UNFPA's assistance to Ethiopia began in 1973 and it has since implemented seven five-year programme cycles. In the last decade, Ethiopia has made significant progress towards achieving its national and international development goals, and sectoral programmes and strategies for improving maternal health, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, and combating the HIV epidemic. The Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined from 676 to 412 per 100,000 live births in the last five years alone.The number of delivery in a health facility increased from 10 per cent in 2011 to 28 per cent in 2016. The contraceptive prevalence rate increased to 36 percent and Total Fertility Rate dropped to 4.1 in 2016.
However, unmet need for family planning is the highest for young married adolescents, 15-19 years old, with 33 percent unmet need for spacing. There are also other emerging sexual and reproductive health needs that draw the attention of the government and partners such as cervical cancer.
The fertility transitions in Ethiopia is leading to the demographic window of opportunity which eventually ensures demographic dividend if proper investments are planned and implemented to strengthen capacities and to create development opportunities for young people. This calls for integration of population factors including sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and youth at all levels of development planning and their interventions. Such endeavors should also accommodate adolescent and youth with special needs and those living in regions which need equitable development.
The trends towards the improvement of youth SRH and HIV/AIDS situations in the country are promising, though available evidences indicate that there are still risky sexual behaviors among different groups such as unmarried women and men, daily laborers, waitresses, and students of higher education institutions.

8th Country Programme

UNFPA is currently implementing the 8th Country Programme (2016-2020) cycle which draws from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the ICPD Programme of Action and is clearly aligned to the Government of Ethiopia’s development strategy – the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII) – the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF, 2016-2020) and the UNFPA Strategic Plan (2014-2017). The 8th Country Programme, through its Sexual and Reproductive Health, Population and Development, Gender programme and Adolescent and Youth components, will address increased access to and use of health services focusing on maternal and new-born health; increased capacity of national institutions for evidence-based planning and management of development programmes; increased participation and decision-making by women and youth in benefiting from targeted services; and increased protection and rehabilitation of women and youth in areas of gender based violence.
The main thrust of the   8th Country Programme is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the people of Ethiopia, especially women and young people, through promoting universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. In particular, the programme seeks to
improve maternal health through provision of information and services on EMNoC, skilled human resources for maternal health and redressing the unmet need for family planning; address the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents and youth; address gender inequality with a special focus on gender based violence; and ensure better understanding of population dynamics through adopting a human rights based approach.
The programme promotes strategic partnerships with the government, UN Agencies, donors and civil society organizations. To maximize and sustain impact, the Country Programme is implemented in 8 selected regions covering over 90 percent of the Ethiopian population with a focus on scaling up specific interventions and delivering on a small number of strategic and measurable outputs. UNFPA Ethiopia is one of the largest Country Offices in the Africa Region both in terms of staff, resource and programme with an estimated budget of USD 120 million for the four years of its implementation.

UNFPA's engagement in UN Delivering as One Initiatives

The 8th CP is set in the context of UN Delivering As One, where following the endorsement of the UNCT, agencies have agreed to formulate the UNDAF Joint Action Plan and in a setting where 3 Flagship Joint Programmes have been established. The 8th Country Programme will contribute to four UNDAF Outcomes. They will address increased access to and use of health services focusing on maternal and new-born health; increased capacity of national institutions for evidence-based planning and management of development programmes; increased participation and decision-making by women and youth in benefiting from targeted services and; increased protection and rehabilitation of women and youth in areas of gender based violence. UNFPA is a Co-Chair and a member of the 2 Joint Programmes – Gender and Maternal & New-born Health – respectively and will be a recipient of funds to be mobilized under the One Fund.

Key focus areas and achievements

UNFPA is working with the government, other UN agencies and partners to improve access to sexual and reproductive health care in developing countries. It is working towards the elimination of harmful practices like child marriage, which keep girls from school, and is advocating for young people’s access to health care, skills development and jobs. Equipping women and girls with the ability to choose the timing and number of their children through the provision of family planning information and services also helps them stay in school.

UNFPA is the lead UN agency in promoting sexual and reproductive health, including family planning, comprehensive sexuality education and maternal health services. UNFPA works with partners to strengthen health systems, including through the training of midwives, who – when properly trained – could avert two thirds of maternal and neonatal deaths.

UNFPA is also supporting the integration of HIV-prevention and treatment programmes into sexual and reproductive health care, so it is as readily available as possible.

UNFPA is working with the government and other partners to promote gender equality as well as investments in education and opportunities for young people. It supports policies and programmes that promote gender equality at all levels. UNFPA works closely with partners – including men and boys themselves – to fight gender-based violence.

UNFPA is working with partners, including the government, civil society, and communities to encourage policies that can help the country realize a demographic dividend. UNFPA believes earnestly that healthy, educated, employed and empowered young people improve not only their own prospects but the prospects of the country as well.
UNFPA also responds to the reproductive health needs of people caught in humanitarian situations. It distribute 'dignity kits' in disaster and conflict-affected communities – supplies that help women and girls maintain their health, hygiene and sense of dignity, even under grave circumstances.
UNFPA works to reach marginalized people and communities, especially those who have been left behind by economic growth and development. This includes vulnerable women and girls, those living with disabilities.

UNFPA is working with the government to better understand how population dynamics affect the changing climate and how people can become resilience in the face of these changes. UNFPA plays a key role in supporting censuses, demographic and health surveys, and other large-scale data-gathering exercises, and provides technical support for the analysis and dissemination of the information generated. We are the lead agency in coordinating resource mobilization for the undertaking of these exercises. Currently we are providing support for the 4th Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia which will be undertaken in November 2017.  In addition to the support provided to the preparation and analysis of censuses and other population-based surveys, a functional Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) was established both at national and regional levels.