On World Population Day, two former UNFPA Executive Directors, Dr. Nafis Sadik and Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, released the following statement calling on the world to prioritize the work of the London Summit on Family Planning:
“Today leaders from around the world have gathered in London for an historic summit to tackle an issue that we believe is the key to global development – access to voluntary family planning, which reduces maternal and child mortality, builds stronger families and more prosperous communities. As former leaders of UNFPA, we welcome the London Summit on Family Planning as a critical step toward achieving universal access to reproductive health — one of the main pillars of UNFPA’s work.
“The London Summit on Family Planning is a new opportunity to take action. We call on global leaders to make family planning a top priority, and strengthen the work of UNFPA to reach Millennium Development Goal 5 – universal access to reproductive health care – and achieve the ICPD Programme of Action.
“Throughout our decades of work, we have seen that women around the world not only want – but need – access to voluntary family planning. We have heard too many stories about women with debilitating injuries from childbirth, mothers who lost their children or lost their own lives.
“The need for universal access to reproductive health was first laid out at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. UNFPA, under the leadership of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, has continued this strong mandate. Yet, two decades later, many governments have still not prioritized funding for voluntary family planning. Women and their families can’t afford for governments to wait any longer. Their lives and the health of their families depend on it.
“Let’s continue the momentum from the Summit to deliver for women and girls around the world.”
Dr. Nafis Sadik served as the Executive Director of UNFPA from 1987-2000. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid served as the Executive Director from 2000-2010.
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