Overview

The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

UNFPA expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.

Since UNFPA started working in the Asia and the Pacific region, the number – and rate – of women dying from pregnancy or childbirth has nearly halved. Women are better able to plan when to have children – and how many. Young people are more connected and empowered than ever before.

But not everyone has benefitted equally from this progress. In Asia and the Pacific, deaths and poor health among women remain unacceptably high. Young women and men often face difficulties in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services. Often left unprepared by school, young people bear a high risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. As a result, too many adolescents give birth and too many women resort to unsafe abortions.

While the region has seen impressive progress in combating HIV, the epidemic continues to outpace the response and new HIV infections are concentrated among key affected populations.

The Asia and Pacific region has among the poorest development indicators for women and girls. Persistent discrimination and gender-based violence remain widespread, and harmful practices - such as child marriage and prenatal sex selection - reinforce gender inequality across the region.

Much more needs to be done to ensure that all individuals can exercise their basic human rights, including those related to the most intimate and fundamental aspects of life. As societies grapple with the effects of population ageing and migration, new policies are needed to build human capital through investment in health, education and job opportunities.

Ensuring every pregnancy is wanted

Few things have a greater impact on the life of a woman than the number and spacing of her children. That’s why international agreements going back decades affirm that individuals should have the right and the means to freely decide when - or if - to start a family and how many children to bear. Yet, in this new century, over 140 million women in Asia who want to avoid or delay childbearing still lack access to the quality services and supplies needed to manage their fertility.

Supporting maternal health

We know how to safeguard the health of pregnant women and new mothers. The first step is to ensure that women can plan their pregnancies and space their births. Skilled birth attendance at delivery, with backup emergency obstetric care and essential supplies in place, is also critical.

Yet maternal deaths in many parts of the Asia- Pacific region remain unacceptably high. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of reducing maternal death and disability is finding ways to reach all women, even those in the poorest, most remote areas, or in times of natural or man-made disasters. This involves strengthening health systems. It is also critical that pregnant women are able to access all the care they need, from prenatal HIV testing to postnatal care for newborns, at the same clinic or health centre. This approach saves money and ultimately saves lives.

Helping young people fulfill their potential

The Asia and Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s young people aged 10 to 24. Their reproductive choices will shape future demographic trends.

UNFPA advocates for the rights of young people, including the right to accurate information and services related to sexuality and reproductive health. Empowered with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and make informed decisions, they can realize their full potential and contribute to economic and social transformation.

Investing in young people, especially adolescent girls, is one of the smartest investments any country can make. As parents, teachers and leaders of the next generation, they can help break the cycle of poverty, strengthen the social fabric and create a sustainable future.

How we work

UNFPA’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific was established in 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand, to provide a key link between UNFPA’s global vision and strategies, and the needs of the region and programme countries.

Our Regional Office in Bangkok and our Subregional Office in Suva, Fiji, provide strategic support and technical expertise to 23 country offices across Asia and the Pacific. We deliver policy advice, guidance, training and support to empower our partners and colleagues in the field.

UNFPA is a catalyst for progress in the Asia-Pacific region. Working with governments and through partnerships with other United Nations agencies, civil society, parliamentarians, and the private sector, we make a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people, especially the most vulnerable.

In particular, the Regional Office provides leadership in positioning the agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) at the forefront of poverty reduction and development strategies, policies, and debates throughout the region. This includes efforts to improve the quality of result-based management, aid effectiveness and coherence within the UN system.

UNFPA anticipates and responds to tomorrow’s challenges today. We help countries use population data to better understand and address the region’s demographic changes. And we help ensure that the reproductive health and rights of women and young people, and achieving gender equality, remain at the very centre of development