Thousands Gather In Senegal For Second International Conference On Family Planning

“Thousands gathered in Senegal [Tuesday] for the opening of the second International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the largest meeting of its kind, which will run until December 2, 2011,” the Foreign Policy Association blog reports (Clifford, 11/29). The meeting “will aim to push forward an agenda for broad family planning access and support around the world,” according to the Accra Mail (11/29). “The historic four-day conference features more than 140 plenaries, sessions and panels that will share latest research, proven strategies, and lessons learned in addressing the massive need for contraception worldwide,” the Foreign Policy Association blog writes, adding, “Participants will seek to galvanize greater political and financial support, hold governments accountable for their commitments, and champion contraceptive innovation and access” (11/29).

Speaking at the start of the conference in Dakar, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin “said there was an ‘appallingly high’ unmet need for voluntary family planning” and that “[w]orld leaders must invest more in voluntary family planning programs, … stressing such programs not only save and improve the lives of women and children, but also reduce poverty and empower people,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/29). Stephen O’Brien, the U.K. international development minister, announced at the conference that the U.K. is pledging 35 million pounds for family planning in developing countries “to help prevent the deaths of thousands of women … as a result of unwanted, unsafe pregnancies and backstreet abortions,” the Guardian reports (Boseley, 11/29).