UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency working to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
In Lao PDR, UNFPA is active since 1976 and works with the Government and international non-governmental organizations to support programmes that help women, men and young people to:
- have access to accurate information and quality Reproductive Health services
- plan their families and avoid unintended pregnancies
- ensure safe pregnancy and childbirth
- avoid sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS
- combat violence against women
- benefit from balanced, sustainable social and economic development planning incorporating gender equality.
UNFPA also assists the Government to collect, analyse and use population and health data to better understand demographic and health issues and plan for future needs.
What is the mandate of UNFPA?
The UNFPA mandate stems from the agreement reached at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. 179 countries, including Lao PDR, agreed to implement the Programme of Action in order to improve the quality of life of men, women and adolescents through ensuring reproductive right*, access to health care and education, gender equality and male responsibility for reproductive health, empowerment of women and clean environment. UNFPA leads the global effort to meet the following ICPD goals:
- universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
- universal primary education and closing of gender gaps in education by 2015
- reducing maternal mortality by 75% by 2015
- reducing infant mortality
- increasing life expectancy
- reducing HIV infection rates in people aged 15-24 years by 25% in the most-affected countries by 2005 and by 25% globally by 2010
UNFPA is also committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with governments and the international community.
What are reproductive rights?
"All couples and individuals have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children as well as the right to the information and means to do so" (ICPD Programme of Action 1994).