Madonna can't adopt them all
United Nations officials are expressing fears that planned funding for reproductive health services may fall short of its target.
According to the latest figures released here, international donor assistance to population activities continued to increase over the years - 7.4 billion dollars in 2006 rising to about 8.1 billion dollars in 2007.
The projected funding for 2008 and 2009 was estimated at about 11.1 and 11.2 billion dollars, respectively.
"However, given the current global financial crisis, it is not certain whether donors will live up to their expected future commitments and continue to increase funding levels as they have done in the past few years," says a new report released to coincide with a weeklong session of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development (CPD).
It is possible that the final figures for 2008 and 2009 "will show decreases in levels of funding for population assistance," the study cautions.
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), told IPS that the funding gap for reproductive health, especially family planning, needs to be urgently addressed to ensure progress.
She pointed out that donor assistance for family planning alone - as a percentage of all population assistance - has decreased from 55 percent in 1995, totaling 723 million dollars, to a mere five percent in 2007, totaling only 338 million dollars.
"If not reversed, the low funding for international family planning threatens to derail our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," Obaid said.
"We will not eradicate extreme poverty, hunger and inequality, and achieve the other Millennium Development Goals, unless greater attention is paid to population issues and more resources are devoted to women's empowerment and reproductive health, including maternal health care and family planning," she added.
Currently, there are about 200 million women in the developing world with unmet needs for effective contraception, with the highest unmet needs being in Africa.
"Now is the time to re-energise voluntary family planning. There is no investment in development that costs so little and brings benefits that are so far-reaching and enormous," Obaid declared.
Funny how there's always money for weapons but, when it comes to family planning, which could ease the strain on resources -- and hence mitigate conflict -- funding shrivels up.
$100 million of funding for international family planning results in:
- 3.6 million more contraceptive users
- 2.1 million unintended pregnancies avoided
- 825,000 fewer abortions
- 970,000 fewer unplanned births
- 70,000 infant deaths averted
- 4,000 maternal lives saved
Write to your MPs and tell them you want Canada to support family planning, not war.