Press Release

Family Planning is a Human Right

11 July 2018

Statement by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund 

2018 World Population Day

11 July 2018

 

 

Today, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund in Zambia joins the Government and people of the Republic of Zambia and partners in commemorating the 2018 World Population Day under the theme “Family Planning is a Human Right”.

 

Family Planning is a key health, development and human rights imperative. Over the past decade, Zambia has recorded significant progress in ensuring universal access to family planning through evidence generation for inclusive policy actions; introduction of innovations and capacity development for health care providers and institutions to scale up provision of rights-based family planning services; as well as empowering women and young people, including poor and marginalized groups, to demand and use family planning. Currently, about 1 in every 2 women (45%) aged 15 to 49 years are reported to use modern methods of contraception, which in 2017 alone enabled the country to prevent an estimated 600 maternal deaths; 10,000 unintended pregnancies; and 6,000 unsafe abortions.

 

As Zambia moves towards achieving its development aspirations of becoming a prosperous middle income country by 2030 and related medium term socio-economic goals elaborated in the 7th National Development Plan (2017-2021), and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, it is important to collectively intensify actions to reduce unmet need for Family Planning from the current 21% to 14% by 2020. These include addressing critical geographic, physical, financial and health system bottlenecks that constrain equitable access to quality and rights-based family planning information and services in every part of Zambia.

 

This is underscored in the message by the UNFPA Executive Director, Ms. Natalia Kanem on the occasion of the 2018 World Population Day:

 

“Fifty years ago, the world declared that ‘parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and the spacing of their children,’ at the United Nations International Conference on Human Rights in Tehran, on 13 May 1968. Family planning is therefore not only a human right; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.

 

Yet, across developing countries, an estimated 214 million women still lack safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. This threatens their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

 

UNFPA supports family planning in developing countries, by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, including an estimated 50% of public sector needs in Zambia, strengthening national health systems, and promoting gender equality.

 

UNFPA is fully committed to continuing to support countries’ efforts to uphold the right of individuals, especially women, to plan a family. We are striving to end all unmet need for voluntary family planning in developing countries by 2030. But, we cannot do this alone.

 

Governments, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society must join forces to make it happen. Given the expected returns for families, societies and nations, sustainable and multi-year actions would be a strategic and doable investment in the world’s future.

 

On this World Population Day, UNFPA calls on government and partners to fulfill commitments to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care and reproductive rights, including family planning services and information, as agreed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Investments in family planning today are investments in the health and well-being of millions of women for generations to come.

 

UNFPA Zambia appreciates existing strategic partnerships under the leadership of the Government of the Republic of Zambia and in collaboration with the United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, European Union, United Nations System and the World Bank in advancing rights-based family planning in Zambia.