Meeting on the sidelines of the International Conference on Family Planning in Thailand, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Special Research Programme HRP, and FP2030 today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing to strengthen collaboration on sexual and reproductive health and rights – especially family planning.
Additionally, WHO made eight commitments to FP2030, a global partnership of organizations working on family planning. These commitments will help expand access to modern contraceptives and family planning information and services, which are fundamental to the health and human rights of all individuals.
“Quality family planning and reproductive health and rights are essential components of universal health coverage and primary healthcare, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, in his opening address to delegates at the 2022 International Conference on Family Planning. “Family planning is also key to many development aims including education, food security, economic prosperity and even climate change.”
Efforts to ensure every person has access to modern methods of contraception have stagnated globally in previous years. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of essential health services, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for sexual and reproductive health are growing further out of reach.
WHO, with its partners, is committed to reversing this situation: accelerating access, quality and uptake of rights-based family planning, contraception and fertility care.
Working closely with HRP, which turns 50 this year, WHO produces innovative and evidence-based guidelines, such as the recently-updated landmark “Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers”. It develops standards to assure the safety and quality of contraception services, provides pre-qualification of more contraceptive methods, and participates in developing new contraceptive technologies – including advancing research into male contraceptive options.
WHO also provides technical assistance to countries, supporting innovations including self-care interventions and use of digital technologies. Investment in capacity building, such as through South to South Learning Exchange and the IBP Network helps to scale up and sustain quality rights-based family planning for all.
Formalizing a partnership for the future
In signing the MoU, Dr Pascale Allotey for WHO and HRP, and Dr Samukeliso Dube for FP2030, pledged to continue to work together in the coming years on several areas. These included providing high-level, leadership, identifying data gaps in collecting evidence about contraception, and assisting countries in realizing their family planning commitments.
Both organizations also pledged to strengthen youth and civil society capacity related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“I am delighted to strengthen the partnership between WHO, HRP and FP2030, towards ensuring all adolescents and women have access to the family planning services they desire,” said Dr Allotey. “270 million women around the world have an unmet need for contraception, jeopardizing their health, their well-being and their futures. Our MoU calls attention to the urgency of the situation and commits to accelerated action on this most fundamental issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
Over the years, various governments, civil society organizations and donors have made commitments to FP2030 to take action to expand access to voluntary, rights-based contraception in their communities.
At the MoU signing, Dr Dube said
“From the beginning, WHO and HRP have been vital partners in the global family planning partnership, connecting commitment makers with the latest research and essential technical assistance and clinical guidance in order to continually improve family planning service delivery. This MoU, in alignment with FP2030’s new regional structure, will deepen this relationship, bringing WHO and HRP’s essential resources that much closer.”