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[Geneva, Switzerland], UNAIDS, . 29 p.AIDS is affecting women and girls in increasing numbers: globally, women comprise almost 50% of women living with HIV. Nearly 25 years into the epidemic, gender inequality and the low status of women remain two of the principal drivers of HIV. Yet current AIDS responses do not, on the whole, tackle the social, cultural and economic factors that put women at risk of HIV, and that unduly burden them with the epidemic's consequences. Women and girls have less access to education and HIV information, tend not to enjoy equality in marriage and sexual relations, and remain the primary caretakers of family and community members suffering from AIDS-related illnesses. To be more effective, AIDS responses must address the factors that continue to put women at risk. The world's governments have repeatedly declared their commitment to improve the status of women and acknowledged the linkage with HIV. In some areas, progress has been made. By and large, though, efforts have been small-scale, half-hearted and haphazard. Major opportunities to stem the global AIDS epidemic have been missed. It is time the world's leaders lived up to their promises. That's why the UNAIDS-led Global Coalition on Women and AIDS is calling for a massive scaling up of AIDS responses for women and girls. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2006.  p.Even in times of peace, it is usually women who look after children, the sick, the injured and the elderly. When emergencies strike, this burden of care can multiply. In many cases, women become the sole providers and caretakers for their households, and sometimes the families of others -- especially when men have been killed, injured or must leave their communities to fight or rebuild. During crisis and in refugee situations, women and girls become the ultimate humanitarian workers. They obtain food and fuel for their families, even when it is unsafe to do so. They are responsible for water collection, even when water systems have been destroyed and alternate sources are far away. They help to organize or rebuild schools. They protect the vulnerable and care for sick and disabled family members and neighbours. Women are also likely to take on additional tasks, including construction and other physical labour, and activities to generate income for their families. In many conflict zones, women's actions also help to bring about and maintain peace. Women care for orphaned children who might otherwise become combatants. They organize grass-roots campaigns, sometimes across borders, to call for an end to fighting. When the situation stabilizes, women work together to mend their torn communities. They help rebuild, restore traditions and customs, and repair relationships -- all while providing care for the next generation. (excerpt)
The ICPD vision: How far has the 11-year journey taken us? Report from a UNFPA panel discussion at the IUSSP XXV International Population Conference, Tours, France, 19 July 2005.
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2006. 54 p.UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, decided to sponsor a Panel debate at the 25th IUSSP International Population Conference on progress towards achievement of the Plan of Action following the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which took place in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. The title of the debate was "The ICPD Vision: How far has the eleven-year journey taken us?" Four distinguished speakers were invited to act as panel members. Two demographers, Professors John Cleland and Ian Pool, both advocated for a much stronger focus on population dynamics and were critical of the ICPD and, to some extent, also of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for not paying sufficient attention to macro-level demography. Two supporters of the Cairo agenda, Dr Pascoal Mocumbi and Professor Gita Sen, both stressed some important gains in the eleven years since the ICPD, but also stressed some of the constraints on significant progress including inadequate attention to health systems and the roles of wider political and cultural shifts. This document begins with an introduction and commentary on the panel debate by Professor John Hobcraft, which tries to place the discussions in their wider context. The second part contains revised statements from the four Panel participants: Professors John Cleland, Ian Pool and Gita Sen; and Dr Pascoal Mocumbi. The discussion was lively and the issues raised are of huge importance. The panelists were asked to relate their remarks not only to the ICPD, but also the MDGs, particularly the first goal of halving poverty by 2015. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2005.  p.Contraceptives, drugs, and medical supplies required for reproductive health services in developing regions cost US$1.84 billion in 2000, will cost $2.34 billion in 2005, and will rise in cost to $3.43 billion by 2015. Annual costs will be 86 per cent higher, in constant dollars, in 2015 than in 2000 (Figure 1). These estimates cover contraceptives for family planning, condoms for protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and drugs and medical supplies for safe deliveries and other reproductive health services. Drugs and medical supplies make up over half the total cost, contraceptives around one-third, and condoms for protection the remaining one-eighth or so. The estimates are detailed in this report, which attempts to assess the overall costs of reproductive health commodities, which UNFPA has traditionally had a major role in helping provide for developing regions. These commodities are essential to achieve the goal of providing universal access to reproductive health care, as mandated in 1994 by the International Conference on Population and Development. The report is not intended to specify the quantities and cost of commodities needed in particular countries but rather tries to arrive at estimates of global requirements. Nevertheless, the calculations are based on detailed consideration of regional and even country data where they are available. The report assesses the number of cases in developing regions of each relevant reproductive health condition, projects these numbers over 15 years, determines the commodities required as part of appropriate treatment, estimates the proportion of cases that do receive such treatment, specifies how coverage should rise in the future, and calculates the commodity costs for all the cases to be covered. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2005 Mar. 30 p.The Millennium Project Report identifies the mounting of vigorous campaigns to combat violence against women as a possible "quick win" action that should be taken to accelerate achievement of the MDGs. The goal is to mobilize leadership at the national, regional and global levels to make violence unacceptable. The Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians has made a commitment to combating gender-based violence (GBV) by taking the lead in developing innovative interventions including: drafting and lobbying for appropriate legislation; raising awareness through advocacy; building partnership by enhancing national, regional and international networks; and raising community awareness about gender-based violence. This kit is a contribution to the realization of the Network's goal. It is a tool whose aim is to outline the problem of gender-based violence, elaborate its linkages to poverty, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and conflict, and discuss its impact on a nation's development. The kit refers to international commitments made by governments combined with other regional and international instruments, which they can use to mount national campaigns to halt gender-based violence in all its forms. It is designed to serve as a basis for advocacy work, and as a tool to assist policy and decision makers to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs. (excerpt)
From microfinance to macro change: integrating health education and microfinance to empower women and reduce poverty.
