Focus UNFPA: Four Recommendations for Action

The CGD Working Group on UNFPA’s Leadership Transition
April 08, 2011

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was established in 1969 to generate resources for family planning and provide global leadership on population issues. Since then, the diverse needs of countries and evolving global views of population have placed complex issues on UNFPA’s doorstep. The Center for Global Development Working Group on UNFPA’s Leadership Transition recommends that UNFPA narrow its focus to again become one of the most important and visible vehicles for promoting sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights globally and in developing countries. Supported by experts within and outside the United Nations (UN), UNFPA should also help countries take account of population issues in the process of pursuing sustainable development.

The time is right to reinvigorate UNFPA. Seventeen years after the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development, UNFPA needs to make itself the lead agency for population, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights in the UN system, as well as be more visible externally.

  • Recommendation 1: Establish and pursue a limited set of priorities closely related to UNFPA’s unique mission.
  • Recommendation 2: Refine goals and transparently measure progress.
  • Recommendation 3: Align human resources with a focused and renewed mission.
  • Recommendation 4: Rebrand UNFPA as the lead agency for sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.


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