Remarks by Frederick D. Barton, Representative to ECOSOC, to the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
September 8, 2011


Thank you, Madame President and thank you, Dr. Osotimehin.  We appreciate your update on the Fund’s progress in streamlining its strategic priorities  in order to provide comprehensive, integrated sexual and reproductive health services, especially for those most in need. This is vital if UNFPA is to lead the global effort toward the achievement of the Cairo Program of Action and MDG 5 targets of reducing maternal mortality and providing universal access to reproductive health.
In just a few short weeks, the world's population will reach seven billion -- a major milestone in human history.  While many people are living longer and healthier lives, we must continue our efforts to alleviate poverty, inequality, lack of education, and poor healthcare that still affect billions in the developing world.  We firmly believe that programs that promote increased access to reproductive health care, particularly for women and girls, can lead the way to a healthier future for all.

And we fully agree with Dr. Osotimehin -- with half of the world’s population under the age of 25, we must also harness the positive force of the world's youth to meet the needs of 7 billion people.  When young people can claim their right to education and the highest attainable standards of health -- including sexual and reproductive health -- they can make informed choices and increase their opportunities to become a powerful force for economic development and positive change.
The United States also believes that humanitarian assistance should continue to be an integral part of UNFPA’s mandate. We wish to learn more about the Fund’s humanitarian strategy, and the Executive Director’s vision for UNFPA’s work in this area.  In view of the increasing number and complexity of humanitarian crises throughout the world, we urge the Fund’s leadership to intensify progress on mainstreaming emergency preparedness and response into all relevant work of the organization.  We further encourage UNFPA to translate its global level commitment to combat gender based violence into effective country level coordination within the cluster system.  Perhaps an informal meeting could be held to update Executive Board members on the leadership’s efforts to build operational capacity to ensure that reproductive health in crises settings receives the necessary attention, resources, and coordination.
The Obama Administration is committed to working with key multilateral organizations such as UNFPA to improve the health and well-being of women and families around the world.  We appreciate that the Fund is pursuing greater operational efficiencies and seeks to re-focus its efforts where the needs are greatest and where it can have the most impact.  Because donors, recipient countries, and NGO partners must be able to gauge whether programs are delivering results and whether resources are being effectively utilized, we wholeheartedly welcome the transparency that has been a hallmark of the mid-term review process. 
Thank you very much.


PRN: 2011/172