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Global Leaders Assert Action on Family Planning

World leaders addressing more than 2,500 attendees at the first full day of the fourth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Nusa Dua, Indonesia on Wednesday, emphasized the links between family planning and global development.

In particular, they put a spotlight on the role of family planning in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—the new development agenda for the next 15 years, adopted in September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly.

The ICFP is the largest international gathering focused on family planning, serving as a platform for the global family planning community to share insights and chart a collective path forward. The 2016 conference, organized around the theme “Global Commitments, Local Actions,” highlights the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain in achieving the global Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goal of providing 120 million more women around the world with voluntary access to quality contraceptives by 2020. A complete archive of conference live coverage can be found here.

Discussions at the ICFP on Wednesday stressed the urgency of global and local investments in human capital and health to meet family planning needs and drive progress toward the SDGs. Speakers underscored the importance of investing in family planning for both economic progress and for reaching the health- and gender-related SDGs, each of which requires improved access to sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights and services.

“Family planning has really helped for our economic improvement… [In the past 10 years] Indonesia has transformed from a low-income country to a middle-income country, and the success of family planning coordinated by [BKKBN] has been the key. Many parts of the world have admitted that part of Indonesia’s [economic] success is because of family planning,” said Hon. Prof. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Minister of Finance of Indonesia.

“In terms of policy and my position as Minister of Finance, we are committed to making health, including family planning, one of the very important pillars of economic politics,” Prof. Bambang continued.

More than 220 million women worldwide want to plan their families and futures but are not using modern contraceptive methods. Addressing their need for contraception would result in fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer women and girls dying in pregnancy and childbirth and fewer infant deaths—all of which are targets embedded in the SDGs.

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“Family planning is a very strong point for achieving the SDGs. If we [can make it] be part of that… if our family planning programs are strong, we can really make a difference on the SDGs, particularly on health and gender,” said Hon. Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Minister of Health and Social Action, Senegal. “We need to ensure that for universal health coverage [SDG 3], we can integrate the minimum package of contraceptives because this can help us be more efficient and ensure that women can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs… I’m sure this is what we want for our people and our economic growth and progress.”

The day’s second plenary emphasized the importance of creative thinking and risk-taking to develop new solutions to family planning challenges. The session included the launch of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation 2016 Quality Innovation Challenge, which invites conference participants to submit inventive ideas for improving quality in sexual and reproductive health and empowering women and girls. In addition to the five grants of $100,000 selected from in-person submissions made during the lunch plenary, up to four grants of $25,000 will be awarded to winners from online submissions, which are being accepted from 26-29 January (see submission guidelines here).

The conference continues through Thursday, with each day focusing on issues central to global commitments and local actions.-Press release.

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