These are uncertain times for all of us. Like many of you, due to the global spread of COVID-19, the Secretariat has now started working remotely, and the pandemic has thrown some of our workplan into uncertainty. Still, with your help and the help of our partners all over the world, we continue to move forward. We will share relevant resources and information about COVID-19 with the family planning community — including what we are learning about how the pandemic is affecting family planning care, any webinars, findings, and more — as they become available, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, we are so grateful to the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners in the response to COVID-19; if you would like to support the work of WHO and others on the front lines of the pandemic, please visit www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.
As we continue to move forward, our community is deep in discussions about what the future of Family Planning 2020 will look like. We have achieved so much since this innovative global partnership was launched in 2012. The number of users of modern contraception in the 69 FP2020 focus countries has grown by 53 million since FP2020 was launched. We have learned how to better align our efforts, collect and use data, grapple with political and social challenges, build mechanisms for accountability and transparency, and strengthen rights-based approaches in our programming.
And now we are looking to the future with you, building on the strengths of our current partnership.
In 2019, we heard from over 1,000 of you through remote or in-person consultations around the world to help craft a vision for this next phase of our partnership. Your insights have been invaluable, and with your help, we have developed a shared vision that will guide us to 2030, which you can see on our website. The consultation also surfaced important reflections that will reshape the partnership we have built in order to achieve this vision.
Working with many of you over the coming months, a new model will begin to take shape, one that will leverage the momentum that has been created thus far and propel us in our transition. We have heard clearly that this new model should center commitment countries and include a commitments process that is linked to a more transparent and robust accountability framework.
These conversations are continuing during our regular meetings with you — even as these conversations are now taking place virtually. On March 30th, we will host an online Reference Group meeting to discuss the findings of our consultations and the shape of the partnership going forward, its future architecture, and a roadmap for this transition to guide our path ahead.
Prior to recent travel restrictions, we were able to hold the Francophone Focal Point Workshop in Senegal, and the conversations we had there showed how much energy there is for continuing this important work together, evolving our model so that commitments are locally driven, with a circle of support and accountability from the start. We will share more on the workshop in the coming weeks.
The FP2020 Performance Monitoring and Evidence Working Group also met in February to consider adaptations and improvements to our measurement framework that will capture the impact of our shared efforts and increase the capacity for data use at the country level.
And while we had to cancel our consultation with humanitarian experts previously scheduled alongside the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis Settings (IAWG) meeting in Bangkok, we were able to pivot and hold a hybrid meeting in February, with both in-person and online participation. The conversation about the importance of planning ahead of a crisis to ensure uninterrupted access to family planning could not be more clear, as we see daily movements, travel, and global supply chains disrupted by COVID-19. You can see some of our conversation illustrated in the graphic notes from the meeting here. We’ll also be sharing a more comprehensive outcome document from this meeting soon. Our late colleague Jennifer Schlecht conceived this conversation last fall, and she was very much in our thoughts as we met.
While we may not be able to meet with many of you in person over the coming weeks, we will continue to consult with our partners around the world, and look for ways we can keep the conversations going – through webinars, online convenings, and shared learning. And we will spend the second half of the year developing the new partnership mechanism and rolling out our new commitments process toward 2030 goals. We anticipate working with you to make new commitments ahead of the launch of the next iteration of our global partnership at the International Conference on Family Planning in Pattaya City, Thailand in February 2021. I know that this community’s commitment to women and girls is unwavering. Together, we will continue to build and shape this new endeavor in the coming years.
I know we’ll remain strong together throughout 2020 as we continue our work. You have contributed so much to make the partnership what it is today, and together we can ensure that women and girls everywhere have the freedom and ability to determine their futures.