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Impact of Public Health Emergencies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights in the Arab Region

Publication

In the last decade the world has experienced many public health emergencies, similar to the current novel COVID19 pandemic (e.g. Ebola, MERS, Cholera, Polio and Zika epidemics). Demand on health care services continued during health emergencies including general health care such as Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), mental health services, immunization programs, as well as SRH services such as family planning (FP) and maternal health (MH)1,2. Although often overlooked, SRH is essential for sustainable development and women’s empowerment3. SRH is a basic human right, which has been captured in many international agreements such as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPDPoA), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially goal 3 on health and goal 5 on gender equality, as well as the commitments made during the World Humanitarian Summit (2016), to name a few. While these international conventions and treaties have been ratified by almost all countries and have called for giving more importance to reproductive health during crises, SRH is still not well prioritized at the level of other needs such as food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), or shelter.

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COVID-19 DISRUPTING SDG 5.3: ELIMINATING FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Situation Report

This technical note supports the development of preparedness and response plans for addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls and women at risk of and affected by female genital mutilation. While the technical note is intended for UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Programme staff and implementing partners, other UN agencies, governments, civil society, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) may find it beneficial as well. The brief in no way suggests a “one size fits all” approach. Prevention and containment measures (e.g., gathering restrictions and quarantine) are contextual and may shift over time. For this reason, assessing the implications of COVID-19 on current female genital mutilation programmes is critical in understanding how the pandemic increases girls’ and women’s vulnerability and marginalization.

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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Planning and Ending Gender-based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage

Publication

UNFPA aims to achieve three world-changing results by 2030, the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. These are: Ending unmet need for family planning, ending gender-based violence including harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage, and ending all preventable maternal deaths. COVID-19 pandemic could critically undermine progress made towards achieving these goals.

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COVID-19 Situation Report No. 3 for UNFPA Arab States

Situation Report

The region hosts some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 62.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, including 15.5 million women of reproductive age of whom an estimated 1.5 million are pregnant.

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COVID-19 Situation Report No. 2 for UNFPA Arab States

Situation Report

"At  regional  level,  UNFPA  participates  in  the  WHO  regional  crisis  management  group  and  sub-working  groups  (risk communication and community engagement; humanitarian settings and displaced population) and co-chairs the regional inter-agency  gender  theme  group  and  its  GBV  Covid-19  sub-working  group,  ensuring  integration  of  GBV  within  health. Country  offices  are  working  closely  with  other  UN  agencies,  governments,  and  other  partners  for  the  continuation  of services  and  safeguard  gains  in  SRH  and  GBV.  UNFPA  is  engaged  through  the  UN  Country  Team  coordination mechanisms and supports the respective national Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plans. These ensure prioritization of SRH and GBV concerns and to look beyond the immediate impacts of the pandemic."

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Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Report

Publication

This report captures the unique essence, substance and outcomes of the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise, co-convened by the governments of Kenya, Denmark and UNFPA on 12-14 November, 2019.

It is launched at a particularly challenging time for sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. As countries around the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, we see just how critical the issues highlighted at the Summit are.

Six months after the Summit, countries are already taking steps to make good on their Nairobi commitments. We see increasing calls to prioritize the rights, health and safety of women and girls, including the recent joint ministerial statement on behalf of 59 countries calling for the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights and promoting gender-responsiveness in the COVID-19 crisis.

For instance, Sudan’s recent ban on female genital mutilation and Kenya's Nairobi commitment to end the practice mark a huge step forward on eliminating this harmful practice for women and girls.

The Nairobi Summit set a clear direction for the path ahead, and our forward march continues. It’s time to finally deliver concrete results for women and girls, and ensure that no one is left behind in the final push to 2030 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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UNFPA 2020 Core Resources Mobilization

Publication

The three transformative results set out in UNFPA’s Strategic Plan 2018-21 in support of the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without securing adequate level of core resources, intensifying programmatic approaches, maintaining a global presence, and mobilizing additional resources to scale up results. 

Every year, UNFPA appreciates the core mobilized support from Governments to pursue the organization's Vision 2030 and transformative results: zero unmet need for family planning; zero preventable maternal deaths; and zero harmful practices and gender-based violence. 

Core resources are the foundation for all UNFPA programmes which aim to leave no one behind. UNFPA’s objective in 2020 is to rally a diverse coalition of contributors around our shared mandate: “Ensuring Rights and Choices for All”. We aim at mobilizing at least 150 governments globally towards this effort .

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Technical Brief on the Implications of COVID-19 on Census

Publication

As the world grapples with the spread of COVID-19, UNFPA must address the implications of the outbreak on preparations and implementation of the 2020 census round. With 150 countries (including 85 UNFPA programme countries) scheduled to conduct census enumeration in 2020 and 2021, the potential disruption of the 2020 census round could be significant. The COVID-19 pandemic will threaten the successful conduct of censuses in many countries through delays, interruptions that compromise quality, or complete cancellation of census projects. Domestic and donor financing for census may be diverted to address COVID-19 leaving census without crucial funds. Several countries have already taken decisions to postpone the census, with many others yet to announce the way forward.

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COVID-19: A Gender Lens

Technical Reports and Document

Disease outbreaks affect women and men differently, and pandemics make existing inequalities for women and girls and discrimination of other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty, worse. This needs to be considered, given the different impacts surrounding detection and access to treatment for women and men. 

Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers. 

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