Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson has decided to triple the Icelandic government’s contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which works to ensure universal access to reproductive health.
The fund’s website states, “UNFPA is 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.”
With this effort, Iceland will, among other things, “support access to safe abortion, which is an important human rights issue, which addresses women’s right to be in charge of their own body. This is an area which serves an important role in our cooperation in developing countries,” a statement from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs reads. “Iceland also, wholeheartedly supports the initiative of the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, called the She Decides fund, but their first meeting took place in Brussels yesterday, where Iceland was among the participants.”
The ministry’s statement explains that funding toward organizations in charge of prenatal and infant care, sex education, access to contraceptives, and the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, will face cuts in coming semesters. Icelandic authorities believe such cuts will only lead to the increase of illegal abortion, putting women’s lives at risk, especially in the world’s poorest countries.
“Iceland has been at the forefront in these issues,” Guðlaugur Þór stated, “among other places at the UN platform, and will continue to do so. I have decided to triple our contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which Icelandic authorities have supported for years, but the UNFPA is the UN’s largest and most important organization in this field.”
Iceland’s contribution will increase form USD 100,000 (EUR 94,600) to USD 300,000 (EUR 284,000). In addition to this contribution, Iceland supports prenatal care and family planning through bilateral cooperation in countries such as Malawi.