UNFPA promotes the right of all individuals to develop to their fullest potential. To exercise this right, all people, especially women, need access to information and services on reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health, to enable them to make informed and voluntary choices and decisions. As reflected in our mission statement, the Fund “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/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”

What is the UNFPA mandate?

The mandate of UNFPA, as established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1973 and reaffirmed in 1993, is (1) to build the knowledge and the capacity to respond to needs in population and family planning; (2) to promote awareness in both developed and developing countries of population problems and possible strategies to deal with these problems; (3) to assist their population problems in the forms and means best suited to the individual countries' needs; (4) to assume a leading role in the United Nations system in promoting population programmes, and to coordinate projects supported by the Fund.

At the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) these broad ideas were fleshed out in greater detail and developed to give more emphasis to the gender and human rights dimensions of population issues. UNFPA was given the lead role in helping countries carry out the Programme of Action, which was adopted by 179 governments at the Cairo Conference. Subsequent international agreements at ICPD+5, the Millennium Summit (2000) and the World Summit (2005) have linked UNFPA’s mandate with specific, time-bound goals, and given greater emphasis to the Fund’s role in HIV prevention and poverty reduction.

The three key areas of the UNFPA mandate -- reproductive health, gender equality and population and development strategies -- are summarized in itsMission Statement.

What does UNFPA stand for?

The United Nations Fund for Population Activities was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began funding population programmes in 1969. In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund, reflecting its lead role in the UN system in the area of population. The original abbreviation, UNFPA, was retained.

For general communications, UNFPA is used as the Fund’s working title in all languages. The full name is spelled out after the first reference. Official UN documents use the full written out name.