London Summit on Family Planning

  • Blog post

    This year on July 11, World Population Day, organizations around the globe came together virtually to discuss the importance of family planning advocacy. Continuing a similar discussion that was hosted in November 2012 by the Measurement, Learning and Evaluation (MLE) Project for the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project used the hashtag #FPAdvocacy to highlight its new resource the Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit and the importance of family planning globally. 

    USAID Global Health Bureau engaging with K4Health and others in the #FPAdvocacy Tweetchat

    USAID Global Health Bureau engaging with K4Health and others in the #FPAdvocacy Tweetchat.

    More than 152 Twitter users joined the Tweetchat, which yielded 1,400 Tweets in a very short period of time. At the time of the chat, #FPAdvocacy was in the top three trending topics in the United States. Many prominent and influential people and organizations from the world of global health and development shared opinions, statistics, information and resources on family planning and family planning advocacy during the chat. These experts and advocates brought energy and passion to the intriguing conversation about how to move the family planning advocacy agenda forward. 

    The chat itself was a great mechanism for advocacy and an effective vehicle for promoting tools and resources for family planning advocacy. The forum allowed many people to have a voice in the conversation--not just large NGOs, but individuals worldwide who are passionate about family planning. In light of the first anniversary of the London Summit on Family Planning and the large commitment made by donor agencies, developing and developed countries to reduce the unmet need for family planning worldwide by 2020, the chat harnessed the growing energy and excitement about family planning in the global health community.

  • Blog post

    New K4Health Family Planning Advocacy Toolkit Can Help

    Siblings in the remote area of Gairi, Dolakha District, Nepal

    Siblings in the remote area of Gairi, Dolakha District, Nepal.

    © 2011 Sirish B.C., Courtesy of Photoshare

    In 2011, the United Nations predicted that the world’s population would grow to 9.3 billion by 2050. In the newly published Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision, however, the UN has now increased its projection of world population to 9.6 billion by 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. This means that nearly 4 billion more people will inhabit the earth by the end of the century.

    But what about fertility decline?

    This projected increase comes despite rapidly decreasing fertility rates in many countries. Japan’s birth rate, for example, has fallen to 1.39 children per women, well below the replacement rate. Though Japan is an oft-cited example of fertility decline, journalist David Brooks noted last year that almost half the global population lives in countries with birthrates below the replacement level. Even in the Middle East, where we often hear about the “youth bulge,” birth rates are falling dramatically. On average, Brooks pointed out, a woman in Oman has 5.6 fewer babies today than a woman in Oman 30 years ago. Fertility rates in Morocco, Syria, and Saudi Arabia have declined nearly 60 percent, and in Iran, fertility rates have fallen more than 70 percent. The authors of the UN report expect that the population of developed countries will change very little between now and 2050, hovering just below 1.3 billion.

  • Blog post

    Six months after the London Family Planning Summit there are signs of hope that 2013 will be a positive year toward providing an estimated 120 million more women in the world’s poorest countries with access to contraceptives by 2020 so that they can plan the number of children to have or space their births.

    A health worker counsels a woman on reproductive health and family planning in the Visayas region of central Philippines

    A health worker counsels a woman on reproductive health and family planning in the Visayas region of central Philippines. Voluntary family planning programs are allowing women and couples to plan the number of children they want to have.

    © 2000 Liz Gilbert, Courtesy of Photoshare

    As of January 8, 2013 financial commitments by donors and the private sector at the London Summit reached a total of US$2.625 billion. My colleague Allison Bland wrote in an earlier K4Health blog: “Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) will continue to frame our discussions as governments, civil society, and technical institutions move toward the 2020 target.”

    Also in January, after more than a decade of opposition, Philippines President, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, III, signed into law the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. The new law guarantees universal access to contraceptive methods, sexual education, and maternal care. A guiding principle states: “The provision of ethical and medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable, non-abortifacient, effective and quality reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially those of women, the poor, and the marginalized, and shall be incorporated as a component of basic health care.”

    Congratulations to the people of the Philippines for taking a huge move that will undoubtedly reduce the unmet need for family planning and eventually help to lower the total fertility rate for the country, which was estimated at 3.2 children per woman in 2012.

  • Blog post

    From the end of 2012 and into the New Year, the global health community looked back on the commitments made at the London Summit on Family Planning and looked ahead to achieving the goals announced at the Summit. While the July event was a highlight in global development for 2012, Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) will to continue to frame our discussions as governments, civil society, and technical institutions move toward the target: deliver contraceptives, information, and services to a total of 380 million women and girls.

    Check out these videos from the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program on the importance of maintaining the momentum of FP2020:

  • Blog post

    On Monday, September 17, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, hosted “Maintaining the Momentum: Highlights from the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning (FP).” This panel discussion was a virtual who’s who in family planning – with the main room full as well as two additional rooms literally overflowing – as folks gathered to hear current luminaries talk about highlights and next steps to the 2012 London FP Summit, what is now called FP2020.

