DENMARK: U-landsnytt and Jyllandsposten reported on 11 and 13 February on remarks by UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin. The articles focused on the fact that the world is going through a demographic revolution; in some countries the number of elderly is increasing quickly, while in others, birth rates remain high with large youth populations. Dr. Osotimehin said, “The number of people is not the problem, but the question is how social structures will manage to deal with it. . . You can have a household of three persons with a lot of problems, and another one of 10 persons that are happy”. Read in Danish: U-landsnytt
FINLAND: Karjalainen and YLE reported on and published an interview on 12 February on the Executive Director’s visit. The articles focused on the population growth and its link to poverty. He said, “Girls’ right for education is the core of all development. When girls get to school to educate themselves, women’s ability to make their own decisions improves and they can start taking responsibility of their own lives and of their own future.” The Executive Director pointed out that population growth should not be treated as a problem, and support from Nordic countries to the UNFPA is important.
NORWAY: Klassekampen and BistandsAktuelt reported on 11 February on the Executive Director’s visit to the Nordic countries and a Mothers Day event in Oslo, which included a panel discussion and a display of the photo exhibition Congo/Women. The article focuses on the world population reaching 7 billion and on the importance of investing in young people. “For us at UNFPA it is central that every man and woman will have the possibility to choose how many children they will have, when they will have them, and to get respect for their decisions,” said Dr. Osotimehin. Following the Cairo consensus on population and development, UNFPA will not take position for or against abortion, but will promote sexual education and distribution of contraceptives. Osotimehin also refuses to consider population growth as a problem per se, but is more worried about our capability to secure a good life for a growing number of people. Read in Norwegian: Bistandsaktuelt
CIMAC (Mexico) reported on 13 February on the prevalence of adolescent pregnancy and STIs. Marcela Suazo, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNFPA, indicated that biologically, women are four times more vulnerable to HIV infection than men. Read in Spanish: CIMAC
BNN and The Daily Star reported on 13 February that Bangladesh’s maternal mortality rate, which was 322 in 2001, has declined to 194 per one lakh live births, a government survey said. Despite advances, the ratio however should be 143 by 2015 for the country to meet MDG 4, suggested by the primary result of the “Maternal Mortality and Health Care Survey 2010,” conducted by the local government in cooperation with USAID, UNFPA, ICDDRB and National Institute of Population Research and Training. Read: BNN and The Daily Star
Les Depeches de Brazzaville, DRTV, Tele Congo, Radio Congo and TV Top reported on 13 February on a meeting between Communication Minister Bienvenu Okiemy and UNFPA Representative David Lawson to discuss the state of their cooperation. The audience was followed by the signing of a cooperation agreement between UNFPA and the Communication Ministry. Minister Okiemy praised the partnership between the government and UNFPA and the active role of its representative. Mr. Lawson praised the vision and leadership of the Minister in his quest for excellence by the media, and announced that UNFPA would continue to support the National Journalists Network on Population and Development through training and technical support, media awards and support for its population and development dimension, the innovative approach of Minister Okiemy for a Regional Media Institute in Brazzaville. The UNFPA Representative underlined that journalists in the area of population and development are key vectors of the societal changes required to improve the living conditions of the population and sustainable development. Watch in French: Tele Congo and Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
The Associated Press reported on 7 February that top UN officials are calling for an end to female genital mutilation, saying it violates fundamental human rights and endangers the health of 3 million girls who undergo the practice annually. Anthony Lake, chief of UNICEF, and Babatunde Osotimehin, head of UNFPA, called on countries and organizations worldwide to help end the practice. Read: Associated Press
IPS reported on 7 February that the United Nations is intensifying its global campaign to eliminate one of the most widely-condemned religious and cultural rituals in the world today, mostly in Africa and Asia: female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). The joint efforts by UNFPA and UNICEF - have resulted in over 6,000 communities abandoning the physically-harmful practice in countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia. Read: IPS
United Nations Radio reported on 7 February that over 6,000 communities across Africa have abandoned the harmful practice of female genital mutilation/cutting in the last three years, according to a joint United Nations programme designed to eliminate the practice. Three million girls face FGM/C every year in Africa and around the world. On the occasion, commemorated each year as the International Day against FGM/C, Gerry Adams spoke to the Coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme, Nafissatou Diop, about how culturally sensitive approaches are used to encourage abandonment of the practice. Read: United Nations Radio
CHINA: Xinhua reported on 8 February that Chiefs of two UN agencies have issued a joint statement calling on the international community to work toward eliminating female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF and Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, issued the statement asking the global community to join efforts to stop FGM/C on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C. Read: Xinhua
THE GAMBIA:The Daily Observer (The Gambia) reported on 10 February that over 6,000 communities across Africa have chosen to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), a joint United Nations Programme report from UNICEF, Gambia office revealed. According to the report, this development is designed to eliminate the practice. UNFPA and UNICEF, the report added, are partnering to end FGM/C, a practice that is serious, has immediate and long-term health effects and a clear violation of girls’ and women's fundamental rights. "We are working in 12 out of 17 priority African countries and have seen real results over the years of hard work and these are paying off with FGM/C prevalence rate decreasing," said Nafissatou Diop, coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on FGM/C in the joint report. Read: The Daily Observer
INDIA: PTI reported on 7 February that noting that three million women face the risk of FGM/C anually, the UN has called for the abolition of the practice, which has so far been carried out on 100 to 140 million women worldwide. FGM/C, according to the UN, has "serious immediate and long-term health effects and a clear violation of fundamental human rights." On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM/C, the world body called on the global community to end this practice. "Together, we can abolish FGM/C in one generation and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives," said a statement released by UNICEF and UNFPA. Read: PTI
TANZANIA: The Guardian reported on 8 February that UN representatives in the country have called for urgent steps to stop FGM/C and to protect women and girls from all forms of harmful practices in the country. The envoys - Julitta Onabanjo of UNFPA, Vibeke Jensen of UNESCO and Anna Collin-Falk of UN Women – issued the call in a joint statement released to observe the International Day for Zero Tolerance to FGM/C. They underlined a need for the government, communities and families to take urgent measures to protect women and girls from the effects of the malpractice, which in still deeply-rooted in some customs and traditions. Read: The Guardian
UNITED STATES: The Huffington Post published a blog by Evelyn Leopold on 13 February on progress toward eradicating FGM/C around the world. She wrote, “The good news is that female circumcision -- also known as female genital mutilation -- has decreased in a number of nations. The bad news is that the figures are still shocking after years of campaigns. The practice of cutting into female organs is prevalent in a number of countries in Africa, the Middle East and south Asia as well as among migrant families in Europe and the United States. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is usually carried out between infancy and 15 years of age to keep women "pure," marriageable and unable to enjoy sex. Consequences include severe bleeding, childbirth complications, and of course pain. The latest figures, released by the UNFPA and the UNICEF show that over 6,000 communities have chosen to abandon the practice in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia.
Ms. Magazine reported on 9 February that a joint programme between UNFPA and UNICEF eported that over 6,000 communities in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia have abandoned the practice of female genital mutilation/ cutting (FGM/C). Nafissatou Diop, coordinator of the UNFPA-UNICEF program, stated, "We are working in 12 out of 17 priority African countries and have seen real results...In Ethiopia, the prevalence rate has fallen from 80 per cent to 74 per cent, in Kenya from 32 percent to 27 percent, and in Egypt from 97 percent to 91 percent." Read: Ms. Magazine