Council Commentary

Family Planning Summit To Reaffirm Global Commitments

Five years after the historic London Summit in 2012, the Population Council joined policymakers, donors, and advocates from around the world as they renewed their commitments and reviewed progress toward the Family Planning 2020 goals to ensure more women and girls around the world can plan their families and their futures. At the end of the week, more than 60 countries, private companies, and partner organizations committed to accelerating progress for family planning.

As the global landscape shifts for family planning and reproductive health funding, the Family Planning Summit proved that many global leaders are stepping up their efforts, not stepping back. In total, governments and NGOs committed at least $2.5 billion to family planning at the Summit and their support to reach 120 million additional women and girls modern contraception by 2020. 

The Population Council played an integral role convening and participating in Summit events across the globe and supporting the advancement of evidence-based policies and programs.

At the Summit the Council called for:

  • Quality to be seen as a right and a tool for achieving FP2020 goals by reducing discontinuation, promoting accountability, and keeping the preferences and needs of women and girls at the center of our efforts.
  • Investment into data and approaches that address the needs of the most vulnerable, particularly young people and those in humanitarian settings. 
  • Continued investment in contraceptive innovations, including a new generation of improved contraceptive products and multipurpose prevention technologies.

“While significant progress has been made in expanding access to quality family planning since 2012, it is clear that the status quo will not result achieve our 2020 goals,” said Julia Bunting, Population Council president and member of the FP2020 Reference Group. “We need to take a hard look at the data at global, national and sub-national levels to find key investment areas where we can accelerate progress.”

Evidence to Accelerate Progress

Since FP2020 launched in 2012, more than 30 million additional women and girls are using family planning across 69 priority countries. In a number of sub-Saharan African countries, strong family planning programs have led to even more dramatic improvements. Despite these accomplishments, progress is behind globally and commitment makers will need evidence-based action plans to accelerate gains.

The Council is working with peers, partners, and governments to deliver much needed research to inform investments, policies, and programs. In advance of and during the Summit, the Council is leading:

Call-to-Action: Strategies for Enhancing Quality of Care in the Context of Rights-based Family Planning captures key recommendations from 35 organizations for improving care in FP2020 focus countries.

  • Recommendations from the session are available here.

Symposium: Bridging the gap to FP2020 Symposium—Evidence to accelerate progress toward meeting the need for family planning, a symposium co-hosted with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines and Marie Stopes International

Spotlight Session:

  • Fixing the Leaking Bucket Spotlight: Improving Quality of Care to Tackle Discontinuation: Improving quality of care is critical for reducing currently high levels of contraceptive discontinuation. Presenters shared practical measures for improving quality and ensuring a client-centered and rights-based approaches.
    • Moderator: Karl Hoffmann, PSI
    • Opening Speakers:
      • Dr Auxilia Ponga Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Development Planning, Zambia
      • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg
    • Panelists:
      • Anrudh Jain, Population Council;
      • Dr. Ian Askew, WHO
      • Jackson Chekweko, Executive Director of Reproductive Health, Uganda
      • Jan Kumar – Independent Consultant and author of How Does Quality of Care Relate to a Rights-Based Approach to Family Planning Programs
  • Making Rights Work - The Positive Impact of Putting Into Practice a Rights-Based Approach to Family Planning: This session reviewed efforts to operationalize rights-based approaches to family planning and its impact, demonstrating that this approach is essential for achieving our goals.
    • Moderator: Suzanne Ehlers, CEO, PAI
    • Opening Speaker: Paivi Sillanaukee, Deputy Minister for Social Affairs and Health Finland
    • Panelists:
      • Karen Hardee, Population Council
      • Tewodros Melesse, Director General, IPPF
      • Junice Melgar, Likhaan Health Clinic for Women, Philippines
      • Pape Gaye,  President and CEO of IntraHealth International
      • Rajat Khosla, WHO
      • Halid Bathsheba, Palladium, Nigeria
  • New Products, New Possibilities - Promoting and Protecting the Rights of All Women and Adolescent Girls to Access Quality Information and a Full Range of Contraceptive Choice: Innovations in contraceptive products and delivery can advance the right of all women and adolescent girls to a range of contraceptive options. The discussion highlighted country examples of task-shifting, total market strategies, rights-based information and services, and introduction of new and/or improved products.
    • Moderator: Julia Bunting, President, Population Council
    • Opening Speaker: Dr. Bernice Dahn, Minister of Health, Liberia
    • Panelists:
      • Berhane Assefa, Family Planning Programme Coordinator, Ethiopia Ministry of Health
      • Dr. Dinah Nakiganda-Busiku - Assistant Commissioner, Reproductive Health, Uganda Ministry of Health
      • Margaret Bolaji, Program Officer, Population and Reproductive Health Initiative, Nigeria
      • Faustina Fynn-Nyame, Director, Women’s Health Project, Population Services International, Kenya
      • Steve Davis, President and CEO, PATH, United States

Satellite Session: In partnership with UNFPA, governments, and partner organizations, the Population Council is supporting key country-led satellite sessions:

  • Zambia: Family Planning Saves Lives - Julia Bunting, President of Population Council, joined Country Director Mike Mbzivo, UNFPA, government officials and diverse experts as they reviewed evidence to inform national family planning policies. For its part, Zambia committed to expanding access to family planning, particularly for underserved populations.
  • Nigeria: National Summit on the Demographic Dividend - John Bongaarts, Vice President and Distinguished Scholar provided a keynote presentation on the demographic dividend and the need to invest in family planning for young people. Hosted by UNFPA and the Acting President of Nigeria President Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria increased its commitment to family planning by $4 million.
  • Pakstan: Family Planning Summit The Population Council, UNFPA, the Pakistan Health Ministry, and the British High Commission co-organized this satellite session that focused on the importance of family planning for Pakistan’s women and girl. “With up to 5 million unwanted pregnancies and an estimated 2 million abortions taking place annually, Pakistan faces a challenge in providing family planning services to all those women and men with unmet needs,” said Dr. Zeba Sathar, Country Director of Population Council in Pakistan. 

Satellite Session

  • Strategies for FP2020 for Enhancing Quality of Care in the Context of Rights-Based Family PlanningThirty-five representatives from governments, NGOs, and donors met to develop recommendations for improving family planning quality of care within FP2020 focus countries. Read the resulting CALL TO ACTION: Strategies for Enhancing Quality of Care in the Context of Rights-based Family Planning.
  • Bridging the gap to FP2020 Symposium—Evidence to accelerate progress toward meeting the need for family planning - A research symposium co-hosted by the Population Council, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Marie Stopes International to share the latest evidence on unmet need for family planning, review evidenced-informed programming for addressing unmet need for family planning, and discuss a research agenda aligned to the global architecture for family planning.
  • Rights-Based Family Planning - Rights: The Unfinished Agenda - A post-Summit convening to identify concrete actions for advancing a rights-based approach to family planning in light of the outcomes of the 2017 London Family Planning Summit, existing challenges and opportunities. 
    • Council Panelists:
      • Julia Bunting, Population Council
      • Kelsey Wright, Evidence Project-Population Council
      • Karen Hardee, Evidence Project-Population Council
      • Anrudh Jain, Population Council

This page has been updated.