  • Blog post

    I was startled to see in a recent Lancet paper by Babatunde Osotimehin that fully meeting the family planning needs of people in developing countries—of current users and women with unmet need—would cost about US$8.1 billion annually. Currently, writes Osotimehin,“donors, developing countries, and households are investing some US$4 billion, which leaves a shortfall of about US$4.1 billion” each year.

    PAI: Family Planning: The Smartest Investment We Can Make


    Image redrawn from Population Action International, Family Planning: The Smartest Investment We Can Make

    Osotimehin, who is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, urges governments of developing countries to commit significantly more of their own regular budgets and other resources to provide contraceptive information and services. In addition, “Donor countries need to step up their contributions to family planning to fulfill their commitments made at the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).”

    One piece of good news for the funding picture came out of the recent London Summit on Family Planning when international donors and foundations pledged an additional US$2.625 billion dollars to reach 120 million more women with an unmet need for family planning by 2020. Developing country partners, including those in India, Indonesia, Malawi, and Nigeria, pledged an additional US$2 billion. These pledges, according to the London Summit Press Release, mean that by 2020, some 200,000 fewer women will have died in pregnancy and childbirth, there will be 110 million fewer unintended pregnancies, over 50 million fewer abortions, and nearly three million more babies will survive their first year of life.

  • Blog post

    On the eve of the London Summit for Family Planning, The Lancet published a series of articles and commentaries that explores the links between contraception, population growth, and the health and wellbeing of the planet and its current and future inhabitants. The series reviews an array of evidence on the toll that lack of access to family planning takes not only on maternal and child health but also on the social, economic, and environmental health of communities, nations, and the world.

    Abuja Nigeria Woman and Child Learn About Contraceptive Options

    A mother in Abuja, Nigeria reads a family planning and child spacing brochure to learn about contraceptive options available in the area.

    © 2012 Kim Blessing/CCP, Courtesy of Photoshare

    Those who work in family planning are well aware that national political will and international support for contraceptive programs has waned in recent decades. This neglect has perpetuated a continued lack of access, particularly in low-resource settings where the consequences are most dire. The Lancet’s series examines the potential of family planning to advance global health from so many angles that even readers whose careers are devoted to the cause will gain fresh perspective and new insights.

    The rebirth of family planning: Herbert Peterson of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, who led the planning, commissioning, and preparation of the series, and Richard Horton of The Lancet identify two central challenges to addressing unmet need: stronger advocacy to policymakers to devote more attention to family planning and translating the scientific evidence presented in this series into innovative programs that are implemented well to achieve universal access to reproductive health.

    Making family planning a national development priority: Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, Prime Minster of Rwanda, and Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, credit five factors with increased contraceptive use in the successful case studies of Rwanda and Ethiopia over the past decade:

  • Blog post

    Family planning experts from USAID, UNFPA, WHO, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and 14 nongovernmental and private organizations met on July 9-10, 2012, ahead of the landmark London Summit on Family Planning, to review evidence around high-impact practices in family planning (HIPs).

    Mothers in Mozambique take their children for vaccination

    Mothers in Nampula, Mozambique take their children for vaccination.

    © 2003 Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photosh

    Meeting at UNFPA headquarters in New York, the participants discussed evidence on eight specific practices that, when scaled up and institutionalized, will maximize investments in family planning programs:

    • Provide family planning counseling and services at the same time and location where women receive treatment for complications related to abortion. Many postabortion clients have a clear need and demand for family planning, and strong evidence demonstrates that providing family planning services at the same time and location where women receive postabortion treatment is feasible, acceptable, and effective.
    • Train, equip, and support community health workers (CHWs) to provide a wide range of contraceptive methods. CHWs can be an important means of reducing inequities in access to services, especially in areas where individuals face physical and social barriers to health services.
    • Provide a wide range of contraceptive methods through mobile outreach services—services provided by a mobile team of trained providers such as physicians and nurses, sometimes in a vehicle such as a van or bus that is equipped with clinic facilities. Mobile outreach provides services to women and men in the communities where they live and work, as do CHWs. While CHWs provide a limited range of contraceptive methods, such as oral contraceptives, condoms, and sometimes injectables, mobile outreach services have the added benefit of giving people direct access to long-acting and permanent methods (LAPMs).

  • Blog post

    Girls who give birth in adolescence have a much higher risk of maternal mortality than women in their 20’s and 30’s. In fact, girls younger than 16 face four times the risk of maternal death as women older than 20. Yet each year, 16 million adolescent girls ages 15-19 give birth, accounting for roughly 11 percent of all births globally. Nearly 95% of these births occur in developing countries. The commitments made at last week’s London Summit on Family Planning will not only protect the health of millions of adolescents in developing countries, but will also improve educational and employment opportunities for young women around the world.

    The Interagency Youth Working Group’s blog Half the World discusses how the London Summit on Family Planning will benefit young people.

  • London Summit Themes

    Key themes that emerged during the London Summit on Family Planning.