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2006. 26 p.This document is a call to action for development agencies, governments, MFIs and donors that are committed to finding practical strategies to fulfill the shared vision for human development. Built upon the backbone of a poverty alleviation mechanism already reaching more than 66.6 million of the world's poorest families, the proposed strategy calls for combining reproductive health education with microfinance services in developing countries. The first section of the document acknowledges and reviews the intimate link between poverty, poor health outcomes and inequality. The next section presents microfinance as an effective poverty reduction strategy and reviews the evidence for its impact on poverty as well as its broader impacts. The third section proposes microfinance as a vehicle for improving reproductive health outcomes, HIV prevention and women's empowerment by combining health education with microfinance programs. Summaries of case study institutions in Bolivia that are already employingthis strategy are presented, along with evidence of the impact of combined microfinance and health education services. Finally, recommendations for action are made to development agencies, governments, MFIs and donors to promote and expand this essential strategy. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2005. 29 p.The modern human rights system is based on a series of legally binding international treaties that make use of principles of ethics and social justice, many of which are directly relevant to population issues and reproductive health. Agencies throughout the United Nations system are adopting a right-based approach to replace the former 'basic needs' approach. Under a human rights framework, governments are the primary duty bearers. They have obligations to put in place equitable laws and systems that enable individuals to enjoy their rights, and to seek judicial recourse under the rule of law when they have been violated. As rights holders, people can claim the rights that are recognized as legitimate entitlements. This approach emphasizes the empowerment of those who are affected by policies and their participation in the decision-making process. By emphasizing fundamental values, a rights-based approach can shape effective population, development, reproductive health and gender equality programmes and policies. UNFPA is convinced that the effective integration of a human rights-based approach into programmes will advance equality, social inclusion, accountability and fairness in the distribution of resources in society. As human rights lie at the core of the mandate of the UN, both the UN Secretary-General's Programme for Reform (1997) and its second phase, An Agenda for Further Change (2001) outlined the adoption of a human rights-based approach (HRBA) by all UN agencies. It is UN's policy to make human rights a crosscutting priority for the whole system. In line with the ICPD, the promotion and protection of human rights are fundamental to the work of UNFPA at all levels. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2005.  p.As of 2004, progress in reproductive health is evident in many countries, where family planning is the norm and fewer women are dying in childbirth. But much more needs to be done, especially in those countries with far to go in meeting development goals. Three actions are central to saving women's lives: family planning, skilled attendance at birth, and access to emergency obstetric care. Ten years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, more than half a million women still die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Lack of care heightens the risk to mothers and babies: one third of all pregnant women worldwide receive no health care during pregnancy, and 60 per cent of all deliveries take place outside of health facilities. Poverty makes the dangers even greater: the lifetime risk of a woman dying in pregnancy or childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa is 1 in 16, compared to 1 in 2,800 in developed countries. The Cairo conference called for universal access to reproductive health care by 2015. (excerpt)
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2006. 71 p. (Policy Paper Poverty Series No. 14.1 (E); SHS/CCT/2006/PI/H/3)Trafficking in human beings, especially women and girls, is not new. Historically, it has taken many forms, but in the context of globalization, has acquired shocking new dimensions. It is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon involving multiple stakeholders at the institutional and commercial level. It is a demand-driven global business with a huge market for cheap labour and commercial sex confronting often insufficient or unexercised policy frameworks and trained personnel to prevent it. Mozambique is but one of an estimated 10 African countries (Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) that fuel the human trafficking business that feeds South Africa, the regional magnet. The recent history of armed conflict, extremes of dislocation and loss, reconstruction, political upheaval and deep social scars, together with its particular geography and the AIDS pandemic make Mozambique an inviting target for organized crime. The impact of these events on women and children, together with systemic gender discrimination and the absence of protective legislation make them particularly exposed to human trafficking. (excerpt)
