The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a commitment of $375 million over three years in support of Family Planning 2020 — a global public-private partnership working to provide an additional hundred and twenty million women and girls with access to effective contraception by 2020.
Announced at the Family Planning Summit 2017, which the Gates Foundation is co-hosting this week in London, the funding will support efforts to improve supply chains and the availability of contraceptives in sixty-nine target countries, with about $250 million to be earmarked for efforts targeting adolescent girls and the particular challenges they face. The commitment represents a 60 percent increase in the foundation's funding for family planning, the Guardian reports.
At least thirty-seven governments, sixteen private companies, and eleven multilateral and civil society organizations and private foundations are expected to announce commitments totaling $2.5 billion at the summit. The majority of the funding ($1.5 billion) has been committed by countries in Asia and Africa, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Indonesia, and Uganda. In addition, a new bridge funding mechanism will enable UNFPA Supplies, the world's largest provider of contraceptives, to accelerate the procurement process, shrink the cost of contraceptives, and reduce stock-outs by up to 50 percent. Nonprofit organizations announcing new commitments include Americares, Blue Ventures, and the International Rescue Committee.
Progress over the five years since Family Planning 2020 was launched has been mixed, with only thirty million additional women and girls having gained access to effective contraception. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is moving to eliminate funding for family planning; in addition to withholding an estimated $500 million annually from nongovernmental organizations that provide information about abortions or facilitate them, the White House has decided to defund the United Nations Population Fund and has zeroed out funding for global family planning efforts in its proposed budget.
"This is a difficult political climate for family planning. I'm deeply concerned about the White House's proposed budget cuts to global family planning efforts," Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates wrote in a blog post. "This additional funding won't begin to fill the gap that proposed U.S. budget cuts could create. But it will help build a bridge to the women and girls we have yet to reach."