US funding cut to UN Population Fund could be devastating: UN chief

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United Nations, April 5 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the US funding cut for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) could have devastating effects on the health of vulnerable women and girls around the world.

The US Department of State has announced that it is cutting funding for UNFPA for the fiscal year of 2017. It was withholding $32.5 million for the UN agency, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision by the United States to cut financial support for the UN Population Fund,” UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told a daily briefing on Tuesday.

In a letter to US Senate and Chairman of Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker, the state department said it denies the funding because the UNFPA “supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization” in China, which UNFPA refuted as an “erroneous claim”.

The UNFPA is a UN agency which works for the improvement of reproductive health. It describes itself as the lead UN agency for “delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled”.

The agency works in more than 150 countries and regions, home to more than 80 per cent of the world’s population. In 2016, the agency has saved the lives of 2,340 women from dying during pregnancy and childbirth and helped 3 million couples prevent unwanted pregnancy.

–IANS

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