A report released Wednesday by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), “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,” details successes and progress made in international commitments to improving family planning since the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.
According to the report, titled Partnership in Action, 24 countries have committed to doing more to improve family planning since the 2012 summit. One-fourth of them have already launched detailed strategies, including Kenya, Niger, and Burkina Faso, among several others. One-third have increased their budgets for family planning, including Ethiopia and Indonesia. Half have also held family planning conferences. FP2020, supported by the United Nations Foundation, has developed tools to monitor the progress of these countries.
Partnerships between governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector in countries like Senegal and Nigeria, as well as the development of innovative ways to deliver services, such as reducing the cost of contraceptive implants by 50 percent to make them more accessible for poorer women, are also helping to expand access to family planning services and commodities.
For family planning strategies to succeed, organizations and governments must listen to what women want and need, and integrate those responses into their strategies. “For FP2020 to succeed in spirit as well as fact, we must deliver for women on their terms,” said Grethe Petersen, the Regional Director for East and Southern Africa at Marie Stopes International and a member of FP2020’s Country Engagement Working Group. “Reflecting their choices: whether to use contraception or not; whichever method of contraception they like; whenever, wherever and from whichever provider they choose.”
Barriers that often prevent women from getting the family planning services they need include the cost of services and products, inadequate medical professionals and supplies, and difficulty accessing services. Otherunderlying issues include gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence and coercion, child marriage, lack of access to education, and lack of economic opportunities for girls and women.
“Across the board, it’s clear we need strong global leadership and enhanced understanding of these challenges in order to continue to make progress,” said Anne C. Richard, US Department of State Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration in her closing remarks at the third annual International Family Planning Conference in Addis Ababa that wraps up today. “Together, so much has already been achieved, and the incredibly positive spirit expressed during this conference convinces me that we can do so much more.”
Media Resources: Family Planning 2020 11/13/13; US Department of State Remarks 11/15/13; International Family Planning Conference 2013; Feminist Newswire 9/5/13, 9/23/13, 10/31/13, 11/7/13