Small steps in the right direction but future financing for sexual and reproductive health must be sustainable

mother and child during a medical visit

5th October 2015, Lima, Peru: Ahead of the 2015 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG), IPPF warns that future financing for sexual and reproductive must be prioritized by the WBG and must be sustainable.

IPPF welcomes new data from the WBG that shows that the WBG’s spending has increased from 14 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent of the total health portfolio allocated to reproductive health in 2015. In real terms, this is an increase from US$ 265 million in 2014 to $642 million that the WBG has invested in reproductive health in 2015.

However, IPPF is disappointed that the WBG is not renewing its Reproductive Health Action Plan which expires this year, given current need to increase sustainable financing for sexual and reproductive health and the scale and ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), progress would need to be almost three times faster to meet the SDG target on reducing maternal to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.

IPPF remains concerned that without the WBG committing to a dedicated strategy and ring-fenced financing window for sexual and reproductive health, future financing may decrease because of lack of prioritization and political will. Moreover, without clear accountability mechanisms, at both the global and national levels, there will be no way of tracking spending and monitoring whether financing for sexual and reproductive health increases in future years to come.

New funding mechanisms, such as the Global Financing Facility (GFF), must prioritize reproductive health, an area where funding is urgently needed but often neglected.

Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF said: ‘As we look to the future, we must ensure that financing for sexual and reproductive health increases to meet the needs of women and girls around the world. Civil society should be given the space and resources to undertake an independent monitoring role, tracking the implementation of the GFF at national and global levels and holding governments and the donor community to account if they fail to deliver.”

While IPPF recognizes that additional international and domestic funding is needed for SRHR, we are concerned about the GFF Trust Fund, which explicitly links grant to loan funding. This could have negative implications for countries as they incur further cycles of indebtedness, and does not build a sustainable model of financing for sexual and reproductive health. In order to ensure that loan financing does not undermine sustainable development, loans should be considered generally inappropriate for financing of recurring operating (current) costs, except in clearly specified circumstances. Rather, IPPF recommends that mechanisms within the GFF should make available sufficient grant assistance to ensure that access to essential reproductive health information, services and supplies is ensured without loan financing of annually recurring operating costs.

Read IPPF's briefing "The World Bank Group's funding for sexual and reproductive health"

For further contact:

Fiona Salter: [email protected]

Amber Henshaw: [email protected]