Governments and Philanthropies Commit to Increase Investments to End the Funding Shortfall for Lifesaving Family Planning Supplies
NEW YORK, 19 September 2023 —In a major step toward expanding access to voluntary family planning for millions who need it, global health leaders, including country ministers and philanthropists, announced a bold vision and new commitments to end the funding shortfall for lifesaving contraceptive supplies.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making a long-term commitment of up to $100 million to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership to support commodity procurement directly.
- The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) intends to double its commitment to the GFF to $50 million—as well as a further $50 million towards broader efforts to end the gap in commodity financing, including to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership.
- The Government of Germany announced a core contribution of US$50.5 million to UNFPA. In addition, Germany is also supporting the UNFPA Supplies Partnership and the Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands also declared their ongoing support for sustainable financing initiatives.
- Country leaders signaled their commitment to improving access to family planning by mobilizing more domestic resources for supplies.
“This new wave of funding will help UNFPA and our government partners protect and expand access to modern contraceptives and other critical sexual and reproductive health supplies, especially during humanitarian crises, when access can be difficult," said Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. “When women and young people have access to the contraceptive method of their choice, they can have power and agency over their bodies and futures.”
However, despite these generous commitments, greater and more sustainable financing is needed to plug the global funding gap for contraceptives. Today, an estimated 257 million women want to avoid pregnancy but are not using safe and modern methods of contraception. Unintended pregnancies, which constitute half of all pregnancies, lead to reduced education and labor participation, as well as increased vulnerability to poverty.
Global financing is failing to meet the need. Last year alone, the world fell more than $100 million short of the financing needed for countries to meet women’s demand for contraceptives. Without the acceleration of commitments and the right, sustainable financing approaches, this gap will cumulatively reach at least $1 billion by 2030.
“Contraceptives are critical building blocks of women’s economic, political, and social power. And we’ve seen time and again that when a woman has power over her body and future everyone benefits, including her family, her community, and her country,” said Melinda French Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We’re making a long-term commitment to UNFPA Supplies because it’s a proven way for governments, philanthropies, civil society and the private sector to work together and make sure that every woman can access the contraceptives that work for her and help her unleash her potential.”
To address the funding shortfall, governments, together with donors, civil society, and multilateral institutions, are ushering in a paradigm shift from “funding” to “financing”—enabling countries to gradually increase their own domestic financing for reproductive health commodities, rather than relying on donor contributions. Today’s announcements aim to build sustainable pathways to ensuring contraceptive access as more women seek to protect their health and their future.
“There is a huge unmet need in low-income countries for access to and a greater choice of contraceptives. Until that need is met, a woman’s health and rights are compromised,” said Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank. “Today’s announcement about financial support for countries who are working to improve the health and rights of women and girls is a huge step forward. By drawing on the powerful combination of GFF grant financing and World Bank/IDA concessional financing, countries will have more flexible resources to address their needs, in particular family planning.”
“It is a moral outrage that hundreds of millions of women and girls, who want and need contraception, too often go without as a direct result of the funding gap for contraceptive supplies and service delivery,” said Sir Chris Hohn, Chair and Founder, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). “The cost of filling this gap is small relative to the immense gains for countries, communities, and individuals – making contraception a best buy for development. Existing commitments, including CIFF's, are not enough: we call on all other funders and partners to work with us to end the cycle of funding shortfalls for life-saving contraceptive supplies once and for all.”
Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany
“Investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights is key to Germany’s commitment to a more equitable and just future for all. In times of crisis, women and girls’ access to basic health services is often restricted, with devastating consequences. Resilient health systems require sustainable financing, broad partnerships, and strong national ownership. Our support to the Global Financing Facility and UNFPA serves exactly this purpose.“
Pascalle Grotenhuis, Vice-Minister for International Cooperation, The Netherlands
“Women’s access to family planning is a fundamental right. It supports bodily autonomy, gender equality and improves health, which is why it is a key part of The Netherlands’ feminist foreign policy. We look forward to working with our country partners, UNFPA and the GFF to help drive more sustainable financing for family planning commodities, ensuring that no woman or adolescent girl is left behind.”
Professor Awa Marie Coll Seck, Minister of State, Senegal
“Many countries in the region are facing difficult choices in the face of economic headwinds, climate stress, and insecurity. These circumstances are squeezing government budgets and threatening progress. But prioritizing the health and wellbeing of women and adolescents, including through better access to family planning, is the type of game changing investment that builds the resiliency of countries and helps chart the path for future growth. This is why models of co-investment and partnerships, such as GFF and UNFPA, are a key tool to support national commitment and sustainability.”
Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, Malawi
“Malawi is experiencing some of the fastest declines in maternal and child mortality the world has ever seen. Contributing to this progress is our guiding principle: no parenthood before adulthood. We have increased access to family planning services, and strive to ensure that no woman or adolescent girl is left behind. We look forward to working in partnership with UNFPA, the GFF, and the World Bank to sustain this progress, to build ever stronger national systems, and to deliver a healthier future for all.”
Kenneth Prudencio, Head of Advocacy, Association de Soutien à l’Autopromotion Sanitaire Urbaine, and Global Youth Platform Co-Chair, GFF Investors Group
“Young people envision a future in which unrestricted and fair access to family planning isn't just a commitment but a tangible reality. It involves considering their unique circumstances and context. It means empowering them to decide about their own future. It implies guaranteeing that every voice is heard and every need is met.”
UNFPA and the GFF partner with countries on innovative, complementary approaches to support sustainable financing:
- The GFF supports countries to develop prioritized, costed health plans that are centered on delivering the most impactful benefits for women, children and adolescents, including the provision of contraceptives. Through the GFF, a new approach will be pioneered to create a wave of country-led procurement that will transform the long-term funding of commodities. Countries draw on the powerful combination of GFF grant financing and World Bank/IDA concessional financing to channel more ‘on budget’ financing for health. This leads to increased domestic spending on health by making the financing part of the ongoing government budget, whilst increasing accountability and sustainability of health financing.
UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, with the mission to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA’s goal is ending unmet need for family planning, preventable maternal death, and gender-based violence and harmful practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation by 2030.
The UNFPA Supplies Partnership is UNFPA’s flagship thematic fund—and the only UN programme dedicated to family planning. With support from donors and commitments from partner countries, the Partnership is working to strengthen health systems and supply chains or increased contraceptive choices for all populations of reproductive age, ensuring no one is left behind and supplies reach the last mile.
About the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents
The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) is a country-led global partnership housed at the World Bank that is committed to ensuring all women, children and adolescents can survive and thrive.
The GFF has therefore pioneered a shift from traditional development approaches to a more sustainable way forward where governments lead and bring global partners together to support a prioritized, costed national plan for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition in the world’s most vulnerable countries. The GFF has already catalyzed high-impact investments through the combination of the GFF grants, financing from International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the crowding in of additional domestic and external resources.