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Universal Access Project


Empowering Women and Girls

Universal Access Project

The UN Foundation’s Universal Access Project works to achieve universal access to reproductive health care – Millennium Development Goal 5 – which leads to healthier women, stronger families, and more stable, prosperous communities.

There are 222 million women around the world who want to time and space their pregnancies, but lack access to quality family planning services. This has critical implications – access to voluntary family planning is linked to a host of positive development outcomes, including improved maternal and newborn health, reduced poverty, increased economic growth and security, and more sustainable communities. Despite these connections, donor governments, including the U.S., have failed to prioritize funding for international reproductive health and family planning (IRH/FP) in recent years.

Since 2008, the UN Foundation has led an initiative to strengthen the role of the U.S. in advancing reproductive health and rights globally. The initiative is a collaborative effort of seven leading foundations committed to the idea that universal access to sexual and reproductive health education, services, and supplies must be an integral component of the global development agenda and a priority for U.S. foreign policy.

Our work seeks to engage and educate policymakers and the public to support IRH/FP as a central element of U.S. development assistance; to view IRH/FP as a critical component of any basic health package and a necessary tool to achieve improvements in global health; and to support comprehensive policies and services that effectively integrate IRH/FP into existing global health and development policies. To-date, the initiative has contributed to:

  • A 30 percent increase in U.S. funding for IRH/FP since the start of the initiative in 2008;
  • Sustained funding for IRH/FP for the 2012 fiscal year
  • Reinstated funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Federal policies that increasingly recognize IRH/FP as essential components of U.S. development assistance, with IRH/FP as a centerpiece of the Global Health Initiative; and
  • Expanded and more collaborative capacity of NGOs and others to advocate on behalf of IRH/FP.

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