In A Time of Transition, Our Partnership Remains Strong

A note from Beth Schlachter, FP2020 Executive Director

Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage

The results of the recent U.S. election carried with them a full measure of uncertainty for the entire development community. It is entirely reasonable for all of us working on development priorities to wonder how the transition in Washington might affect our respective sectors. It’s natural to speculate, and certainly prudent to anticipate some of the likely challenges ahead.

It’s in the context of those challenges that I am gratified by the depth and quality of the partnerships that underpin FP2020. We are a community spanning dozens of countries, uniting governments, multilateral agencies, private foundations, and civil society actors in a shared and powerful commitment to family planning. That commitment is firmly rooted in simple truths — that family planning is critical to the rights and health of women and girls, that it is crucial to economic growth and prosperity, and it is inextricably linked to global security.

We validate those truths every day, in the form of more and more women able to plan and space their pregnancies, and give birth safely; in the form of healthier, more prosperous families, in flourishing children, and thriving communities. It is also true that the United States deserves its share of credit for these important accomplishments. It has been a global leader on family planning issues for 50 years, applying funding and expertise that have propelled empowering and life-saving programs all over the world.

That leadership also helped stimulate a positive evolution of the global development landscape — an evolution that increasingly favors local ownership of development agendas, larger roles for philanthropies and other funding sources, and high-impact public-private partnerships. This new orientation and diversity in the development arena means greater resilience in uncertain times, and it is that resilience that will ensure continued progress in expanding voluntary, rights-based family planning.

So, as we give thought to possible changes in U.S. support for these crucial activities, I am confident that together, we are well-prepared to navigate whatever lies ahead. We have built FP2020 from the ground up, to be durable, flexible, and inclusive, and it is that foundation that will serve us well in the coming years.

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