IRIN Examines ‘Dramatic Plunge’ In Family Planning International Donor Funding

IRIN examines how a “dramatic plunge” in international donor funding for family planning could undermine other health- and humanitarian-related goals, including fighting poverty and hunger. About 200 million women do not have access to contraception, which could cause a surge in the world’s population leading to a reversal of humanitarian gains, according to some experts.

IRIN reports, “The largest amount earmarked for family planning since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo was in 1995, with $723 million committed, remaining above $600 million for all but one year to 1999. The latest estimate, for 2007, is about $338 million.” Carmen Barroso, western hemisphere director at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said, “In one sense the issue is a victim of its own success … enormous progress in certain countries, regions, and segments of the population” distracted from other areas of the world in need of family planning services.

“The difficulty of course is that every year more young women are ageing into their reproductive years and they would not have heard information campaigns that were done 10 years ago… It used to be that when you arrived in a developing country you would see billboards or hear radio spots advocating family planning; now all you see are HIV/AIDS billboards. That’s where all the money went,” according to Stan Bernstein, a senior demographer at the U.N. Population Fund.

He said family planning was originally omitted from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because reproductive health and issues about women’s rights were thought to be too controversial. Universal access to family planning by 2015 is now included under the maternal health MDG, but its absence at the start slowed things down.

The article includes comment from other experts and examines how the lower family planning funding might affect global climate change goals (7/10).

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