I’m over the moon about having something good to say about Barack Obama. Apparently his administration has decided to climb back into the leadership saddle at the UN:
After nearly a decade of an often tense and estranged relationship with the United Nations, Washington appears to be taking a much more conciliatory and multilateral approach to the world body.
U.S. President Barack Obama formally restored funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Wednesday by signing a major spending bill, prompting U.N. officials to again welcome the policy shift on women’s health-related rights.
In January, Obama issued an executive order lifting an eight-year ban on U.S. funding for overseas family-planning groups and clinics that perform or promote abortion or lobby for its legalisation.
“We are delighted that the United States will, once again, take a leading role in championing women’s reproductive health, and rights,” said UNFPA’s executive director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. “This is a great day for women and girls.”
During the administration of George W. Bush, the UNFPA lost its U.S. funding on charges that it was trying to promote abortion, an allegation that Obaid and other officials strongly denied.
In a recent statement, Obama said the resumption of U.S. funding would help not only to reduce poverty, but also improve the health of women and children and prevent HIV/AIDS.
UNFPA says due to the U.S. restrictions on funding its programmes, millions of women in poor countries were unable to access health care during pregnancy and that many of them died as a result.
Earlier this week, Obama signed the legislative omnibus funding bill containing a 50-million-dollar contribution to UNFPA. The funding had been in limbo since 2002 when Bush began to implement his ideologically-driven policies towards women’s rights. [more]
The UNFPA has been almost hopelessly underfunded. Among other things, it’s the UN agency responsible for the health of women in the DNC – those who have been raped and maimed by DNC rebels and soldiers. Much more money is needed than will be provided by this change, but it’s a wonderful new start. Thanks Barack!