Paris, France, UNESCO, 2006. 70 p. (Policy Paper Poverty Series No. 14.2 (E); SHS/CCT/2006/PI/H/2)Trafficking in human beings, especially women and girls, is not new. Historically it has taken many forms, but in the context of globalization, has acquired shocking new dimensions. It is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon involving multiple stakeholders at the institutional and commercial level. It is a demand-driven global business with a huge market for cheap labour and commercial sex confronting often insufficient or unexercised policy frameworks or trained personnel to prevent it. Nigeria has acquired a reputation for being one of the leading African countries in human trafficking with cross-border and internal trafficking. Trafficking of persons is the third largest crime after economic fraud and the drug trade. Decades of military regimes in Nigeria have led to the institutionalized violation of human rights and severe political, social and economic crises. This negatively impacts the development of community participation, especially of women and children, despite international institutions designed to advance their causes. In addition, the oil boom in the 1970s created opportunities for migration both inside and outside of the country. This created avenues for exploitation, for international trafficking in women and children, for forced labor and for prostitution. (excerpt)
Paris, France, UNESCO, Bureau of Strategic Planning, Section for Women and Gender Equality, 2006 Jan. 46 p. (BSP/WGE/2006/PI/1)A major step towards the attainment of the goal of equal rights for women was taken on 18 December 1979, when the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Its adoption concluded consultations over a five-year period by various working groups, the Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly. The Passport to Equality is issued by virtue of the right of every human being, without distinction of sex, to enjoy the basic rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The purpose of the Passport is to make women and men all over the world aware of the existence of the Convention. CEDAW establishes the universality of the principle of equality of rights between men and women and makes provision for measures to ensure equality of rights for women throughout the world. It reflects the depth of the exclusion and restriction practised against women solely on the basis of their gender. (excerpt)
Forced Migration Review. 2006 May; (25):36.Lebanon has a significant problem of trafficking in persons that particularly affects foreign women recruited as domestic workers and foreign women in the sex industry. The trafficking of Lebanese and foreign children into street begging and sexual exploitation is a quantitatively smaller but no less serious problem. Large numbers of migrant women come to Lebanon to serve as domestic workers in private households. NGOs estimate that there are between 120,000 and 200,000 domestic migrant workers in a country of only four million people. Sri Lankan women are the largest group, followed by Filipinas and Ethiopians. The government fails to exercise due diligence in protecting them from exploitation and abuse: The authorities confiscate passports on arrival and hand them to employers who retain them to control their 'investment' of $1,000-2,000 for the agency charge and the airfare; Without passports, women are liable to arrest, criminal conviction as an undocumented migrant and deportation; Women generally sign a contract prior to departure for Lebanon but on arrival find themselves forced to sign another contract for a significantly lower salary; only this contract has legal validity in Lebanon even though it was concluded in a situation characterised by deception and duress; Domestic workers are not allowed to change employers during their stay. (excerpt)
Securing equality, engendering peace: a guide to policy and planning on women, peace and security (UN SCR 1325).
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women [INSTRAW], 2006.  p.What must be done in order to transform written words into reality? One of today's greatest development challenges is turning policy into practice. This is especially the case in the realm of women's rights and gender equality, where the commitments made at the international and national levels remain far from the day-to-day realities of women's lives. This guide examines one of the crucial steps on the path towards the full implementation of existing laws, namely the formation and implementation of concrete policies and plans. More specifically, this guide concentrates on the creation of action plans on the issue of women, peace and security (WPS). The purpose of this guide is to help facilitate the development of realistic action plans on women, peace and security through the provision of good practices, specific recommendations and a six-step model process. The guide is designed as a resource for governments, United Nations and regional organisations as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in developing plans and policies on women, peace and security issues. (excerpt)
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, .  p.This document is one important step in a process for improving access to quality of care in family planning by reviewing the medical eligibility criteria for selecting methods of contraception. It updates the second edition of Improving access to quality care in family planning: medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use, published in 2000, and summarizes the main recommendations of an expert Working Group meeting held at the World Health Organization, Geneva, 21-24 October 2003. The Working Group brought together 36 participants from 18 countries, including representatives of many agencies and organizations. The document provides recommendations for appropriate medical eligibility criteria based on the latest clinical and epidemiological data and is intended to be used by policy-makers, family planning programme managers and the scientific community. It aims to provide guidance to national family planning/reproductive health programmes in the preparation of guidelines for service deliveryof contraceptives. It should not be seen or used as the actual guidelines but rather as a reference. (excerpt)
Good practices in combating and eliminating violence against women. Expert group meeting. Organized by: United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 17 to 20 May 2005, Vienna, Austria. Report of the expert group meeting.
