Funds and Programmes

HQ location

New York

Date established

11 July 1967 (it actually began operations in 1969)


2211(XXI) (1966)


Executive Director

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is a United Nations development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

As part of the UN humanitarian system, UNFPA takes the lead in providing supplies and services to protect reproductive health, with an emphasis on the special needs and vulnerabilities of women and young people. The Fund supports various data collection activities, including censuses, to provide detailed information for planning and rapid health assessments to allow for appropriate, effective and efficient relie£ It also assists stricken communities as they move beyond the acute crisis and enter the reconstruction phase.

Its work is guided by the Programme of Action, adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development, and the Millennium Development Goals. UNFPA places a strong emphasis on the human rights, including reproductive rights, of individual women and men.

The three core areas of UNFPA's work are:

  • Reproductive health
  • Gender equality
  • Population and development strategies.

In all its work, UNFPA has three cross-cutting themes: mainstreaming young people's concerns, emergencies and humanitarian assistance, and special attention for marginalised and excluded populations. It works in partnership with govemments, along with other UN agencies, communities, non-governmental organisations, foundations and the private sector to raise awareness and mobilise support and resources.

UNFPA was set up by the Secretary-General in 1967 after GA res. 2211(XXI) (1996) called on UN system organisation to provide assistance in the field of population. Originally called the UN fund for Population Activities, it was then under the management of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator. In 1972, GA res. 3019 (XXVII) gave UNFRA a separate identity and designated the UNDP Governing Council to be its governing body, subject to conditions to be established by the Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC). ECOSOC res. 1763 (LIV) (1973) set downUNPA's aims and purposes, and tasked the Fund with playing a leading UN role in promoting popualtion programmes. ECOSOC res. 2025 (LXI) (1976) endosed a set of general principles for the allocation of UNFPA resources.

GA res. 34/104 (1979) reaffirmed the 1972 resolution, including the Fund's status as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly in terms of article 22 of the Charter. GA res. 42/430 (1987) renamed the Fund and the UN Population Fund but its offical abbrevation, UNFPA, remained the same. GA res. 48/162 (1993) transformed the governing body of UNDP/UNFPA into the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board, to provide inter-governmenatl support to, and supervision of, the Fund in accordance with the overall policy guidance of the General Assembly and ECOSOC.

UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board decision 95/15 (1995) determined that UNFPA's future programmed of assistance should follow the principles in Chapter II of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994. Executive Board decision 2000/11 (2000) encouraged UNFPA to fulfil its leadership role as an advocate for reproductive health, population and development issues.

UNFPA is a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly. The Fund is governed by decisions adopted by the UNDP Governing Council (1973-93) and the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board (1994 to present). Since 2007, UNFPA has decentralised its operations as a way to become a more field-centred, efficient  and strategic partner to the countries it serves. Toward this end, it established five regional and six sub-regional offices that help coordinate work in about 150 countries, areas and territories through a network of 129 countries offices.

UNFPA reports through the UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board to ECOSOC, which in turn reports to the General Assembly. UNFPA's income in 2010 totalled $870 million, including $491 million in voluntary contribution from governments and private donors. This compares with a total of $783 million in 2009 including  $469.4 milliom in voluntary contributions. Regular resource income increased by 4.5 percent from 2009 to 2010, and total income by 11.11 percent. In 2010, total expenditure increased by 0.2 percent ($1.4 million) to $801.4 million. UNFPA reported that it closed 2010 in robust financial health.

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