Media Coverage

The Guardian: Reclassify Family Planning as Sustainable Development, Writes John Bongaarts

The Population Council Vice President and Distinguished Scholar John Bongaarts makes the case that family planning is more than a vital health and human rights intervention in a published letter to the editor of The Guardian.

Responding to a recent Guardian report that global family planning progress is at risk due to funding shortfalls, Bongaarts asserts that “investments in voluntary family planning are also investments in sustainable development, and therefore should be of as much of concern to ministers of finance as to ministers of health.”

“Only 1% of all overseas development assistance is allocated to family planning. Funding from local governments is typically even lower. In too many countries, programmes remain weak and political commitment is lacking. Family planning is assigned a low national priority, relegated to the health budgets of donors and the portfolios of health ministers, who are often battling a range of other health issues.

From a broader perspective, this low priority is a mistake, because family planning programmes have a wide array of development benefits that often are under-appreciated. In addition to the improved health and empowerment of women and girls, fewer births lead to a boost in the growth of GDP per capita; reduced pressure on the need to build schools, clinics and infrastructure; reduced environmental degradation; and greater political and social stability, as youth unemployment declines. A dollar invested in family planning returns multiple dollars in savings in other development sectors.”

Read more at The Guardian.