Global summit on family planning gets underway in London

A mother holds her child at a family-planning center in Africa

A mother holds her child at a family-planning center in Africa

BY LISA FRENCH

On Tuesday, July 11, the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), in close partnership with its American and Canadian sister organizations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Affairs Canada, will co-host a global summit on family planning in London in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). The mega event is intended to re-energize so-called rights-based family planning programs.

Voluntary family planning saves lives and has the power to boost the development of entire countries,” summit organizers say on their website. They add:

It empowers women and girls to complete their education, create or seize better economic opportunities, and, ultimately, achieve their full potential.”

The organizers also praise family planning as the ideal tool to put women in control of their health and their futures, calling it “one of the best buys in international development, creating more stable and more prosperous societies around the world.”

The 2017 Family Planning Summit plans to use solutions and lessons learned from past such gatherings, broaden its network of partners, and devise solutions aimed especially at segments of the world’s populations that have traditionally been left behind, such as adolescents and youth, women and girls in humanitarian situations.

This one-day summit, which will bring together ministers of finance, health officials, private sector operatives, civil society and youth advocates from around the world, will evolve around the following:

  • Profile commitments from FP2020 countries and demonstrate their continued and increased leadership on family planning;

  • Provide a platform for donors to complement these critical investments;

  • Strengthen global data on adolescents to help inform and improve efforts to increase access and services;

  • Promote an innovative financing solution to address the shortfall in contraceptives;

  • Strengthen national policies and programming to improve the health of adolescents and young people by turning political commitments into evidence-based action plans;

  • Build upon the efforts of the vibrant family planning community to meet the aim of universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including family planning; and

  • Ensure that family planning is more integrated into humanitarian response interventions.

The summit’s proceedings will consist of a mix of plenaries and spotlight sessions. The plenaries will be run by world-renown leaders, civil society organizations and youth advocates, while the spotlight sessions will provide deeper insights into the technical content of family planning work, including on the Sahel, humanitarian settings, young people, the private sector, rights and more.

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