What We Do:

Promoting Reproductive Health

Empowering Women and Girls

Promoting Reproductive Health

Every woman deserves the fundamental right to quality reproductive health care, as it is critical not only to her own well-being, but also to the well-being of our world. 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. The evidence is clear. Investing in reproductive health — in particular, family planning and maternal health services — is a cross-cutting and cost-effective solution to achieving progress on all of the Millennium Development Goals. Access to voluntary family planning saves the lives of women and children, reduces poverty, promotes environmental sustainability, increases security, and allows women to pursue educational and income-generating opportunities.

Currently, 222 million women want the ability to time and space their pregnancies, but lack access to quality reproductive health and voluntary family planning services. Those living in developing countries are disproportionally lacking access to services and supplies. Fulfilling the unmet need for voluntary family planning alone would cut maternal deaths by a third, and reduce infant mortality by 10 to 20 percent.

The UN Foundation is committed to achieving universal access to reproductive health care by 2015 — a goal of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)’s Programme of Action and a Millennium Development Goal target. We work with our partners to ensure that ICPD’s goal of accessible and affordable reproductive health services are prioritized by national governments, the international community, and the philanthropic sector.

By the numbers:

  • In developing countries, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death among women in their reproductive years.
  • Experts estimate that access to family planning alone would save the lives of 114,000 women.
  • At least 250,000 maternal deaths and as many as 1.7 million newborn deaths would be averted if the need for both family planning and maternal and newborn health services were met.