June 2010's Edition of
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Global Media Awards Issues a Call for Entries
The Population Institute released the "Call for Entries" for its Global Media Awards (GMA) program. This year marks the 31st Anniversary of the GMAs. The program is a global competition that encourages participation from individuals and organizations in all continents and regions. This year's December award dinner, which will be held in San Francisco, will honor a wide range of journalists and media for their outstanding coverage of population, family planning and reproductive health issues. The awards serve to stimulate high standards of journalism and full and accurate reporting on issues related to population. By encouraging better coverage of population and development issues, the GMAs serve to educate policymakers, opinion leaders and the general public about the impacts of population growth and the benefits of ensuring that all women have access to family planning and reproductive health services.
Fight over Foreign Aid Levels Imperils U.S. Family Planning Assistance
The President's proposed foreign aid budget has run into opposition in Congress, opposition that could also endanger the President's proposed increase in international family planning assistance. Opponents of the President's proposed freeze on discretionary domestic spending are among those seeking cuts in the international affairs budget.
Gates Foundation Commits $1.5 Billion to Save Women’s and Children’s Lives
On June 7th, at the Women Deliver conference in Washington, D.C., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made a pledge that will boost support for international family planning. Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates announced that the Gates Foundation would be committing $1.5 Billion over the next five years to maternal and child health, family planning, and nutrition programs in developing countries. Gates said, "Every year, millions of newborns die within a matter of days or weeks, and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth. The death toll is so huge, and has persisted for so long, it's easy to think we’re powerless to do much about it. The truth is, we can prevent most of these deaths – and at a stunningly low cost – if we take action now."
G8 Leaders Pledge Higher Support for Family Planning and Reproductive Health
International family planning assistance received a boost on June 26, when donor nations at the G8 Summit in Canada released the details of the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal and Child Health, which included a pledge of $5 billion of "new money" from the G8 over the next five years for maternal, newborn, and child health. The official communiqué indicates that the new commitments will expand access to modern methods of family planning to an additional 12 million couples. While the pledges may help to increase the overall level of international support for family planning and reproductive health services, reviews from the family planning and maternal health communities were mixed. Advocates were hoping for a larger commitment, as it looks increasingly likely that the MDG 5 goals, including the goal of providing universal access to reproductive health services, will not be met.
Women Deliver Conference Held
The Women Deliver conference took place in Washington D.C. June 7-9th, drawing global attention to the theme of “Delivering Solutions for Women and Girls." Women Deliver, a global advocacy group formed at a 2007 conference, brought together over 3,000 attendees from around the world to focus on the importance of increasing funding for Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, which seeks to reduce maternal mortality rate in developing countries by three-quarters (from 1990 levels), and provide universal access to family planning and reproductive health services by 2015. The conference brought together advocates, policymakers, youth, and health care professionals from 146 countries, the heads of five U.N. agencies and the Secretary General to highlight three main messages: maternal and newborn mortality rates are dropping, but the work is far from done, investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do, but it makes economic sense, and solutions exist to achieve MDG5, what is needed are the political will and allocation of resources.
Breakaway Game Released at World Cup
This month, in conjunction with the World Cup, the Population Media Center and Champlain College's Emergent Media Center launched the first three chapters of an electronic game called Breakaway, which uses the game of soccer to help combat violence against women.
Annual Failed States Index Reveals Link to Rapid Population Growth
Every year Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace release a Failed States Index that offers a detailed assessment of which nations are on the verge of failing. This year's list of the top failing states does not contain many surprises. They include such headline-grapping failures as Somalia, Sudan Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. One thing they all have in common is rapid and unsustainable population growth. The Failed States Index rated every one of the top ten failed states for "demographic pressures" at 8.1 or higher on a scale of 1-10. Somalia and Zimbabwe, the top two failed states, ranked 9.6 and 9.4, respectively. The total population of the top ten failed states is estimated at 397 million in 2009, and it is expected to double by 2050.