London, United Kingdom – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has criticized the United Kingdom’s decision to reduce its contribution to the company’s family planning program by 85%, saying the cut would hurt “millions of women and girls across the globe.
UNFPA said words On Wednesday, the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson informed the health and reproductive health agency that it wanted to reimburse its original $ 154m ($ 211m) program this year, reducing its funding to $ 23m ($ 32m) instead. .
The UK is a major contributor to the project, which provides family planning services and medical care to millions of women in the world’s poorest countries.
UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem said the £ 131m ($ 182m) returned by London would help prevent nearly 250,000 maternal and child deaths, between 14.6 million pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions.
He noted that while the Commission recognizes the “challenges” that governments such as the UK face in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, “I am deeply saddened by the view of a longtime colleague and the urge to withdraw from its commitment at a time when inequality is growing. .
“When money runs out, women and girls suffer, especially the poor, those who live in remote areas, those who are few and those who live in times of crisis,” Kanem said.
UNFPA said the UK government had also informed the agency that it would reimburse donations to the project – which pays for offices, staff and other grants – by $ 12m ($ 17m).
It added that it was monitoring the “total reduction and impact” of the wounds and began developing “mitigation measures” aimed at ensuring that it could deliver programs and programs as planned for the remainder of 2021.
‘Deliverance of women and girls’
Aid agencies have criticized Britain’s actions, which come after Johnson’s government decided at the end of last year to reduce foreign aid.
Plan International UK says UNFPA’s lack of support “will result in thousands of deaths of women and girls during pregnancy and childbirth” and in defiance of promises regarding girls’ education and infant mortality made by the ruling Conservative Party in preparation for the UK’s final election.
“Today’s wounds are the betrayal of women and girls around the world,” Rose Caldwell, chief of Plan International UK, said in a statement to Al Jazeera.
Caldwell urged the Johnson administration to “get back to their senses and … quickly change” their “shameful” views, warning the eyes of the world in London as the UK prepares for the G7 and 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year. .
“While other G7 countries are keeping or increasing their commitment, the UK Government is leaving out empty words and unfulfilled promises. This is not the ‘Global Britain’ that we want the world to see and make other countries less UK voices,” he said.
Based on Caldwell’s comments, Oxfam GB has asked officials to “reconsider” the financial crisis.
“Keeping our promise to the world’s poorest people in the midst of a global epidemic,” Anna Marriott, an Oxfam GB health counselor, told Al Jazeera.
UK cuts total funding budget
In response to a request from Al Jazeera, a spokesman for the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the “sudden impact” of the coronavirus on the UK economy has prompted government officials to “make difficult but important decisions, including a temporary reduction in our spending. “.
“We are working with retailers and partners on what it means for other programs,” the Prophet said, adding that the UK was committed to spending more than $ 10bn ($ 14bn) by 2021 to address poverty and climate change, and to improve global health.
The UK’s decision in November to reduce foreign exchange earnings from a target of 0.7% of total exports to 0.5% means more than $ 4bn ($ 5.5bn) of unspent funds on global programs.
The FCDO, which oversees the foreign aid budget, has not yet confirmed what other programs may be affected.
Johnson’s government also said the cut needed to save public money during the coronavirus epidemic, which has devastated the UK economy, and will be temporary. Mental voting took place late last year He also said that the ruling was supported by two-thirds of the Britons.
But critics of the move – including several former ministers, religious leaders and a number of charities – want 0.7% to be saved, warning of a slowdown in aid to address some of the world’s poorest people.
Earlier this week, it was announced that UK funding for life-saving water, sanitation and sanitation should be cut by 80%, according to a BBCDO report on the BBC.