There is a “rolling thunder” of momentum around pledges to FP2020, said Monica Karrigan of the Gates Foundation this morning, when six new countries made commitments to FP2020 at the International Conference on Family Planning. FP2020 is the global effort to increase equitable access to family planning. The new commitments bring the total number of Southern pledging countries to 30.
All five new committing Southern countries are stepping-up financial support for family planning, particularly through budget lines for family planning:
- Democratic Republic of Congo: Recently created a budget line for family planning and reproductive health, and commits to increase its funding allocation to $1 million in 2013-2014;
- Myanmar: Pledges to increase resources for family planning in state budgets. Myanmar recently created a budget line for contraceptives, and allocated $1.29 million to that line item in 2012-2013. Funding for family planning is likely to increase next year, once the health budget is approved this week.
- Mauritania: Pledged to create a budget line for family planning in 2014;
- Guinea: Pledges to fund its family planning budget line item to cover 50% the costs of contraceptives in the country;
- Benin: Will gradually increase funding for contraceptives by 2018;
- Chad: Made a surprise commitment to create a budget line for contraceptives.
These governments also made important policy, access and equity-related goals that need to be implemented to ensure that increased funding reaches the women and girls who otherwise might not benefit from family planning information and services.
This wave of financial commitments is exciting because budget lines facilitate advocacy and accountability to increase access to family planning. With budget lines in place, advocates and government champions can have a clear target to increase a government’s allocation to the budget line. It is also important to follow up during implementation, to make sure that programs are being funded and implemented. Once the financial year is closed, advocates can look to a government’s financial report to see if the funding allocated was actually spent.
The growing number of countries with budget lines for contraceptives makes PAI’s budget advocacy work increasingly relevant. Our partners HERAF in Kenya and Pathfinder International in Tanzania are gathering evidence to tell us if funding allocated to budget lines for contraceptives are actually being spent, or if the money is being redirected elsewhere.The findings for Kenya are in: The government must spend its entire budget allocation on contraceptives, because every year the funding is transferred directly from the Ministry of Finance to KEMSA, the contraceptive procurement agency.
The Kenyan government’s budget line for contraceptives has been stalled at around $6.5 million for many years. But sources suggest that they have increased funding in fiscal year 2013-2014. Kenya’s disbursement system guarantees that this funding will be spent as planned.
Check back next week to learn how PAI is working with colleagues from around the world to ensure that good practices like Kenya’s disbursement system are shared.
Check out my blog series last September analyzing the original London Summit commitments.