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UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, Concludes First Official Visit to Jordan

AMMAN, 13 November 2017  Natalia Kanem, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, today concluded a three-day mission to Jordan.  

During the mission, Dr. Kanem met with several Government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh Abbadi and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury. In these meetings, Dr. Kanem expressed gratitude for the Government’s generous support for refugees and pledge to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals. She urged the Government to address some population issues, including child marriage, high fertility and a large youth population, and to continue its commitment to reproductive health, family planning and gender equity.

“The economic aspirations of the Jordanian national plans and targets for the 2030 agenda cannot be realized without investments that address gender inequities for marginalized women,” said Dr. Kanem. “This point applies not only to Jordan, but to all countries, as we have stated in our recent State of World Population report.”

Dr. Kanem also visited the UNFPA-supported Zaatari Maternity Centre, where over 8,000 babies were born in the past six years of crisis in Syria without a single maternal death. “This initiative clearly shows that where investments in quality reproductive health care, including family planning and safe delivery, are secured, maternal death is almost completely avoidable,” said Dr. Kanem.

While in the field, Dr. Kanem toured the UNFPA-supported Sweileh Community Health Centre, which has continued its open-door policy of providing reproductive health services to the most vulnerable in the country, including refugees.

“Investment in sexual and reproductive health and rights as a fundamental human right is the cornerstone of delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” said Dr. Kanem. “We look forward to explicit funding and integration of these into the national budget.”

This was Dr. Kanem’s first official visit to Jordan and the Middle East, since becoming the fifth UNFPA Executive Director on 3 October.