Development is a multi-dimensional process. Changes in one area reinforce changes in other areas. Reproductive health, which affects many aspects of social and economic life, is known to be a particularly powerful lever for improving lives. Better reproductive health often results in smaller, healthier families, with ripple effects at the community, national and regional levels.


As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has noted, "The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women's rights, and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning."


The work of UNFPA is directly related to five of the MDGs, and indirectly UNFPA plays a role in assisting countries to meet all eight goals. UNFPA's work is directly related to the goals dealing with poverty reduction; gender equality and the empowerment of women; child mortality; maternal health, including reproductive health; and HIV/AIDS.


There is now consensusthat advancing women's rights, in general, and reproductive rights, in particular, is a necessary precondition for halving the number of people living in poverty and underpins success in achieving all the other goals. The United Nations Millennium Project, which was commissioned by the UN Secretary-General, brought together more than 250 experts from around the world to identify best practices and to plot the way forward for meeting the MDGs. Their final synthesis report, Investing in Development, and their series of specialized task force reportsas well as a special report, reaffirmed the centrality of promoting universal access to reproductive health in meeting the MDGs.