Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Dr. Kanem, for your statement as we focus on the new strategic plan that will position the UNFPA to achieve its core mandate.
As is well known, my government opposes UNFPA’s continued provision of reproductive health and family planning support to Chinese population authorities, given the coercive nature of China’s birth limitation regime, and therefore is not currently funding UNFPA. I want the Executive Board also to know that it is our government’s intention to continue discussions with UNFPA and the Government of China on this issue.
In the meantime, the United States will continue to stand against programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization wherever and whenever it occurs. In line with our commitment to human rights, we further urge UNFPA to carefully consider how it engages with any government that has family planning policies that are inconsistent with the ICPD principles of informed, voluntary participation and the absence of coercion.
As long as UNFPA supports or participates in any program of coercive birth limitation, the United States will not fund UNFPA; however, that does not mean we do not support all of the issues that UNFPA serves.
Preventing child and maternal morbidity and mortality remains a priority for my government. While the United States is by far the largest global health donor, the Trump Administration is working to streamline efforts to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. assistance programs. By focusing our efforts on global health programs in maternal and child health, nutrition, and malaria we will continue to save the lives of women and children. While the United States will continue significant funding for global health programs, we encourage other stakeholders and partner countries to do more to contribute to global health initiatives and increase their level of support to help save more lives.
The United States recognizes the right of all couples and individuals to determine the number, spacing, and timing of their children and supports voluntary family planning programs that advance this right while respecting the right to life. My government will continue to work with programs, governments and multilateral agencies that share this commitment. The United States will transfer funding originally earmarked for a contribution to UNFPA to the U.S. Agency for International Development, which will reprogram it for family planning, maternal, and reproductive health activities. The United States reiterates that “in no case, should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” as stated in the ICPD Program of Action.
The United States recognizes the importance of gender equality in the pursuit of all forms of development. We have all seen firsthand the benefits of women’s empowerment—politically, economically, and socially, and we will continue to fight for women’s rights at home and around the world. We are committed to working with other stakeholders to continue to address practices that are inconsistent with the human dignity of all individuals, including women and girls, and including all forms of violence against women and girls, and we will promote their equal access to education and economic opportunities.
My government has also prioritized the prevention of gender-based violence, as well as the reduction of maternal and child deaths around the world – especially in humanitarian crises. Meeting humanitarian needs, particularly support for refugees and host governments, remains a top priority. Moreover, the U.S. seeks to work with all stakeholders to close the gap between humanitarian and development assistance to support refugees and host communities, and to foster durable solutions for refugees to voluntarily return home through education, training, economic inclusion, and psychological support, among other means.
We strongly encourage UNFPA’s efforts to meet the challenges of the 21st century more effectively and utilize resources more efficiently. The United States will continue to work with the UN leadership, likeminded Member States, and advocacy organizations to support ongoing management reforms.
Going forward, UNFPA should continue to increase its accountability for results, including by strengthening country-level capacity for monitoring and evaluation. These efforts will contribute to enhancing UNFPA’s results culture and evidence base. We look to UNFPA management to underscore the importance of these items and continue to build the organization’s capacity in these areas.