UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.

UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency for delivering a world where:

  • every pregnancy is wanted
  • every childbirth is safe
  • every young person’s potential is fulfilled

In recent decades, the region has experienced an important development process, with a significant increase in access to basic social services. Life expectancy at birth increased from 69.2 years to 76.1 years in the region as a whole between 1980 and 2011. It is the developing region with the highest life expectancy. In the last decade, several countries in the region have had the opportunity to experience economic growth and establish redistributive fiscal policies aimed at reducing poverty, reducing inequality and improving the coverage and quality of health, education and social protection services.

We’re making real progress – yet more work needs to be done. Fewer women are dying in childbirth, more unwanted pregnancies are prevented, and young people’s opportunities have expanded. But much more needs to be done to achieve a healthy and just world.

Universal access -in the fullest sense of the word- to sexual and reproductive health and other basic social services, is far from being a reality in several countries in the region, particularly for the most excluded groups such as the poor, indigenous, afrodescendant and rural populations. Often adolescents and young adults, and LGBTI populations face medical, socio-cultural, economic and legal barriers to access.

Adolescents and youth should be specifically attended by population policies, since there has been no observable progress in regulatory frameworks as seen in other areas. There is a need to strengthen youth policies and overcome legal barriers facing adolescents in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. In this sense, teen pregnancy prevention becomes a meeting point for many social and cultural drivers. Teenage pregnancy is a manifold issue that needs to be addressed, including cases of pregnancies in girls under 14 (to be treated under the “zero tolerance” principle), cases of second or third pregnancy and teenage mothers care.

How We Work

We are on the ground improving lives in more than 150 countries. We have offices in over 30 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
UNFPA is a catalyst for action and advocacy. Through alliances and partnerships with governments, other UN agencies, civil society and the private sector, we make a positive difference in the lives of billions of people, especially those most in need.

UNFPA helps countries use population data to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges. Our regional office in Panama and sub-regional office in Kingston, Jamaica provide empowering technical guidance, policy advice, training and support.  And we ensure that the reproductive health and rights of women and young people remain at the very heart of development.