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Civil society declaration for the London Summit on Family Planning

Civil society declaration for the London Summit on Family Planning

The letter was signed by the following civil society organisations:

Dear Prime Minister and Mrs Gates

The Civil Society Declaration to the London Summit on Family Planning

We strongly support the Government of the United Kingdom and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in launching this global family planning (FP) initiative to drastically improve the quality of life for millions of women, men and young people.  The initiative contributes directly to realizing the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA).  We commend your work - which highlights the crisis in international support for FP - as part of a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights.  We encourage other partners to support and supplement the London Summit on Family Planning to ensure the ICPD PoA is delivered in its entirety.  In particular, we recognise the potential of this initiative to strengthen health systems, expand contraceptive choice and stimulate demand.  By reaching an additional 120 million women and girls by 2020, it will enable some of the world’s poorest people to exercise their rights; reduce social, financial and gender inequalities; and contribute to sustainable development.  We hope it will inspire additional efforts to benefit women and girls in all countries.  


Country-Led and Country-Owned

Meeting the global unmet need for FP will require a multi-stakeholder response, and we applaud the strong emphasis of this initiative on building on the existing policy commitments of national governments.  Recognising the need for additional and significant support for, and expenditure on, FP programmes must be integrated to ensure the most effective and efficient health benefit for women and girls.  We support efforts to build on and strengthen country planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation systems that take account of human rights.  This will require the active participation of beneficiaries, and support to build the capacity of local governments, civil society and the private sector in addressing the issue of unmet need.  In some countries, progress has been made in reducing unmet need.  We are committed to South -South sharing of lessons learnt and successful models. 

We commit, as service providers, advocates and monitors, to partnering with governments and the private sector, to build the required capacity – as recognised in the Every Woman Every Child Country Accountability Framework.

Increasing Demand and Empowering Women

We applaud the London Summit on Family Planning for its commitment to work with poor and vulnerable populations to increase individual awareness, address socio-cultural barriers, and increase community acceptability of FP, including comprehensive sexuality education. In particular, we applaud the initiative’s emphasis on empowering women and girls, and delivery through increased service provision.  We encourage you to focus on providing information and services to those who have historically faced poor access to FP, especially young people, poor women, people with disabilities; rural, indigenous, displaced and post crisis populations.  Similarly, we encourage you to make linkages to other programmes including those for economic development, education (especially for girls), environmental protection, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, security and youth. 

We commit to working with communities and reaching poor and vulnerable women and girls with evidence-based information so that they can make informed choices regarding their fertility and choice of contraceptive method. 

Contraceptive Security

We recognise the need for urgent action to increase women and men's access to a broad range of contraceptives, which is essential for free and informed choice, and increased use of FP.  This will require extensive long-term efforts to increase political will, improve forecasting and budgeting, secure supply chains, and support human resources and capacity building (including task sharing), reduce price and introduce  new contraceptive technologies - particularly those that are user-controlled and those that serve multiple purposes (i.e., prevention of both unintended pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections).  We encourage this initiative to engage existing and potential contraceptive manufacturers, WHO and regulatory authorities to expand the available range of supplies and suppliers.  Ensuring contraceptive security in light of the trend toward decentralisation in the health system will require adaptation of logistics systems. We encourage the initiative to learn from successful public and private health programmes and encourage public-private partnerships. 

We commit to raising awareness of the importance of commodity security and to support mechanisms that will achieve this between now and 2020. 

Service Provision: Providing Services for all, including Young People

FP is best provided as part of a comprehensive range of services, including sexual and reproductive health.  We support this initiative's efforts to reduce legislative, policy and cultural barriers that restrict access to information or services, for all people, including young people.  This includes removal of barriers such as the requirement of parental or spousal consent and denial of services to unmarried people.  This initiative should expand service delivery mechanisms to, include, those based in the community or mobile clinics and engage the private sector to augment public sector service provision.  We call for efforts to improve quality of care, especially with regards to reducing stigma and ensuring client confidentiality.  The price of services and commodities should not be a barrier to access for the poor.  Where appropriate they should be included within national health insurance schemes.  

We commit to advocate for an enabling policy environment and to deliver high quality services, particularly for those who are poor or vulnerable. 

Financing Mechanism

We are united in our support for increased and sustainable financing dedicated to expanding access to FP information, services and supplies. We support financing mechanisms that build on and leverage existing national plans and programmes.  Such funding should be made available to the public, private and not-for profit sectors based on their ability to deliver cost-effective results.  We support your efforts to ensure that financing for FP is increasingly provided by national governments as an indication of commitment.  This is particularly true for middle income countries, where access to technical assistance or funds for services for extremely hard-to-reach groups may be more appropriate.  Funding to strengthen civil society capacity to hold their governments accountable is also much needed. 

We commit, where possible, to unite to help mobilize additional financial commitments. 

Global Advocacy

This initiative is invigorating the international sexual and reproductive health and rights community.  As we near the 20th anniversary of the ICPD and the expiry date of the Millennium Development Goals, we urge the convenors to support global and regional advocacy efforts that build international support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially FP, as central to sustainable development and a critical component of future development goals.  We also call on the UK Government, as a lead Summit partner, to work with governments to ensure that Summit goals, commitments and plans remain central priorities for the development agenda as it assumes leadership of the G8 in 2013. 

This Declaration was signed by the over 1,305 civil society organizations from 177 countries.

Through a process of global consultations including an online survey, this declaration of support represents the combined views of more than 220 respondents from 57 countries This letter was written through a consultative process involving over 220 Civil Society Organizations and an International Steering Committee from: 

  • Association Malienne pour la Protection et la Promotion de la Famille,
  • Bem Estar Familiar no Brasil, 
  • Centro de Investigacion, Educacion y Servicios
  • Countdown 2015 Europe
  • Marie Stopes Ethiopia,
  • Marie Stopes Ghana,
  • Rahnuma, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan,
  • The Family Planning Action Group – Nigeria,
  • The Family Planning Association of India,
  • The International Planned Parenthood Federation,
  • The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition,
  • The UN Foundation.