Monitoring the Flow of Financial Resources to Population Activities

The ICPD goals and the MDGs cannot be achieved without the financial means to do so. UNFPA plays an important leadership role in mobilizing and monitoring financial resources for population and reproductive health programmes. It monitors both international and domestic financial resources for such programmes, and tracks progress towards achieving the financial resource goals that the ICPD agreed would be needed to implement its Programme of Action. Although donor assistance to population activities has been growing steadily over the past few years, the financial flows are uneven and provide less than half of the funding that is needed to achieve the vision of the International Conference on Population and Development.

Donor assistance to population activities (including family planning, reproductive health, interventions to address HIV and other sexually transmitted infection, and basic research and analysis) reached $8.7 billion in 2007, according to figures collected, analyzed and released in September 2009 by the UNFPA. Resources mobilized by developing countries are estimated at some $18.5 billion for that year. This year, UNFPA has broken down financial flows and cost estimates by region.

Tracking financial flows

Each year, UNFPA takes the lead in tracking resource flows for population activities, as called for by the ICPD Programme of Action. When that programme was developed 15 years ago, the cost of implementing a ‘population package’ in developing countries was foreseen to be US $20.5 billion in 2010. Current estimates put the actual needs for that year at about $65 billion. Much of the revised costs include substantially more money for HIV than was predicted, because initial estimates did not include treatment and care. The new estimates also take into consideration rising costs, and the understanding that higher level health care interventions, beyond primary health care costed in 1993, are needed to save women’s lives.

Both donor and developing countries must continue to mobilize resources to fully implement the ICPD agenda. The ICPD Programme of Action calls for approximately two thirds of the projected costs to come from domestic sources and one third, from the international donor community.

The challenge before the international community is to move from declarations of good intentions to active partnerships and investments. Mobilizing the resources to reach the ICPD goal of universal access to reproductive health care by 2015 is essential if the promises of the Millennium Declaration are to be realized.

The Resource Flows Project

In 1997, UNFPA began collaborating with the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) on The Resource Flows Project to monitor global financial flows for population and AIDS activities. UNFPA publishes its findings in its annual Financial Resource Flows for Population Activities report. The report is intended to be a tool for donor and developing country governments, multilateral organizations and agencies, private foundations and non-governmental organizations to monitor progress in achieving the ICPD financial resource targets.

NIDI collects the data for UNFPA, using a system of classification of population activities that reflects the costed population package of the ICPD Programme of Action. It provides information on donor assistance and domestic expenditures for population activities, including family planning services, basic reproductive health services, programmes related to HIVand other sexually transmitted infections, and basic research, data collection and population and development policy analysis.

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