Following the 2012 Family Planning Summit in London, a group of governments,
foundations and NGOs including Marie Stopes International made a commitment
through FP2020 to get contraception to 120 million new users by 2020. This
would be no mean feat, if need were standing still. It isn’t.
By 2020, in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, the number of women of
reproductive age will be up by a third versus 2010. That’s more than a quarter
of a billion women and girls who will require choice in contraception, the
largest number in the continent’s history. As commitment makers, we cannot let
ourselves fall behind the curve in helping those with little or no access.
Stopes International has made a commitment to accelerate our own efforts. In
fact, we’re pledging to double them, reaching 12 million new users with contraception
by 2020. That’s 10% of the total FP2020 goal.
Since 2012, Marie Stopes
International has already reached more than 3 million additional users, over
half of our original commitment. Thanks to the partnerships we’ve formed and
our focus on “advocacy by doing”, we’ve done what we committed to do. This is a
solid achievement, but it’s not enough for us. We know that behind those 3 million
stand many more.
I’m optimistic that we already have
the capacity and commitment to achieve our shared goal; but only with our
fellow commitment makers. This is why I am urging our community to join us not
just in re-committing to their specific contributions but taking practical
steps to get there, now.
We are all in agreement that the
freedom to access and choose contraception is a fundamental human right. We
agree that our focus should stay on unmet need. But we must also
be clearly aligned on how to bridge the gap between the current demand and
supply of commodities to meet it, and who will pay. Unless we step up right now, limited supplies will force us to make
choices we may not like: deciding which methods to provide or which communities
to support and which to leave behind.
It is not
enough just to care: we need practical solutions. It is not enough to hope that
new funding mechanisms will naturally lead governments to make good choices, and
it is simply pointless to keep talking about demand creation or young people,
without first ensuring adequate supply of a choice of contraceptives, the
investment required to deliver them, and an effective method of delivery to
those that need them most.
In making this commitment today, I want
to remind our community of an impending anniversary: July 11th will mark three
years since our initial pledges. Let’s use this as an opportunity to fast track
action and re-double our efforts. This will ensure we are
the movement that both drives our commitment forward and attracts new pledges. Now is the critical juncture between success
and failure. We have much to do but only one chance to get it right. Let’s keep
our promise to 120 million women.