For immediate release

New Investments in Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 Would be Accelerated by Family Planning
Statement by Population Action International President & CEO Suzanne Ehlers

“This week, the World Bank Group, UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Norway committed to $1.15 billion in funding over the next three years to help achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. MDGs 4 and 5 which focus on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health including universal access to contraception are two of the most off-track of the development goals.

PAI applauds this renewed effort and momentum. These commitments represent one of the largest injections of funds for maternal and child health since the MDGs were established and have the potential to save as many as three million lives. However, with just 829 days until the MDG deadline of December 31, 2015, family planning and reproductive health must be prioritized in order to realize their full impact.

Right now, 222 million women in the developing world want to prevent pregnancy but need modern contraception. Estimates show that ensuring all women who want to use contraception can do so would reduce maternal mortality by 30 percent globally. Investing in reproductive health and enabling every woman to choose if and when to become pregnant over the course of her life will keep more women and their children alive and healthy

Donors are already lagging behind on existing family planning commitments, with the vast majority falling far short of their fair share. Their commitments must also be met by more concrete actions from developing country governments.  While new pledges should be celebrated, there must be an equal responsibility among donors, developing country governments and civil society to ensure they do not become empty promises for women. ”