Press Release

12 March 2012

UK Government, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to host Family Planning Summit

Event, supported by partners, including UNFPA, to take place in London in July

UNITED NATIONS, New York — An event is scheduled to be held in London in July to generate political commitment and substantial resources to meet the family planning needs of women in the world’s poorest countries by 2020. The event will be organized by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with support from UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and other partners.

"The freedom to choose how many children to have and when is a fundamental human right. By making this right a reality for all, we can advance maternal health, child survival and gender equality,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

"I call on all stakeholders to join the global effort to improve access to voluntary family planning as an integral part of national health systems,” added Dr. Osotimehin. “It is one of the smartest and most cost-effective investments countries can make towards sustainable development and the empowerment of women and young people."

In trying to exercise their basic human right to determine the number and spacing of their children, more than 215 million women in developing countries want to delay or avoid a pregnancy, but lack effective means of family planning. The July event is meant to intensify efforts to close the gap of unmet needs so that individuals and couples will have the means to make their human right to voluntary family planning a reality.

Increasing access to voluntary family planning information, services and supplies has dramatic health benefits for women and children, preventing up to a quarter of maternal deaths. It is also an extremely cost-effective investment towards the achievement of the maternal and child health Millennium Development Goals and wider development outcomes. And yet, global funding on this issue has been lacking.

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For more information, please contact:

Abubakar Dungus: +1 212 297 5031, dungus[at]unfpa.org or
Omar Gharzeddine: + 1 212 297 5028, gharzeddine[at]unfpa.org