Among the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted in September 2015, is Target 3.7: “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.”
The programme to achieve that goal is making progress but is not on target. International aid for family planning also suffered a blow in 2017 when President Trump cut overseas aid funding to family planning programmes and stopped all funding to the United Nations Population Fund, the UN agency responsible for family planning.
Support for family planning is an essential and cost-effective form of aid. People provided with contraception and the information and freedom to use it confidently and effectively almost inevitably choose to reduce their family size. This reduces pressure on family finances, improves maternal and child health, reduces demand for health and educational services and allows more women to enter the workforce.
An international expert panel calculated that $1 of overseas aid spent on family planning in a developing country can be “worth” $120 of other aid.
National governments should aim in principle to spend 10 per cent of international aid on family planning services. While circumstances in recipient countries and needs arising from humanitarian crises or emerging threats may indicate a different actual figure, 10% should be a benchmark for funding.
What you can do
- Ask your political representative to support the call for a benchmark figure of 10 per cent of the overseas aid budget to be set for family planning.
- If you give to a developmental charity, ask them what they are doing to support sexual and reproductive health and rights.