Statement at the UNFPA Executive Board Meeting (via VTC)

Margaret Pollack
Director of the Office of Multilateral Coordination and External Relations
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C.
February 3, 2020


Thank you, Madam President. The United States is pleased to participate in the UNFPA segment of the First Regular Session of the Executive Board for 2021, and we thank the Executive Director for her leadership, especially over these last few years. It’s good to see you again, Dr. Kanem.

Madam President, we commend UNFPA’s advocacy on protecting access to sexual and reproductive health services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in ongoing humanitarian crises; on sounding the alarm on the pandemic-related spike in gender-based violence; and on stressing the critical role of gender-disaggregated data collection for understanding the full scope of the problem and effectively responding to needs of the most vulnerable.

Madam President, we recognize UNFPA’s unique role in advancing the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action and its associated long-term global efforts to reduce maternal mortality and to promote sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. We commend Member States and civil society who support dynamic initiatives, such as the Joint Programs to Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation and to End Child Marriage, and the Global Campaign to End Fistula, who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, and who reflect their commitments through domestic financing and international contributions.

Madam President, on January 28, President Biden revoked the Mexico City Policy as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world. Voluntary access to contraceptives, prevention of gender-based violence, and programming that is responsive to women’s health will be key priorities in the U.S. global health development and humanitarian assistance.

In the coming year, the United States commits to a revitalized engagement with UNFPA and to collaborative partnership with Member States. We look forward to being a positive force in shaping UNFPA’s forthcoming 2022-2025 Strategic Plan and an advocate for the integration of UNFPA’s humanitarian work into that Plan. As a core member of FP2020, we are pleased to have worked together with UNFPA to accelerate progress for women and girls worldwide. We look forward to harnessing the FP2030 partnership as a platform for new conversations and engagements around voluntary family planning and for creating a robust international community of practice that will carry this work forward.

Madam President, in global humanitarian crises, access to critical family planning, and to timely and reliable reproductive and maternal health information, services, and commodities is a question of life and death. UNFPA’s efforts to provide sexual and reproductive health services and prevent and respond to gender-based violence are essential elements of the organization’s humanitarian response.

Across the triple nexus of humanitarian, peace, and development efforts, we collectively must stamp out the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse, and we must act with urgency to ensure concrete progress is made. In this regard, the United States is committed to working with UNFPA to ensure it uses its unique position to advocate for concrete change and action now.

Finally, we look forward to working with UNFPA and Member States to accelerate our efforts towards achieving the key health-related targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In conclusion, Madam President, the United States commits to a renewed and robust partnership with UNFPA, including our intention to resume funding in 2021.

Thank you.