FROM THE CO-CHAIRS

 

We live in an age of power and promise. Our capacity to prevent harm and alleviate suffering—to challenge what were once viewed as inevitable conditions of human existence—is unprecedented.

 

Equally unprecedented­­—and equally important—is our shared conviction that we can, and must, use this power for the good of all.

 

The Millennium Development Goals forged a global consensus that we should concentrate our efforts on eight crucial development challenges. Today, at the sunset of the MDG time frame, global poverty has been halved, and 90% of children in developing regions partake in primary education. The likelihood of a child dying before the age of five has been cut in half, and 54% fewer women die from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. United under the banner of Every Woman Every Child, we have improved women’s and children’s health in the world’s poorest countries.

 

Tragically, one benchmark we are far from reaching is that of achieving, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health. Access to family planning information, services and supplies has not progressed as it should and must.

 

Herein lies the promise, and the power, of the Family Planning 2020 initiative. FP2020 is galvanizing momentum toward a visionary, achievable goal: expanding access to high-quality contraceptives for 120 million additional women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by the year 2020.

 

There is good news to report. The spirit of collaboration is alive and well: countries are driving progress, and donors delivered US$1.3 billion in funding for family planning in 2013. Additionally, in 2013, there were 8.4 million more women and girls using modern methods of contraception than there were in 2012.

 

The evidence is clear: when women have access to family planning information, services and supplies, their quality of life improves, and entire communities prosper. When countries provide family planning services to all who want and need them, the result is a cascade of benefits across multiple sectors.

 

We have arrived at a crucial moment. The progress we’ve made toward our goal is remarkable, but that progress must accelerate in the next two years if we hope to stay on track. If we revert to business as usual, we will have squandered a precious opportunity to use our collective strength to elevate the most vulnerable among us.

 

The will to act together, now, to expand access to lifesaving contraceptives for millions of women and girls: this is what FP2020 will deliver. Together, we will succeed.

 

 

 

DR. CHRIS ELIAS

President, Global Development
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

DR. BABATUNDE OSOTIMEHIN

Executive Director
United Nations Population Fund

 

 

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