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World Bank Deletes References to Family Planning

World Bank Managing Director Juan Jose Daboub deleted all references to family planning last week from a loan program for Madagascar, an island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa. In the loan program’s original draft, the World Bank, which is responsible for providing loans and grants for development aid in order to reduce poverty, pledged to work towards increasing contraception use in Madagascar from 14 percent to 20 percent. But Daboub ordered staff to remove family planning references and the final document contained no such goals, reports UK newspaper The Guardian. The reversal goes against language in the World Bank’s 2007 World Development Report that highlights the importance of sexual and reproductive health services for all nations. funny pictures funny images funny photos funny animal pictures funny dog pictures funny cat pictures funny gifs In a press release, the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and Planned Parenthood International expressed “shock” over the deletions. Jodi Jacobson, executive director of CHANGE, said, “Family planning and reproductive health services are critical to advancing the rights of women and essential to the eradication of poverty and to disease prevention.” Daboub, hired in April 2006 by Bush-appointed World Bank President and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, is a former finance minister in El Salvador and a member of the country’s right-wing party, which is closely associated with the Catholic Church. Critics have voiced concern that he is opposed to family planning. Wolfowitz — recently under fire for allegedly creating a job for and giving a hefty pay raise to his girlfriend — said of the Madagascar loan program, “Our policy hasn’t changed”I want to make it clear, personally: I think reproductive health is absolutely crucial.” According to The Guardian, sources in Africa are worried about the possibility that other World Bank documents may have been “tampered with” in other countries, including Niger, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

Sources:

Change and International Planned Parenthood Federation 4/12/07; Financial Times 4/12/07, World Bank Press Conference Transcript 4/12/07, The Guardian 4/16/07, Govt. Accountability Project 4/12/07