[New York, New York], United Nations, Division for the Advancement of Women, 2005.  p.Comprehensive multidisciplinary strategies are necessary to combat violence against women. Governments, non-governmental organizations and women's rights activists all over the world have used different approaches in dealing with violence against women, with varying degrees of success. To gain an understanding of what makes an approach to combat violence against women effective, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, convened a group of experts in Vienna from 17 to 20 May 2005. The purpose of the meeting was to identify the factors which make a specific initiative, or type of initiative, a good practice example, evaluate the determinants or indicators of the effectiveness of strategies in various areas and identify legislation, plans, policies and other approaches that have been effective in combating violence against women. The aim of the expert group meeting was to arrive at a set of recommendations on 'good practice examples' in combating and eliminating violence against women. This report lays out the expert group's recommendations for elements of effective practices in combating violence against women in the areas of law, prevention, and provision of services. (excerpt)
Contraception Report. 1998 Sep; 9(4): p..Current recommendations suggest IUDs should not be the first method of choice for women with HIV infection. The World Health Organization and International Planned Parenthood Federation recommend that HIV-infected women not use the IUD for contraception. These recommendations are based upon theoretical concerns about an increased risk of infection and possible increased risk of female-to-male HIV transmission from increased menstrual blood loss. The recommendation also reflects concern about behavioral characteristics that may make some HIV-positive women more susceptible to STDs and PID. Research conducted in Kenya by Family Health International suggests that carefully selected HIV-infected women may safely use the IUD for contraception. Researchers enrolled 649 women who otherwise met eligibility criteria for IUD insertion, including a low risk of STDs. Women came from two family planning clinics in Nairobi, Kenya. (excerpt)
Contraception Report. 1998 Sep; 9(4): p..In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) released revised medical eligibility criteria guidelines to assist family planning agencies and clinicians prescribe contraceptives. By eliminating overly restrictive barriers to use, WHO hopes to increase access to and use of birth control methods. This article briefly reviews some of the important WHO guidelines concerning intrauterine devices. Introduction WHO researchers evaluated the benefits and risks of using IUDs in healthy women and in women with certain medical conditions or individual characteristics, such as parity and exposure or susceptibility to sexually transmitted diseases. A previous article describes WHO's methods for devising the criteria in detail. Briefly, the eligibility criteria were developed by international experts from many organizations. WHO experts reviewed the medical literature from the past 10 years and devised recommended medical eligibility criteria for different contraceptive methods. One main concern was to address outdated contraindications. WHO notes that "The contraindications for many contraceptives tend to become very rigid, resulting in denial of contraceptive access to many women. Relative contraindications tend to become absolute." (excerpt)
Contraception Report. 1999 Jan; 9(6): p..A recent WHO-sponsored study has demonstrated that the progestin levonorgestrel, used alone, is a highly effective and well-tolerated form of emergency contraception. With the proportion of pregnancies prevented up to 95% - depending on the timeliness of administration - the levonorgestrel regimen proved more effective than the most commonly used regimen, the Yuzpe method. The Yuzpe method employs a dual-hormone (ethinyl estradiol plus levonorgestrel) approach to preventing pregnancy. Despite the Yuzpe regimen's 75% efficacy rate (a weighted average from 10 studies) the method has been associated with drawbacks. About 50% of users experience nausea and 20% report vomiting, which can reduce patient compliance. (excerpt)
Using UN process indicators assess needs in emergency obstetric services:Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia.
