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Cross-party call to make family planning a priority

Cross-party call to make family planning a national development priority

Wellington, Tuesday 11 July 2017:

This World Population Day the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development (NZPPD) renews its call to Pacific governments to make family planning a national development priority.

With increasing recognition of the value in investing in family planning in the Pacific and globally, 2017 World Population Day theme - Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations is particularly relevant.

Providing safe, accessible and voluntary family planning has social and economic benefits contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable development. Family planning impacts women’s empowerment and promotes gender equality.

When women can decide whether and when to have children they have more opportunities to complete their education, their autonomy in the household increases and their ability to earn an income improves. This not only lifts women’s economic security and well-being, it also benefits their families, and even their communities. Family planning therefore has the potential to boost the development of entire countries.

The use of voluntary family planning in the Pacific is improving and a number of Pacific governments, including Kiribati and Tonga, acknowledge that increasing access to family planning is a high level development priority. The Kiribati Development Plan 2016-2019 identified ‘increased access to and use of high quality comprehensive family planning services’ as a key outcome.

“We commend the Pacific governments that already recognise sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and family planning in their development plans and urge other Pacific leaders to make SRH and family planning a national priority. While the Pacific continues to have some of the highest unmet need for contraception in the world, it is clear that there is still more that needs to be done, says Joanne Hayes (MP), NZPPD Chair.

“Enabling people to make choices about their health and their futures is empowering, particularly for women. Family planning contributes to sustainable development and is one of the most cost-effective investments in international development. Making SRH and family planning a national priority has wide reaching benefits and will help Pacific countries fulfil their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The NZPPD is a cross-party group which provides a forum for parliamentarians to engage and act on international population and development issues, with a particular focus on the Pacific. Family Planning New Zealand hosts the NZPPD Secretariat.

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