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28 April 2021

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has been informed that the Government of the United Kingdom intends to implement an approximate 85% cut to UNFPA Supplies, the UNFPA flagship programme for family planning, this year. This means that the expected contribution of 154 million GBP (211 million USD) for 2021 now will be reduced to around 23 million GBP (32 million USD), a retreat from agreed commitments made to the programme in 2020. 

In addition, 12 million GBP (17 million USD) is to be cut from UNFPA’s core operating funds. Several country-level agreements are also likely to be impacted.

These cuts will be devastating for women and girls and their families across the world. With the now-withdrawn 130 million GBP (180 million USD), the UNFPA Supplies Partnership would have helped prevent around 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions. 

UNFPA recognizes the challenging situation facing many donor governments, yet deeply regrets the decision of our longstanding partner and advocate to step away from its commitments at a time when inequalities are deepening and international solidarity is needed more than ever. The truth is that when funding stops, women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those living in remote, underserved communities and those living through humanitarian crises.

The needs of women and girls and their right to modern contraceptives have not changed, and UNFPA remains resolute and dedicated to our mandate. We are assessing the full scope and impact of the cuts and are actively formulating mitigation strategies. 

We count on the continued support of the international community and call on all our partners and allies to come together and secure the vitality of UNFPA Supplies and of all our programmes. 

In this Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals, even and especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, we must finish the unfinished business of the International Conference on Population and Development programme of action and deliver on the promises made to women and girls. They are counting on us.


UNFPA delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

For more information, please contact:

In Cairo: Samir Aldarabi, Regional Media Adviser for the United Nations Population Fund for the Arab States Region,  +201068484879, 

In London:

In New York: +1 917 8312074