Posted by Caitlin C McCollow on August 30, 2018 at 10:07 am
Brussels, August 29, 2018: The latest Euromapping report on global funding for family planning (FP) and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) highlights the US as the world’s leading donor in this field, but that data does not accurately reflect the withdrawal from this field by the Trump presidency. The reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, better known as the Global Gag Rule, in 2017 will accelerate a decline in US funding in the coming years. It is the responsibility of other global donors in Europe and the rest of the world to step up and make sure that life-saving funding for family planning, contraception and maternal health does not disappear.
At the launch of the report in the European Parliament in Brussels today, Neil Datta, Secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF), whose organisation co-authored the report together with Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), raised the alarm about the over-reliance on the US as a global donor, and challenged the complacency of European donors: “The implications of the Global Gag Rule are colossal. Trump’s policy creates a vacuum of an estimated $8.8 billion of US global health assistance, meaning women and girls in about 60 low- and middle-income countries will have less access to contraception, resulting in more unintended pregnancies, and more – often unsafe – abortions.
“If other countries fail to fill this void, the restrictions will cause easily preventable maternal deaths, and cut services linked to newborn, infant and child health, including vaccinations; prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB); and nutrition programs.”
The Euromapping report tracks the annual commitments and disbursements for FP and RMNCH by a selection of 30 OECD members. Not only tracking overall spending, it also reports this funding as a percentage of a donor’s overall overseas development assistance (ODA).
The latest report, based on 2016 OECD data, reveals that while the EU institutions together with France, Germany, and the UK rank near the top of the list for total funding, this funding still only makes up a small percentage of their overall ODA. What’s more, the EU, for example, makes up 57% of all the ODA spent by the 30 donors covered in the Euromapping report, but only 30% of all donor commitments to FP and RMNCH. This discrepancy needs to be addressed in the next EU multiannual budget, which will be negotiated over the next 18 months in Brussels.
Cecile Vernant, Head of EU office for DSW, said: “The EU has a once in a decade opportunity to put itself forward as a global leader in family planning funding. As the Euromapping report this shows, the EU support for maternal and reproductive health has been increasing. However, it’s still too low relative to the EU’s overall ODA spend, meaning that politicians need to prioritise these issues more in EU development assistance. We need to lock in these gains as part of the next multi-annual budget – and backed up by a strong strategy that centres gender equality and women’s health at the heart of the EU’s development agenda. It is not only the smart thing to do when it comes to its impact on sustainable development, but given what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic it is an urgent necessity.”