At Generation Equality Forum, up to US$100 million pledged to Global Financing Facility to help countries reclaim the gains and build a more resilient and equitable recovery.
June 30, 2021, Paris – In recognition of the need for urgent action for women and adolescents amid impacts of COVID-19, the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) has launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Acceleration Plan together with Canada, Netherlands, Norway, UK, Buffet Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At the same time, and as part of the broader set of commitments made at the Generation Equality Forum, the Gates Foundation is committing up to US$100 million to the GFF to help countries to reclaim the gains lost due to COVID-19 and build a more resilient and equitable recovery, including through support to the urgent SRHR agenda.
Prior to COVID-19, significant investments by countries and the international community in sexual and reproductive health and rights had contributed to reducing maternal and child mortality, improving health outcomes for women and adolescent girls, and advancing gender equality.
But despite this progress, significant gaps remain: every year, 200 million women and adolescent girls who do not want to get pregnant cannot access contraception; at least 10 million teenage girls give birth – often as a result of unintended pregnancy; and nearly 300,000 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. With women hit the hardest from the secondary impacts of the pandemic, COVID-19 has underscored the need for accelerated and irreversible actions on gender equality.
Accelerated actions are needed because modest progress, which had been slow and uneven to begin with, is now under threat. Irreversible actions are needed because the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that, fundamental systems that underpin many societies also tend to be gender-biased.
The GFF and partners will deliver on the Generation Equality Forum agenda through the Acceleration Plan, which will over the next five years:
- Expand access to family planning for more than 25 million additional adolescents and women.
- Integrate comprehensive SRHR services for the health systems in at least 20 additional countries and catalyze increased and more efficient financing for SRHR;
- Advance legal and policy reforms in 10 countries to create more opportunities for women, girls and adolescents to access SRHR services and information and
- Increase support to women and youth-led organizations networks and movements with at least 3 million USD per year.
Further the new contribution of the Gates Foundation will help close the $1.2 billion funding gap needed to reclaim the gains lost from the pandemic for women, children and adolescent health in GFF partner countries.
The Gates Foundation US$100 million commitment to the GFF is structured so that up to US$75 million can be used immediately in partner countries. An additional US$25 million is available as a ‘match’ to help encourage new funders to the GFF by increasing the impact of their contribution.
Prof Charlemagne Ouedraogo, Minister of Health, Burkina Faso: "As a GFF partner country, the successes in Burkina Faso show that strong country leadership coupled with donor support can profoundly improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. As the pandemic threatens to undermine the progress we have made, it is urgent to sustain the work we are doing with GFF and redouble our efforts."
Chris Elias, President of Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: “The Global Financing Facility is a critical partner in delivering quality family planning care alongside other essential services critical throughout the lives of women and girls: from pregnancy-related care to childhood immunizations and nutrition support. Their work has never been more important – both to protect the health and wellbeing of women and girls and ensure a more resilient and sustainable COVID-19 recovery.”
Ms. Mari Pangestu, Managing Director of Development Policy & Partnerships, World Bank: “Gender equality and sexual and reproductive health services need to be part of overall recovery efforts by countries, given that women and girls have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing health and economic crisis. Together with the GFF, governments and partners, we must seize the momentum to advance gender equality and set the path for green, resilient and inclusive development.”
H.E. Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands: “It is essential for the health and rights of women and girls that we take urgent action. The Netherlands sees the rights of women and girls as a benchmark for all human rights. When these come under pressure, others will follow.”
H.E. Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Norway: “The pandemic has taken millions of lives and may cost us years of progress in our quest to eliminate poverty and reach the SDGs. More costly than almost anything else would be the loss of the gains we have made on the health of women, children, and adolescents. This is why we are firmly committed to the GFF Acceleration Plan so we can reclaim the gains and accelerate progress for SRHR.”
Kosi Izundu, Program Officer, Reproductive Health and Family Planning, Pathfinder, Nigeria: “The GFF is one of the most effective partnerships working with civil society and youth to help ensure that hard-earned health gains are not erased by the pandemic, while supporting and empowering country-led, sustainable health systems for the future. Today’s commitment is a critical milestone to raise the necessary funds and I hope that other donors will step up to ensure the GFF is fully funded.”
Dr. Muhammad Pate, Director, Global Financing Facility: "We are grateful to the Gates Foundation for their generous contribution to the GFF. As a founding partner, our collaboration has helped ensure more women can access family planning, build more equitable health systems and keep gender equality high on the agenda. This new commitment will help increase our reach and accelerate our impact at the local level for women, children and adolescents."
About the Global Financing Facility
The Global Financing Facility (GFF) is a multi-stakeholder partnership of the World Bank that supports country-led efforts to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. With the GFF, countries are making smarter, more prioritized, results-focused investments toward greater impact on the health, nutrition and well-being of women, children and adolescents; building capacity for more sustainable funding for this agenda; and exploring more innovative ways to work with the private sector.
Since the GFF was founded in 2015, partner countries have made significant progress to improve maternal and child health. Learn more here: Annual report
In March, the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) launched a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising campaign for 2021 to support the world’s poorest countries to reclaim the health gains of women, children and adolescents lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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