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Global family planning pledge

Over 1300 organisations sign up to empower women across the world

Mark Gould

Monday, 09 July 2012

Some 1300 family planning organisations from all over the world have today signed a declaration pledging their intent to meet the as yet unmet contraception needs of 120 million women worldwide by 2020.

The declaration makes a commitment to reaching “poor, vulnerable, rural, and indigenous populations, and populations displaced by conflict and humanitarian disasters”.

The declaration absolutely endorses the need to empower women, to educate the young, and to secure provision for all. And it calls for engagement with manufacturers, for the development of new technologies, and for significant movement in securing consistency of supply.

The commitment comes in advance of the London Summit on Family Planning which takes place on Wednesday and has been led by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Gates Foundation say the gathering is an unprecedented show of unanimity and resolve, from those who play a front-line role in service provision and holding governments to account on their promises.

“The summit is pivotal to placing family planning centre-stage in the development agenda: the declaration, and the actions it aims to prompt, will give the mission a powerful sense of purpose and momentum. It is a comprehensive manifesto for change.”

The signatories call for a multi-stakeholder approach, for greater funding, for greater capacity, for mutual learning, and for financial and organisational partnerships between governments, not-for-profits, NGOs, voluntary bodies and the private sector.

The International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) director general Tewodros Melesse says: "This was an immensely challenging and rewarding task. We feel that it has united global civil society in support of family planning. It sends out a unanimous signal to governments and the international community: we believe that every woman should have the right, and the services, to enable her to choose whether, when, and how often she has children. What is more, it places a comprehensive list of concerns on the table which we must get to grips with if the summit is to achieve its aims. I am honoured that IPPF was asked to coordinate civil society’s response. I am delighted at the unanimity of the response."

IPPF is a federation of member associations (MAs). Each providing services in a particular country. Over 90 % of the world’s nations (172 countries) are served by IPPF. The organisation has 30,000 staff, supported by over a million volunteers.

In 2011, IPPF delivered 90 million sexual and reproductive health services to 33 million people worldwide: nearly 250,000 services every day.

In 2011, IPPF helped 2.6 million women avoid unintended pregnancy. It helped 710,000 women avert unsafe abortions. It protected women’s health and they changed women’s lives. Without IPPF, millions of women worldwide would not have had any access to family planning whatsoever.

Crucially, 73% of the beneficiaries of IPPF’s work last year belonged to some of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable and most marginalised countries and communities.

Picture credit: ARTEKI / Shutterstock.com

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