WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
UN agency says UK to cut 85% in aid to UN family planning program
UN agency says UK to trim 85% in aid to family-planning program
Published: Apr 29, 2021 06:48 PM
The UK aims to cut about 85 percent in aid to a United Nations family-planning program in the world's poorest nations, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency UNFPA said late on Wednesday, describing the step as "devastating."

Alyona Bibik, mother of newborn quadruplets, holds her babies outside the Moscow Family Planning Centre. Photo: VCG

Alyona Bibik, mother of newborn quadruplets, holds her babies outside the Moscow Family Planning Centre. Photo: VCG

An initial commitment by the UK to spend 154 million pounds ($214.58 million) on UNFPA Supplies in 2021 will be shrunk to just 23 million pounds, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The UNFPA Supplies is the agency's flagship program for family planning.

"These cuts will be devastating for women and girls and their families across the world," UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said in a statement. "With the now-withdrawn 130 million pounds, the UNFPA Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions," Kanem added.

In addition, 12 million pounds will also be cut from UNFPA's core operating funds, the statement said.

UNFPA recognizes the challenging situation facing many donor governments, yet deeply regrets the decision of our long-standing partner and advocate to step away from its commitments at a time when inequalities are deepening and international solidarity is needed more than ever. The truth is that when funding stops, women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those living in remote, underserved communities and those living through humanitarian crises, it said. 

The Guardian reported on Wednesday that the UK will slash funding for lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene projects in developing nations by more than 80 percent.
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