNF funds will support activities that directly benefit the local and national communities, by providing, for example, alternative livelihoods to the nearly 700 families who were recently resettled adjacent to the corridor. Women, who are the economic mainstay for Nepali families and the primary extractors of natural resources, will be a special focus for alternative livelihoods training.

Project Title: Arsenic Mitigation in Three Sub-districts of Bangladesh & West Bengal
Recipient: WHO/UNICEF
Amount: $2,500,000 over 2 years

Nearly 25 million people are currently at risk from drinking arsenic contaminated water in Bangladesh. This project aims to provide clean drinking water to people in three Bangladeshi sub-districts that are amongst the most severely affected from the arsenic contamination of tubewells. The project represents an integrated approach to arsenic mitigation involving communication, capacity building, tubewell testing, patient management and provisioning of alternative water supply options. The project will directly benefit 1.1 million people spread across 705 villages in the three sub-districts.

Project Title: Conserving World Natural Heritage Sites Through Effective Monitoring and Partnerships
Recipient: UNESCO
Amount: $2,000,000 over four years

This project seeks to improve conservation management effectiveness in 10-15 sites by piloting a model for enhanced reporting on the state of conservation and management of World Heritage properties. If successful in achieving its objectives, the model will be recommended to the World Heritage Convention for adoption across all its biodiversity sites. In the short term, the project will directly benefit the sites in which it operates by providing managers the tools to carry out objective assessments, and based on the results of the initial test runs, to provide them training in areas that require enhanced work.

Project Title: Biodiversity Management in the Sundarbans World Heritage Sites (WHS): An Integrated Two-Country Approach in India and Bangladesh
Recipient: UNDP
Amount: $105,000 over six months

As one of the world’s most significant remaining wetlands, the Sundarban World Heritage sites contain globally important biodiversity including the largest population of tigers left anywhere. This project seeks to develop a cross-border initiative for the conservation and management of the Sundarbans and their surrounding areas in Bangladesh and India. The project will assist the two countries in shaping a common approach for these sites, including if possible, developing a joint management plan. Some of the specific activities proposed will provide alternative livelihoods and reproductive health care to the extremely poor people living around these sites, especially in India.

Project Title: International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN)
Recipient: UNEP
Amount: $200,000 over six months

Last year, UNF funded the start-up phase for ICRAN, a multi-partner, multi-year effort to implement an internationally agreed framework for coral reef protection. This project provides short-term funding to continue essential operations of ICRAN during the transition between the program’s start-up and implementation phases. ICRAN partners include UNEP, the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), the World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC), the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the International Coral Reef Initiative and its Secretariat (ICRI).

Children’s Health

Project Title: Health Information InterNetwork
Recipient: WHO
Amount: $734,000 for 6 months

This project is designed to respond to the challenges raised by the Secretary-General’s Millennium Report to exploit and utilize Internet based information technologies in developing countries. The principal objective of this proposal is to enable every physician and nurse in 100 hospitals and clinics in each of the 100 least developed nations to have routine, sustainable access to state of the art medical and health information on the Internet. The health application will be specifically targeted to monitor surveillance in tuberculosis, blood safety, malaria and immunization.

Peace, Security and Human Rights

Project Title: Implementation of the Mine Ban Convention
Recipient: UNIDIR
Amount: $50,000 for 1 year

This project will initiate a broad-based evaluation of the effort to implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction, also referred to as the Ottawa Convention or the Mine Ban Treaty. The evaluation will require support of member states and the NGO network that was instrumental in stimulating the international movement to ban landmines.

Project Title: Enhancing the University for Peace
Recipient: University for Peace
Amount: $2 Million for 3 years

This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the University for Peace as a vehicle for supporting the peace and security goals of the United Nations. The University for Peace undertakes education, training and research programs in the following areas: Culture and Peace; Human Security; Governance; Democracy and Peace; Media and Peace; Environment and Peace; and Economics and Peace. As the University for Peace further develops its capacity, its educational activities will help address the training needs of the UN system.

Project Title: Research Project on Economic Agendas in Civil Wars
Recipient: UNDPA
Amount: $730,000 for 42 months

This project will help identify, define and explore the underlying economic agendas of competing factions in civil wars. The project will also explore means of enhancing the accountability of all actors — national and international, public and private — in preventing and resolving conflict.

Project Title: Strengthening South-South Cooperation
Recipient: UNDP
Amount: $200,000 for 4 months

This project will help strengthen UNDP partnerships with the South and expand cooperation in a number of development areas. It is designed to collect, organize and expand information on development experiences within and among developing countries and design a framework to share this data in and outside the UN system. Examples of successful interventions that would be part of this database include the IT development in India, microcredit in Bangladesh, distance learning in Brazil, and HIV/AIDS in Uganda.

Project Title: New Nigeria Fund
Recipient: UNDP
Amount: $2.4 million for 36 months

This project will help launch a public-private partnership to support investment in Nigeria’s human capacity and economic infrastructure. Activities include: creating a Secretariat to mobilize support from private and non-governmental sectors to support Nigerian development and democracy; designing a package of community-based preventative health services focused on children and adolescent girls; and exploring innovative ways of reducing Nigeria’s $31 billion external debt.

Project Title: DevLink – Communications to Support UN Country Teams
Recipient: UNDG
Amount: $132,500 for 12 months

This project will help create a communication tool, with information on key development issues, that will be available to UN operational development agencies and UN country teams on the Internet. This link would initially offer information on poverty, human rights, gender and girls’ education — consistent with the priorities outlined by the Secretary General in his Millenium Report. UNF will support the launch and operation of the link during the first year.


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