Press Release

A new "Transformative Agenda" for women, youth and adolescents in the Pacific

9 August 2018
A mother and her baby in the Solomon Islands (Image: UNFPA Pacific)

Suva, Fiji / Canberra, Australia, 9 August, 2018—The Government of Australia and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, have entered into a partnership with six Pacific governments to transform lives by ensuring more women and young people in the Pacific can access sexual and reproductive health services.

The new four-year ‘Transformative Agenda for Women, Youth and Adolescents’ program will focus on ensuring more people have access to quality family planning information and services. These services are critical to improving peoples’ health and wellbeing, particularly for women and youth. With AUD 30 million in funding from Australia, the programme is being launched in partnership with the governments of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, the Honorable Dr Sharman Stone said “The Transformative Agenda represents a major new investment by the Australian Government to expand access to vital sexual and reproductive health services in the Pacific. These services save lives, improve national health outcomes and promote economic growth. For women and girls, access to family planning in particular can have a profound impact, enabling them to stay in education for longer, and participate equally in society and the economy.”

The Transformative Agenda will assist Pacific governments to tackle rates of unmet need for family planning that are amongst the highest in the world, and address the increasing levels of adolescent pregnancies in ten out of the 14 countries in the region. Both issues have serious negative implications for women’s and girls’ wellbeing.

It will work with national governments, supporting their efforts to ensure sexual and reproductive health services respond effectively to women and young people as well as vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities. It will also work to build national capacity to maintain these services in events such as natural disasters, to help reduce the impact on affected populations.  

The Transformative Agenda will be complemented through Australia’s new $10 million global contribution for UNFPA Supplies, UNFPA’s commodity procurement fund.  A total of $4.4 million of this will be used in the Pacific to improve the procurement and distribution of reproductive health commodities. A key programme aim will be to ensure a range of modern contraceptives are available in all health service delivery points in the six countries.

Bruce Campbell, UNFPA’s Director in the Pacific, said “All the work that we do, from pregnancy through childhood and adolescence to adulthood, aims to ensure that individuals, families and communities are empowered to make key life choices from a rights-based perspective. The ability of women and girls to make these choices is both essential and truly transformative. Achieving universal access to family planning by 2030 is also a key commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals.”

For more information, please contact:
In Suva, Dr Tomoko Kurokawa, UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office, +679 323 0702, email: kurokawa@unfpa.org                                                                                                                     

In Canberra, DFAT Media Liaison, +61 (02) 6261 1555, email: media@dfat.gov.au