This week, thousands of researchers, development experts, policymakers, and others are gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss one of the most important global issues: family planning.
Around the world, more than 220 million women want, but don’t have access to, modern contraception – which means they aren’t able to decide the timing and spacing of their families. Denying them this basic human right has far-reaching effects for themselves, their families, their communities, and their countries.
That’s why in 2012, leaders came together at the London Summit on Family Planning to commit to expanding access to voluntary family planning services and information to an additional 120 million women and girls by 2020. Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global partnership that was a direct outcome of the London Summit, works to make that goal a reality. Today FP2020 released a progress report on its work, which includes the following key findings.
· Countries are taking action: 24 countries have committed to doing more on family planning. Already, one-fourth of them have launched detailed, costed strategies and one-third have increased their budgets for family planning services and information.
· Tools are in place to track progress: FP2020 has developed tools to monitor and evaluate progress on the commitments that have been made by governments, international donors, and nongovernmental organizations.
· Financial disbursements are on the rise: Family planning has received several commitments from donors, and according to preliminary data for 2013, funding for family planning has increased.
· Partnerships and innovation are expanding access to family planning: Partnerships between organizations and sectors are helping expand access to family planning services. Additionally, innovative new ways to deliver services and commodities are helping reach women and girls in underserved communities.
Why this matters
Increasing access to voluntary family planning services and information benefits women, families, communities, and the world. Here are a few reasons why it matters to all of us:
· Everyone deserves quality health care – for women and girls, this includes reproductive health care.
· Meeting the global need for voluntary family planning would result in 1.1 million fewer infant deaths and 79,000 fewer women dying in pregnancy or childbirth.
· Research shows that when women and girls can plan their families, they can stay in school longer, increasing their earnings and helping strengthen economies.
· Providing women with access to voluntary family planning services and information helps promote environmental sustainability and stable societies.
· Every $1 invested in family planning can save up to $9 in other development costs.