Focus UNFPA: Four Recommendations for Action (brief)

April 11, 2011

With a new executive director appointed in November 2010, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is in a position to re-assert its role and lead the world’s effort toward landmark achievements in improving women’s health and well-being. The Fund’s performance will literally be a matter of life or death for millions of women and children. The numbers speak for themselves: an estimated 215 million women lack access to modern contraceptives, and there are approximately 350,000 maternal deaths each year. As the lead agency for the United Nations’ work on population and reproductive health, UNFPA can reduce this terrible and unnecessary toll of lost lives.

The Center for Global Development Working Group on UNFPA’s LeadershipTransition urges the Fund to sharpen its focus in pursuing the Programme ofAction developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population andDevelopment. Specifically, the Working Group recommends the followingsteps to Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin:

  • Establish and pursue a limited set of priorities closely related to UNFPA’s unique mission.
  • Improve UNFPA’s performance measurement and reporting.
  • Align UNFPA’s human resources with its renewed agenda.
  • Define and communicate UNFPA’s role in population, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights.


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