Global Conference Closes With Call For Family Planning To Be At Center Of Development Agenda
Civil society leaders urge governments to make family planning an essential part of improving maternal and child health, guaranteeing women's rights and lifting countries out of poverty
Country and donor commitments announced to expand access to contraceptive information and services
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 15 November 2013—The third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2013) closed today with a Call to Action by civil society leaders for governments to prioritize family planning in the new global development framework that replaces the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. The Call to Action was issued as five additional African and Asian governments and the United Kingdom announced commitments to expand contraceptive access and options.
The Addis Call to Action on the Post-2015 Development Framework voices the perspective of civil society that the ability to plan one's family and future is a fundamental right and a sound investment. Ensuring that women and girls are able to plan whether and when to have children means mothers and babies are more likely to survive. Additionally, when countries invest in family planning alongside health, education and gender equity, they can realize a “Demographic Dividend” for economic growth and prosperity.
“We still have leaders on the African continent who are not yet hooked on the message of family planning. The promise of the Demographic Dividend is an entry point to bring those leaders on board,” said Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, Regional Director of the Africa Regional Office of Partners in Population and Development, who presented the Call to Action at the closing session of ICFP 2013. “No nation in history has transitioned from a developing country to middle-income status without family planning.”
“Family planning is a development imperative because it unlocks the potential of young women,” said Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director of the National Rural Health Mission in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India. “Family planning can create a profound impact when it becomes a central part of integrated maternal and child health care.”
The Addis Call to Action was launched with signatures from 35 civil society organizations and individuals, and other organizations and individuals are invited to sign at www.fpconference2013.org. The Call to Action will be presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to underscore the essential role that global development goals—such as the MDGs and the new post-2015 framework—play in catalyzing action and holding countries accountable.
ICFP 2013, the largest global gathering on family planning, brought together more than 3,000 advocates, researchers, health professionals and political leaders from over 100 countries. Presentations at the conference, which was organized around the theme “Full Access, Full Choice” and opened 12 November, focused on progress in expanding contraceptive information and services since the historic July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, which re-established family planning as a top global health priority.
At ICFP 2013, five additional countries made significant commitments to expand family planning programs:
· By 2015, Benin will ensure that modern methods of contraceptives are available without cost and that reproductive health training is provided for adolescents and youth.
· In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government will use domestic resources for the first time to purchase contraceptives.
· In Guinea, funds will be used to recruit thousands of health workers who can deliver family planning in rural areas, as has proven successful in other countries like Ethiopia.
· Beginning in 2014, the government of Mauritania will commit to allocating health commodity security funds for family planning and, along with its partners, commit to mobilizing additional resources for the implementation of its national family planning action plan.
· Myanmar will implement a monitoring system to strengthen quality of care and ensure women have a full range of contraceptive options.
Also today, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) announced a £27 million commitment over five years to help civil society ensure that family planning promises are delivered. Since the 2012 London Summit, and counting the commitments announced at ICFP 2013, more than 70 countries, donors and civil society organizations have pledged to collectively reach an additional 120 million women and girls in the poorest countries by 2020 with voluntary access to family planning.
ICFP 2013 was jointly organized by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This year's conference followed the inaugural ICFP in Kampala, Uganda, in 2009 and ICFP 2011 in Dakar, Senegal.
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