FP2020 or Family Planning 2020 was launched in July 2012 at the London Summit on Family Planning, and plans to create access to contraceptives for 120 million women by 2020. Eighteen leaders from “civil society, governments, multi-lateral organizations, technical institutions and foundations” form the Reference Group for FP2020, which is responsible for providing coordination between partners and existing structures to improve women’s access to voluntary family planning services. The group’s job is also to ensure that the $2.6 billion in financial commitments made by donor countries, international agencies, civil society and the private sector are utilized appropriately. The Reference Group includes representatives from The United Nations Foundation, The World Health Organization, and International Planned Parenthood Federation, to name a few.
The plenary discussion, “FP2020: Analyzing Progress, Catalyzing Action”, will examine the achievements of FP2020 “commitment countries”, current donor commitments, and attempt to “accelerate action for new commitments”. Current commitment countries are countries that have pledged donations to FP2020, and have committed to supporting FP2020 endeavors within their nations. Overall, this meeting will investigate the global progress of FP2020 since the 2012 London Summit.
FP2020 combines the efforts of various stakeholders to tackle barriers preventing women from using contraceptives.
As noted by the Population Council, in order for family planning services to reach women and girls, participants must have
Easy access to a wide range of affordable contraceptive methods through multiple delivery channels in a good-quality, reliable fashion.
FP2020 has also acknowledged that severe gaps remain in the research, and that many of these gaps need to be closed and better data and information needs to be gathered in order for FP2020 to be a success.The Population Council contributed to FP2020 through identifying current gaps in research and implementation of family planning services. An outcome document, “Reviewing the Evidence and Identifying Gaps in Family Planning Research: The Unfinished Agenda to Meet FP2020 Goals”, identified 12 knowledge gaps that need to be addressed, and a following report, “FP2020: A Research Roadmap”, lays out guidance on how to address five of the most critical gaps:
- Identify and understand the needs of the most vulnerable and underserved
- Assess the impact of structural interventions on family planning use
- Evaluate and expand interventions tailored to specific needs of adolescents living in varying circumstances
- Determine cost-effective strategies for mainstreaming integrated family planning services
- Identify innovative and sustainable financing mechanisms that increase access without compromising choice or affordability
To track the progress of FP2020 you can visit the Track20 website, which allows you to view a list of the participating countries and track the progress of contraceptive use in each country.
According to international development professional Michael Holscher, FP2020 progress so far includes the fact that “strategic partnerships secured a 50 percent price reduction on contraceptive implants for the world’s poorest countries.” This achievement will allow longer-term contraceptive methods such as implants to be more affordable and accessible. Additionally, funding is being prioritized, and participating countries are proving to be committed to advancing the goals of the program.
Holscher also suggests that the most important factors for the success of FP2020 include scaling up funding, overcoming logistical barriers for the poorest countries, ensuring proper measurement of outcomes, and working to maintain choice and access for women. He goes on to comment that countries such as India, Indonesia, and Vietnam that are currently transitioning to “middle income” countries may not likely benefit from the program in the coming years. If donors no longer support FP2020 efforts in those middle income areas, programs will not be sustainable there. This viewpoint should be considered when discussing how to make FP2020 a success.
If FP2020 reaches its goal, over 380 million women around the world will be able to plan their own families. We know women want the opportunity to take control over their family planning and reproductive decisions, and we know that it is not only for the benefit of the women, but for their families and communities as well. If implemented properly, FP2020 has the potential to make this a reality for hundreds of millions of women around the world.
Please use #ICFPLive to follow the progress of the International Conference on Family Planning happening now, and find out more about the progress of FP2020! You can also follow FP2020 on Twitter @FP2020Global.
* Featured image by author.