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[Published: Wednesday July 08 2009]



Investment in women is key to address crisis, UN and World Bank


New York, 08 July – (ANA) – The economic crisis could lead to increases

in infant and maternal deaths, the number of girls dropping out of

school, and violence against women and girls, according to the World


The crisis is also pushing more families into extreme poverty and

forcing countries to spend less on public health information and

services. It could reverse progress in women's empowerment and in

meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

“Our work for the women of the world must continue undiminished. When

you empower a woman, you empower a family. When you empower a woman,

you change the world," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban

Ki-moon in a statement that cost cutting resulting from the global

economic crisis has affected everyone. Indeed, several studies show

that while the full scale of the global economic crisis is not yet

known, women and children in the developing world will bear the brunt

of the impact.

That is why countries and communities around the world are observing

the July 11 World Population Day over the next few weeks with the

theme, "Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women is a

Smart Choice."

Meanwhile, new preliminary World Bank figures show that while official

global development aid for health soared from $2.9 billion in 1995 to

$14.1 billion in 2007,20roughly a five-fold increase in 12 years, aid

for population and reproductive health rose much more modestly during

the same period, from $901 million in 1995 to $1.9 billion in 2007,

bringing the support for population and reproductive health programmes

as a percentage of overall health aid from about 30 percent in 1994 to

12 percent in 2008, the report said.

Worldwide, an estimated 200 million women would like to delay or

prevent a pregnancy but are not using effective contraception. In the

poorest countries, fewer than one in ten women are using such methods.

Meanwhile, demand for contraceptives is expected to grow by 40 percent

in the next 15 years.

"I do not think that any of the crises we are facing today-whether it

is the food crisis, the water crisis, the financial crisis or the

crisis of climate change, can be managed unless greater attention is

paid to population issues," said UNFPA executive director Thoraya Ahmed

Obaid. She called for stronger action to implement the Programme of

Action that was adopted in 1994 at the International Conference on

Population and Development.

"Now more than ever, in these times of global economic crisis, I call

on decision-makers to increase resources for reproductive health,

including family planning, so we can make greater progress for women

and families," Obaid said. "There is no smarter investment, with such

high economic and social returns, than investing in the health and

0Arights of adolescent girls and women", she added. (ANA)


SL/ANA/ 08 July 2009---

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