The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. The Fund also assists countries in collecting and analysing population data to help them understand population trends.
UNFPA is guided in its work by the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, which recognized the close links between development and reproductive health and gender equality.
As the leading multilateral agency on population and reproductive health, UNFPA plays a crucial role in making sure that population-poverty linkages and the ICPD rights-based agenda are integrated into national and international development and poverty-reduction plans. Activities of the UNFPA focus on improving reproductive health; making motherhood safer; supporting adolescents and youth; preventing HIV/AIDS; promoting gender equality; using culturally-sensitive approaches; protecting human rights; securing reproductive health supplies; assisting in the generation of reliable data for informed policy formulation, planning and implementation, assisting in emergencies; and building support.
The UNFPA Technical Advisory Programme (TAP) advances UNFPA’s strategy of strengthening national capacity and self-reliance in the areas of population and reproductive health. Specifically, it contributes to increased national and regional capacities to provide technical support for population and development programmes and increased availability and use of technical information to improve the effectiveness of national population and development programmes.
UNFPA supports programmes in five regions: the Arab States, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa, which receives the largest share of its support. UNFPA works in over 140 countries, areas and territories through its five Regional Offices and 112 country offices.
Information about a country's population, growth, characteristics, living conditions, spatial distribution and physical resources is vital for informed planning and programming. For this reason, the collection and analysis of population and development data constitute a fundamental part of UNFPAs policy-related activities.
A current focus of UNFPA support is the successful implementation of the 2010 round of population and housing censuses. The data collected will be crucial for measuring progress toward achievement of the MDGs and for providing an evidence base that can guide national policymaking.
To further this work, UNFPA has initiated a census portal that offers both country-specific information (such as enumeration dates, questionnaires and relevant legal documents) as well as more generic materials to assist countries carry out successful census projects, from preparation and resource mobilization through data collection, analysis and dissemination.
The work of UNFPA in Data for Development also relates to monitoring and evaluating progress towards the MDGs, particularly by providing population, health and gender data. Building country capacity to produce reliable data has long been an institutional priority for UNFPA, in close collaboration with United Nations agencies, the United Nations Statistics Division and other development partners in this arena. The availability of consistent and comparable statistical information has become even more crucial and plays an even more prominent role not only in monitoring progress but also in the assessment and realignment of plans and strategies.
Received October 2010