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2007 Mar; 96(3):233-240.We report on assessments of the needs for emergency obstetric care in 3 West African countries. All (or almost all) medical facilities were visited to determine whether there are sufficient facilities of adequate quality to manage the expected number of obstetric emergencies. Medical facilities able to provide emergency obstetric care were poorly distributed and often were unable to provide needed procedures. Too few obstetricians and other providers, lack of on-the-job training and supervision were among the challenges faced in these countries. (author's)
PLoS Medicine. 2006 Apr; 3(4):e211.One of the most unsettling images for newcomers to many parts of Africa is the sight of undernourished women bearing unfeasibly large vessels of water long distances over rough terrain to supply the needs of their families. A sense of outrage that anyone should have to live like this in the 21st century forms the basis of the humanitarian imperative that drives development programs, especially those that focus on basic needs such as access to safe water. When such a program reduces from three hours to 15 minutes the time that women spend fetching water each day, surely it can be described as a success, without the need for any "scientific" assessment of what has been achieved? In this issue of PLoS Medicine, we publish a study that did assess such a program. Mhairi Gibson and Ruth Mace (DOI: 10.1371/journal. pmed.0030087)--from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom--compared villages in Ethiopia that benefited from a tapped water supply with other villages that did not. Outcome measures included the nutritional status of women and children, mortality rates, and birth rates. There were a number of surprising findings, most notably the large increase in birthrate in the villages where the water supply intervention took place. (excerpt)
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, FHI, 2002.  p. (FHI Research Brief No. 6; RB-02-06E)Community-based workers worldwide use checklists to determine whether women are medically eligible to use combined oral contraceptives (COCs) or depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). However, problems may arise when outdated and inaccurate checklists are used. With input from dozens of experts, Family Health International developed new checklists that are easily understandable and consistent with the World Health Organization's (WHO) medical eligibility requirements. (author's)
WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women. Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women's responses. Summary report.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 205.  p.The WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women is a landmark research project, both in its scope and in how it was carried out. For the results presented in this report, specially trained teams collected data from over 24 000 women from 15 sites in 10 countries representing diverse cultural settings: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan, Namibia, Peru, Samoa, Serbia and Montenegro, Thailand, and the United Republic of Tanzania. The use of a standardized and robust methodology has substantially reduced many of the difficulties that affected earlier work on violence against women, and produced results that permit comparison and analyses across settings. Other strengths of the study include the multinational participatory method used to develop the research protocol and questionnaire, the involvement of women's organizations in the research teams, the attention to addressing ethical and safety considerations, and the emphasis on careful selection and training of interviewers and on capacity building of all members of the research teams. Another important feature was the Study's link with policy processes, achieved through the cooperation of members of the research team with policy-making bodies on violence, and the involvement of consultative committees that included key stakeholders at the country level. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations, General Assembly, 2006 Aug 25. 23 p. (A/61/292)The present report provides a review and update of the programme and activities of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for 2005. The report tracks overall progress and highlights concrete results in the implementation of its multi-year funding framework 2004-2007 during the year under review. The report concludes with a set of recommendations on how the development and organizational effectiveness of UNIFEM can be further strengthened. (author's)
New York, New York, UNIFEM, 2006.  p.At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women and girls is perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation. It devastates lives, fractures families and communities, and stalls development. Failing economies, coupled with discrimination and inequality, heighten women's vulnerability to violence, keeping them dependent and their options limited. In conflict and post-conflict countries, women are singled out for sexual abuse and human trafficking by competing armed forces. Since its founding in 1976, UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, has made ending violence against women a priority. (excerpt)
Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2003; 24 Suppl 4:S99-S103.Iron deficiency is considered to be one of most prevalent forms of malnutrition, yet there has been a lack of consensus about the nature and magnitude of the health consequences of iron deficiency in populations. This paper presents new estimates of the public health importance of iron-deficiency anemia (IDA), which were made as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2000 project. Iron deficiency is considered to contribute to death and disability as a risk factor for maternal and perinatal mortality, and also through its direct contributions to cognitive impairment, decreased work productivity, and death from severe anemia. Based on meta-analysis of observational studies, mortality risk estimates for maternal and perinatal mortality are calculated as the decreased risk in mortality for each 1 g/dl increase in mean pregnancy hemoglobin concentration. On average, globally, 50% of the anemia is assumed to be attributable to iron deficiency. Globally, iron deficiency ranks number 9 among 26 risk factors included in the GBD 2000, and accounts for 841,000 deaths and 35,057,000 disability-adjusted life years lost. Africa and parts of Asia bear 71% of the global mortality burden and 65% of the disability-adjusted life years lost, whereas North America bears 1.4% of the global burden. There is an urgent need to develop effective and sustainable interventions to control iron-deficiency anemia. This will likely not be achieved without substantial involvement of the private sector. (author's)