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RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS DURING COVID-19

UNFPA is the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency. Since UNFPA started its work in 1969, the world has seen progress: The number and rate of women dying from
complications of pregnancy or childbirth has been halved. Families are healthier. Young people are more connected and empowered than ever before. Women and girls are empowered to make choices on their reproductive rights.

More effort however, needs to be focused on those left behind. In Sri Lanka one in five (20.4%) ever-partnered women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Women’s Wellbeing Survey, 2019). Young people have limited access to comprehensive sexuality education with a reported 50% unaware about most aspects of basic sexual and reproductive issues, which exposes them to higher risks of HIV and unplanned pregnancies (National Youth Health Survey, 2013 & 2014). The COVID-19 pandemic has also hampered progress, further exacerbating inequalities and existing vulnerabilities. Much more needs to be done to ensure a world in which all individuals can exercise their human rights, including those that relate to the most intimate and fundamental aspects of life.

UNFPA is working in Sri Lanka and the world-over to achieve three transformative results in line with the International Conference on Population and Development Agenda to ensure:
»» Zero unmet need for family planning
»» Zero preventable maternal deaths
»» Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices

To drive these results locally, UNFPA in Sri Lanka dedicated the year 2020 to comprehensively mainstream results based management across all functions of the organisation.