After the London Summit on Family Planning: What Happens Now?September 21, 2012 By Carolyn Lamere
People are still talking about this summer’s London Summit on Family Planning, which was hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Department of International Development (DIFD) on July 11. On Monday here at the Wilson Center, the Environmental Change and Security Program featured representatives from USAID, DFID, and Gates Foundation for a standing-room only panel discussion of the landmark event.
At the summit, donors pledged to extend family planning services to 120 million additional women in developing countries, and to continue to sustain “coverage for the estimated 260 million women in these countries who are currently using contraceptives.” But what do these pledges mean for the future of family planning? Participants are meeting in New York this week to work out the details.
Suzanna Dennis of Population Action International has posted a two-part series analyzing the commitments from developing countries. “I am tired of so many commitments and so little action. But I am hopeful that this London Summit was the culmination of momentum around women’s health, now with an explicit focus on the importance of family planning,” she writes.
The London Summit marks an important new juncture for global family planning. As Melinda Gates said in a TedxChange talk prior to the summit, “I think the goal here is really clear: universal access to birth control that women want. And for that to happen, it means that rich and poor governments alike must make contraception a total priority.” The London Summit has called attention to family planning; the pledges raised are encouraging. But as Dennis writes, “now comes the real test of the London Summit: moving from the promises to reality.”
Sources: London Summit on Family Planning, Population Action International, TedxChange.
Photo credit: “Melinda Gates speaking at the opening of the London Summit on Family Planning,” courtesy of the UK Department for International Development.