Time to shut down UNFPA, says think tank
IPN Press release
6 September, London – Today, as the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) releases yet another tawdry plea for money dressed up as a “report”, London-based think-tank International Policy Network calls for this dubious UN agency to be shut down.
Today’s report (“A Passage to Hope”) is about migration – which at first glance seems to be a far cry from its mission. It does make a link to population – but only by repeating fallacious conventional wisdoms and by attacking straw men. The report exemplifies the extent to which UNFPA is suffering from mission creep.
When the UNFPA was established, in 1979, it was charged with reducing population growth in order to prevent the spectre of ‘overpopulation’. In the pursuit of this mission, it actively promoted policies, such as forced sterilisation, which fundamentally violated women’s rights. Meanwhile, it has become clear that ‘overpopulation’ was a misconceived notion based on false premises.
It is now widely accepted that with new agricultural technologies and better water management systems, the world will easily be able to accommodate a substantially larger population. Meanwhile, the UN has revised down its estimates of population growth.
In response, UNFPA has adjusted its mission. It now exists to promote “the rights of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity” – an extremely wide and apparently innocuous mission, which is wide open to abuse. As Caroline Boin of IPN comments:
“UNFPA’s mission might just as well be to promote motherhood and apple pie. Actually, that would at least be a more coherent and focussed objective. Instead, it promotes 'awareness' on all manner of issues, from multiculturalism to migration, from ending fistula to ending poverty. And let’s not forget its important work in providing condoms to tsunami survivors. The organisation is clearly on a mission to justify its own existence.
“What is disturbing is that the UNFPA spends hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money every year – on activities of little merit and with almost no oversight. It is time to shut down this dubious organisation.”
Boin said that if the UN really wanted to provide useful input to the debate about migration, then today’s report should have examined the fundamental causes of migration, and the barriers which inhibit legal migration and thus provide incentives for human trafficking.
“Immigrants scramble to Dubai, Hong Kong, London or Miami – but not to Harare, Pyongyang, or Havana. It is no coincidence that the world’s freest economies are also the most prosperous, so immigrants vote with their feet: they flee bleak prospects and oppression in their own countries, and willingly choose countries where freedom and opportunity prevail,” said Ms. Boin.