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The Population Institute today announced plans to launch a global petition campaign next year to build support for family planning and reproductive health services. The U.N. has set the year 2015 as the target year for achieving universal access to family planning and other reproductive health services, but international support for achieving that goal has fallen short of expectations. Robert J. Walker, the Population Institute’s Executive Vice President, said “If we are going to get back on track, the U.S. and other donor nations need to step up their support for family planning by at least $1 billion in 2011.”
Two months ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at a U.N. conference on the Millennium Development Goals, that the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were joining forces to increase by 100 million the number of women in the developing world who have access to family planning services by 2015. Walker noted, however, that “While the Obama Administration is committed to expanding family planning and achieving universal access, efforts to increase funding will encounter stiff resistance in the next Congress. Our opponents will seize the deficit reduction targets as an excuse for cutbacks in family planning. We can’t let that happen. We should fulfill America’s commitment.”
The goal of the 2011 petition campaign will be to collect one million online signatures on behalf of a $1 billion increase in the current level of international support for family planning and reproductive health services. The petition, which will be global in scope, will be presented to leaders in the U.S. and other donor nations at the end of the campaign. The U.S., which spent $648 million last year on international family planning, is the single largest donor nation, but more than a dozen other nations in recent years have pledged to boost their contributions.
Walker said that the campaign, which will seek signers in developed and developing nations alike, will demonstrate to world leaders that there is widespread, global support for meeting the 2015 target. “Lawmakers in the U.S and other donor nations need to hear from their own constituents and the people in the developing world for whom these programs are so important.”
The petition campaign, which will be supported by other allied organizations working in the areas of family planning and reproductive health, will be launched in January of 2011.