In November 2022, several members of Share-Net International secretariat and more than 50 Share-Net members from across the globe proudly attended and participated in the International Conference of Family Planning (ICFP), in Thailand. They shared, ‘We actively participated in the conference, exchanging knowledge and insights on the various sessions focusing on key components of this year’s theme; Universal access to family planning. Here are some of the highlights and resources that might interest you.’
Family Planning and Climate Change Intersection
There are various discourses on the relationship between family planning and climate change. Conversations centered around the link between population growth and climate change, as well as the delinkage, since the main drivers of climate change are overconsumption and low total fertility rates (TFR). A concern on the low TFR in some countries cross-cuts. There is a need to generate more evidence to support this ongoing debate. Some interesting resources:
Documenting and Learning from Failures
There was a nice session on ‘oops ah ha! Learning from “failure” in family planning program implementation‘ hosted by Chandra Moulli of the WHO, amongst others. As a community where we exchange knowledge, it is good to reflect on how we frame limitations and recommendations from a more positive perspective, and openness with frank discussions about what does not work, is so important and as well be documented as learnings. The initiative created a website with resources on knowledge management, including reflection on failures at kmtraining.org
Increasing support for access to safe abortion
The effect of the overturn of Roe vs Wade has put access to safe abortion on the global agenda. Several discussions and presentations focused on the issues arising since the overturn and safeguarding women’s rights in light of this new reality during ICFP. One of such was the presentation on ‘The role of health care providers in expanding the legal grounds for safe abortion‘, by KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam. Regional initiatives present included the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, the Tamtang Group in Thailand, and the Health Development Initiative Rwanda shared their experiences on the penal code review in their country.
Right-based approach to Family Planning and SRHR
While conversations about putting rights-first and using a right-based approach in SRHR and Family planning is not entirely new, there have been several discussions, panels and presentations on this. This shows that there hasn’t been much progress made yet, and there is still a lot more to be done to ensure that the needs of right holders are prioritized in research, program implementation, laws, and policy development. It is noteworthy to mention emerging conversations looking at the whole spectrum of the reproductive cycle, from birth to the post-menopausal stage, as women in their menopausal and post-menopausal stages have different and specific SRHR needs which have been neglected in the past. This might be an interesting focus area the Share-Net community may wish to consider in the near future.
For the first time Sexual Pleasure was addressed in one of the official ICFP conference tracks! Track 5, on Gender Equality, Empowerment, and Reproductive Rights, included Sexual Health and Pleasure. Although sexual pleasure activists might not have been completely satisfied, attention to the topic was clearly raised by various speakers and participants during the conference in both formal (speeches and presentations) and the more creative ways (funny notes and images at lunch tables and toilets). IPPF Africa region in collaboration with the Pleasure Project ran the Treasure Your Pleasure campaign during the conference.
Meet & Greet: In-person Member Meet-up
Besides that, this is the first large conference within the SRHR sector since the COVID-19 lockdown, ICFP was inspiring and energising because Share-Net members were finally able to meet each other, exchange knowledge, network with our peers, have fun and a drink together during the Warm Reception and Networking Event, which we co-organised with https://www.asiapacificalliance.org/.
At Share-Net, we were motivated to continue to be the unique knowledge platform for the generation, exchange, translation and promotion of knowledge that informs SRHR policies and practices ensuring universal access to SRHR, including family planning.
Irene, Bless-me, Dorine, and Anke, Share-Net International and KIT