UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programmes. Since we began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided nearly $6 billion in assistance to developing countries.
UNFPA works with governments and non-governmental organizations in over 140 countries, at their request, and with the support of the international community. We support programmes that help women, men and young people:
plan their families and avoid unwanted pregnancies
undergo pregnancy and childbirth safely
avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) - including HIV/AIDS
combat violence against women.
Together, these elements promote reproductive health-a state of complete physical, mental and social well being in all matters related to the reproductive system. Reproductive health is recognized as a human right, part of the right to health.
UNFPA also helps governments in the world's poorest countries, and in other countries in need, to formulate population policies and strategies in support of sustainable development. All UNFPA-funded programmes promote women's equality.
UNFPA works to raise awareness of these needs among people everywhere. We advocate for close attention to population problems and help to mobilize resources to solve them.
UNFPA assistance works. Since 1969, access to voluntary family planning programmes in developing countries has increased and fertility has fallen by half, from six children per woman to three. Nearly 60 per cent of married women in developing countries have chosen to practise contraception, compared with 10-15 per cent when we started our work.