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Executive Summary

In July 2012, world leaders gathered in London to support the right of women and girls to make informed and autonomous choices about whether, when, and how many children they want to have. There, low income-country governments and donors committed to a new partnership—Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). FP2020 set an aspirational goal—120 million additional users of voluntary, high-quality family planning services by 2020—and received commitments totaling $4.6 billion in additional funding.

Since then, the focus countries involved in the FP2020 partnership have made significant progress. Yet as FP2020 reaches its halfway point, and new, even more ambitious goals are set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, gains fall short of aspirations. The midpoint of the FP2020 initiative is thus an important inflection point, offering an opportunity for family planning funders and the FP2020 partnership more broadly to take stock of progress, to reflect on the lessons of the past four years, to refine funding and accountability mechanisms, and to reallocate existing resources for greater impact. Of course, the primary responsibility for expanding contraceptive access falls squarely on country governments. Nonetheless, donor contributions play an important role.

With the goal of reaching as many women and girls as possible by 2020 and an eye toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Center for Global Development (CGD) convened a working group on donor alignment in family planning in fall 2015 to see how scarce donor resources could go farther to accelerate family planning gains. As the final product of the working group, the report analyzes the successes and limitations of family planning alignment to date, with a focus on procurement, cross-country and in-country resource allocation, incentives, and accountability mechanisms, and makes recommendations for next steps.

Key findings include the following:

  • Funding has grown, but risks are on the horizon.
     
  • In the aggregate, the allocation of donor resources does not closely track family planning need, measured in different ways.
     
  • Alignment of reproductive health commodity purchasing and supply chains has improved substantially under the FP2020 initiative, but the sustainability of parallel supply chains may be at risk given the volatility of aid.
     
  • Countries have few incentives for cofinancing and some disincentives to domestic investment.
     
  • Finally, high-level accountability for progress and results is in place, but there is little to connect success or failure to particular streams of funding or provision, and thus it is difficult to close the accountability loop and learn lessons about what is working and what is not. Few programs in the family planning space undergo rigorous independent impact evaluation, and the results of those that do are not often shared in the public domain.

Recommendations

  1. Support more strategic and collaborative resource allocation at the country level, building on past successes and existing coordination platforms.
     
  2. Create stronger incentives for greater cofinancing and performance.
     
  3. Enhance accountability and learning across the results chain.

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