Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a practice that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, and it is internationally recognized as a human rights violation. Globally, it is estimated that some 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. Although FGM is declining in the majority of countries where it is prevalent, most of these are also experiencing a high rate of population growth – meaning that the number of girls who undergo FGM will continue to grow if the practice continues at current levels.
An estimated 68 million girls are at risk of being mutilated by 2030. Protecting them will take a significant push to accelerate the abandonment of this harmful practice.
To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. They must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the Joint Programme on the Elimination of FGM, the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of this harmful practice. The programme currently focuses on 17 countries and also supports regional and global initiatives.