At FP2020 Summit, global leaders recommit to family planning

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 #HerFuture: Global leaders recommit to #FamilyPlanning as #FP2020 summit kicks off in #London

At least 37 country governments, 16 private companies and 11 partner organizations, including civil society and private foundations, will announce commitments to accelerate progress on rights-based family planning programmes today at the Family Planning Summit.

Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) is a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide— freely and for themselves—whether, when and how many children they want to have. FP2020 works with governments, civil society, multilateral organizations, donors, the private sector and the research and development community to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020. FP2020 is in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

The Family Planning Summit is co-hosted by the UK Government, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in close partnership with the Family Planning 2020 Secretariat (FP2020). In parallel with the Summit in London, more than 2500 people will gather at 21 satellite events across Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uganda, demonstrating growing country leadership and support for family planning.

The Summit will build on progress made since the Family Planning Summit in 2012 and will reaffirm international political support for women and girls to be able to decide for themselves whether, when and how many children to have. It will address barriers to progress that are common across many countries, with a wide range of policy and programme commitments to ensure the money invested in family planning goes further. 

Financial commitments to be announced at the Summit are expected to total at least $2.5billion USD (£1.9billion GBP) by 2020. The majority of the funding – $1.5billion USD (£1.16billion GBP) – has been committed by countries in Asia and Africa. Many of FP2020’s 38 partner countries*, ranging from Bangladesh and Burkina Faso to India, Indonesia and Uganda, will make renewed commitments to accelerate family planning progress, and four new countries will join the FP2020 partnership.

The full breadth of expected Summit commitments from country governments, donors, private sector, civil society and foundations can be found here.

Commitments will seek to deliver family planning to all who need it, especially adolescents, women and girls in humanitarian crises and the hard to reach. Highlights of the commitments made include:

  • A Bridge Funding Mechanism to enable UNFPA Supplies, the world’s largest provider of contraceptives, to provide countries with the family planning commodities they need as efficiently as possible. The Funding Mechanism is expected to speed up the procurement process, lower the cost of contraceptives, and ultimately reduce up to 50 per cent of UNFPA-related contraceptive stock-outs—delivering better results for countries, donors, and the women and families they serve.
  • A supply chain Visibility Analytics Network (VAN), a global platform to capture and use data from multiple sources to provide enhanced visibility into contraceptive supply chains. By partnering with private sector logistics experts and using smart-phone technology, the network will improve countries’ ability to know what contraceptives are in stock, where and how much – and to respond to stock-outs more efficiently. In two years’ time, we anticipate that this Network will be up and running in at least 12 countries.
  • Countries, donors, civil society and private foundations will pledge to collect, use, and disseminate age- and sex-disaggregated data. With improved data, governments, charities and others will be better able to design and assess programmes that more effectively meet the needs of adolescents. 
  • Ten private sector organisations from outside the health and pharmaceutical sector, including the Chaudhary Foundation, Twinings, Tata Trusts, Spark Minda, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Lindex, Vodafone, CARD MRI, NST and Reckitt Benckiser, will make commitments that expand access to contraceptives, improve supply chains, or market and deliver family planning services to their employees. These will include commitments to reach more women and girls, including through their networks, assets, and expertise—from supply chains to microfinance networks to media channels.

The Family Planning Summit takes place on the five-year anniversary of the inaugural London Summit on Family Planning when world leaders set a goal to empower 120 million additional women and girls in the 69 lowest income countries to use modern contraception by 2020, and a new partnership was launched: Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). Since then, 30 million additional women and girls have begun using modern contraceptives – bringing the total to a record 300 million users across the 69 countries. As a result, last year more than 82 million pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions, and 125,000 maternal deaths were averted.

The Summit will feature commentary by government representatives from around the world, the United Nations, foundations, the private sector, civil society and youth advocates from eight countries.

Priti Patel, UK International Development Secretary, said: “Family planning has the power to change a whole country’s trajectory and help lift people out of grinding poverty. It gives women choice over if, and when, to have a family and makes real economic sense. Britain is leading the world on sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights, and we have helped 8.5 million more women make an informed choice about using desperately-needed family planning services since 2012. Today’s Summit with our international partners is an exciting and important opportunity to work together to empower millions more women and girls to take control of their own lives, address unsustainable population growth and boost global prosperity.”

Dr Natalia Kanem, Acting Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said: “Together we must keep our promise to leave no woman behind. Even though family planning is one of the best investments for development and women’s empowerment, 214 million women in developing countries who want family planning still lack access to modern contraception. To meet our common goal of reaching 120 million more women and girls by 2020, we must strengthen partnerships and mobilize more funding. As we strive to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, we are committed to getting to zero unmet need for family planning by 2030 to ensure a better future for all.”

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “Access to contraceptives changes everything. Women are freer to work outside the home, earn an income, and contribute to the economy. Mothers and fathers can devote more resources to their kids’ health and education—setting them up for a more productive future. Multiply that by millions of families, and you see why contraceptives are one of the greatest antipoverty innovations the world has ever known—and one of the smartest investments countries can make. Through the new commitments expected today at the Family Planning Summit, we have made a bold statement that investing in family planning is crucial to building the healthier and more prosperous future we’re all working towards.”

Beth Schlachter, Executive Director of FP2020, said: “We are guided by the urgency of knowing that our work affects the lives and futures of women every day. The Summit is a chance to evaluate our progress on family planning, and re-dedicate ourselves to bringing this life-saving intervention to all that need and want it.”

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Paul is a freelance journalist, medical researcher and extensively published author. He holds a MSc degree in cell biology and genetics, and is a PhD candidate of the University of Ibadan

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