Family planning is the key investment to our future

girl asking for education

IPPF’s primary role in a post-2015 framework is to ensure that sexual and reproductive health is placed at the very heart of the development agenda. Only by working together with other partners including parliamentarians, governments and the private sector, will this be achieved. 

While Millennium Development Goals will have run their course in 2015, the central goal of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994 – access to reproductive and sexual health services including family planning – wasn’t incorporated until very recently in 2007.

This meant that a key strategy to reduce poverty – improving maternal and child health, and promoting gender equality – was completely absent for nearly 10 years after the Millennium Summit. Efforts to promote family planning and reproductive health were effectively undermined by an absence of an overall co-ordinated strategy.

As a result, Millennium Development Goals relating to reproductive health – including access to contraceptives and adolescent fertility rates – have made the least progress: Unmet need for family planning has only gone down by 3% since 1990. 

Family planning is one of the most cost effective development interventions that can be made. Every $1 invested in family planning saves $4 in additional public service and health expenditure. But the global financial crisis continues to affect prospects for potential growth and poverty reduction. In 2011 total Overseas Development Assistance dropped for the first time since 1997. If this decline continues then highest risk countries will be hardest hit. A shortage of available, well trained health staff is also a major challenge for the global health sector.

Our first action point is to establish (by 2015) a new international development framework that includes SRHR as essential priorities. This is Goal 1 of Vision 2020, our new manifesto.

  • Ethiopian girl gets injection
    Ethiopian girl gets injection
  • Ivory coast
    Ivory coast
  • Bangladesh
  • Nicaragua
  • Indonesia
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health: my right, my responsibility
    Sexual and Reproductive Health: my right, my responsibility

Congruent with IPPF's advocacy drive, FP2020 aims to embed family planning at the heart of global development initiatives. Recently at the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda in Monrovia, agreement was reached to frame a single and cohesive post 2015 framework that integrates economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. Empowerment of women and girls, investment in young people’s development, and universal learning and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare was recognized as vital to structural transformation.

Countries which have achieved great progress in recent decades have recognised the national and economic benefits of empowering all women to have access to contraception and control over their own bodies.

At last year’s Family Planning Summit in London, we were able to make an unprecedented commitment to treble the number of women’s and girls’ lives saved each year by 2020.

If we succeed then by 2020, IPPF’s family planning services alone will have saved the lives of 54,000 women and girls, averted 46.4 million unintended pregnancies and prevented 12.4 million unsafe abortions.

At this point in history, through our work we are making a vigorous stand for the universal adoption of sexual and reproductive health and rights policies. 

The stakes are high but our actions now, together, will make a difference for future generations. 

Today, there are 1.8 billion adolescents standing at the crossroads between childhood and adulthood -- making up the largest youth generation in history. Young women and girls account for over half of this demographic.

The choices this generation makes will shape not only their lives, but will have a direct impact on the future of their communities, their nations, and the world around them.