London pledging conference takes on family planning

A mother of two seeks contraception advice so she can plan the size of her family. Photo by: Pippa Ranger / DfID / CC BY-NC-ND

Is family planning “back at the heart of the global development agenda?”

With an upcoming major international conference set to focus on the issue and seek financial pledges to support family planning services in the developing world, population and development expert John May says it is.

May, a member of Center for Global Development’s global health policy team and former lead population specialist at the World Bank, is referring to the London Summit on Family Planning to be held July 11 in the United Kingdom. The summit is hosted by the U.K. governmentBill & Melinda Gates FoundationU.N. Population Fund and other partners. It is expected to raise up to $4 billion in pledges to deliver family planning services over the next eight years, May says.

“The London Summit finally brings back to the development agenda an issue that has been for too long neglected and obscured by ideology,” May explains, adding that a global discussion on family planning “is the sensible thing to do and at the right time.”

May does recognize that the challenge lies in the implementation, a task he describes as “huge, urgent and achievable.” To ensure success of family planning efforts, he stresses all actors must have a sense of urgency, family planning must remain voluntary, broader development goals are taken into account, and more evidence-based policies are implemented.

Do you think the international community is really ready to tackle this much-politicized issue head on? Let us know in the comments.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.