A Global Commitment to Family Planning – the London Summit
I had the pleasure of attending a brown bag on July 5, entitled Revitalizing Global Family Planning: The Road to the London Summit by Dr. Oying Rimon, Senior Program Officer, Advocacy and Global Health Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As you all hopefully know, the Gates Foundation and the UK government are planning The London Summit on Family Planning on July 11, with UNFPA and other partners.
The goal of the London Summit is to make available affordable contraceptives to 120 million additional women by 2020 by gaining commitment of $4.3 billion over eight years, a significant shift in the trend line that Melinda Gates recognizes as ambitious but realistic and doable – and not a controversy. The vision is global equity of access to contraceptives.
Oying framed his talk under “bringing sexy back to sex,” which was quickly reigned in to be “Revitalizing family planning” and focused on the value of a robust advocacy strategy for family planning, the importance of evidence, and the need for measureable impact.
He stressed that the value of evidence-based and effective advocacy involves strategically aligning bilateral donors, governments, foundations, civil society organizations, and the private sector. Advocacy at the Gates Foundation is seen as a vehicle for building partnerships and leveraging additional resources that close funding gaps, reverse declining trends, and help achieve scale up and sustainability.
The Gates Foundation’s robust family planning advocacy strategy is built around support for the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Clear evidence exists that demonstrates that family planning is essential to meeting the health MDGs. For instance, the Lancet recently released a series that reviews the evidence for the effects of population and family planning on people’s well being and the environment. Additionally, Guttmacher Institute’s 2012 Adding it Up report shows that little progress is being made in meeting the demand for contraceptives in the developing world. These resources, among others, help to make the case for increasing resources, improving policies, and raising the visibility of family planning on the global agenda.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch this great Colbert Report interview with Melinda Gates, where Colbert picks on Melinda’s ‘new charitable hobby horse’ and demands that Melinda justify her support for an family planning agenda by referring to the Gates Foundation as a slut factory.
Overall, this was a great talk. I’m eager to hear what comes out of the Summit tomorrow.