By Haruna Gimba
Amid rising humanitarian needs worldwide, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday launched a $1.2 billion appeal to support 66 million women, girls and young people in 65 countries affected by crisis.
As the world faces multiple, intersecting crises, the agency calls for predictable and flexible humanitarian funding to save lives and ensure that the rights and needs of women and girls are protected and fulfilled.
The past year has seen a shocking increase in needs globally, with the number of people forcibly displaced worldwide surpassing 100 million for the first time in history.
Deadly droughts have wreaked havoc from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa, while the war in Ukraine has added to global displacement figures and worsened food insecurity, including in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia and Yemen.
Meanwhile, conflict and instability have continued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, northern Ethiopia, Haiti, and elsewhere.
These crises have had a devastating impact on the health and rights of women and girls, UNFPA said, urging the international community to ensure the critical life-saving services they require are at the heart of humanitarian response.
“We must continue providing lifelines, restore hope and keep moving forward,” the agency said. “We depend on the strong financial and political support of our partners, because women and girls depend on us.”
The funding will allow UNFPA and partners to scale up delivery of integrated reproductive health services to meet the immediate needs of women, girls and young people in emergencies.
These services range from maternal health and emergency obstetric care, as well as family planning and gender-based violence prevention and response, including medical and psychosocial support.
During 2022, UNFPA and partners – which included women-led civil society organizations – provided life-saving assistance to more than 30 million women, girls and youth.
Some two million benefited from gender-based violence prevention and response services in 46 countries, while 1.4 million pregnant women were assisted to deliver safely at UNFPA-supported facilities in 29 countries.
The UN agency also supported 1,000 safe spaces in 42 countries, and distributed dignity kits – which contain hygiene supplies such as underwear, soap and sanitary napkins – to women and girls in 42 countries.
Additionally, more than 42,000 health care workers received training on the minimum initial service package for reproductive health in emergencies, including the clinical management of rape.