UN organisations such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) have the expertise and political legitimacy required to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality and conflict, as well as pandemics like COVID-19. Through multilateral cooperation, Switzerland can bring its values and interests to bear in the community of states and drive forward the reform of the UN development system. By supporting these organisations, Switzerland is making an effective contribution to tackling the global challenges of the 21st century.
Health and the rule of law at the heart of Switzerland's concerns
Around 800 women still die every day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The UNFPA aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health, thereby reducing maternal mortality and improving the living conditions of women and girls. Thanks to the UNFPA, a total of 87 million women and young people were able to access health services between 2018 and 2020.
The UNDP plays a key role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is present in 170 countries and is the SDC's most important UN partner. Conflicts and violence hinder the economic development of countries in the long term. The UNDP aims to help them recover through its efforts to strengthen the rule of law in particularly difficult contexts, for example in the police, judicial and penal systems in insecure regions. It also supports authorities in fragile contexts to ensure they are better able to provide basic services for the population.
Promoting gender equality and the rights of women and girls
Switzerland is committed to promoting gender equality and the rights of women and girls worldwide. UN Women is an important multilateral partner in this. The organisation has been instrumental in improving the legal framework for gender equality and strengthening women's rights worldwide. Switzerland's partnership with UN Women is helping to improve women's access to the labour market and create the necessary legal foundations for women to participate in the economy on an equal footing.
In the wake of the pandemic, the number of children not attending school almost doubled and child poverty also increased significantly. UNICEF advocates for the rights of all children worldwide, with a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable among them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF helped children to catch up as quickly as possible on the schoolwork they missed due to school closures. The aid organisation also supports children suffering from severe and acute undernourishment due to food shortages.
Switzerland makes its voice heard
The multilateral development system to which these four partner organisations belong is currently undergoing a major reform process. Switzerland is actively supporting this process, including by exerting influence on the boards of UN organisations and on the ground in partner countries.
The reform is an ambitious endeavour that aims to strengthen coordination and cooperation within the UN and with external partners in order to achieve greater impact. This will improve efficiency, allowing Switzerland's contributions to support more people and ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.
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