This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Family Planning Summit to Address Huge Unmet Need

Unmet need for family planning services is an important idea that was conceptualized many years ago by Charles Westoff at Princeton's Office of Population Research. It builds on Ansley Coale's three preconditions for a fertility decline: (1) accepting the idea that you can control your own reproduction; (2) having a motivation to do so; and (3) having the means available to do so. If you check yes on 1 and 2, but no on 3, then you have an unmet need for family planning. At the moment the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that there more than 200 million such women in the world, and they are trying to do something about it, as reported in The Guardian.
Next month in London an initiative will be launched to meet this unfilled need for modern family planning in developing countries by tackling the estimated $3.6bn (£2.3bn) annual shortfall in investment. The family planning summit is being co-hosted by the UK government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is supporting the initiative so that it can gain traction and support among other donors and UN member countries.
The summit's aim is to mobilise the political will and extra resources needed to give 120 million more women access to family planning by 2020.
It is noteworthy that the Gates Foundation is moving in this direction, since at one time they were interested in promoting health (as they still are), but chose to avoid the more controversial issues surrounding reproduction. The problem, of course, is that as more children survive, it becomes even more important to provide mothers with the ability to limit the number that they have.

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