World Leaders Must Act Now to Address a Global Contraceptive Crisis

This week, world leaders are gathered at the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the future of the Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately they are ignoring a global contraceptive crisis that threatens to put the health and well-being of thousands of women—and the success of the Sustainable Development Goals—at risk.

The Problem

  • Availability of contraceptives relies largely on funding from donor countries. The world is facing a contraceptive crisis as donors fall short of their promises.
  • At the same time, most developing country governments have not made sufficient investments in contraceptives to fill the gap and meet the needs of women.
  • Of the Sub-Saharan African countries with the greatest need, 65% cover less than 10% of contraceptives with their own funds.1
  • UNFPA Supplies provides approximately 40% of donated commodities to low- and middle-income countries, but there are indications that there is a funding gap of around $847 million between now and 2020. Projections show that by 2020, 490 million women will be using modern methods of contraception in more than 130 developing countries.
  • If the funding gap is not closed, the needs of these women will not be met.




What’s at Stake?

  • Access to contraception is transformative for women and communities. It is linked to greater gender equality, educational attainment and even economic development. Every $1 invested in sexual and reproductive health and unmet need for family planning has the potential to save $120 in other development areas.2
  • An estimated 20 million women resort to unsafe abortions to end unintended pregnancies every year. This causes around 22,000 women to die annually.
  • 20,000 girls under age 18 give birth every day. Early and unintended pregnancy puts the health of adolescent girls at risk and is a major cause of school dropout.  Access to contraceptives helps girls complete their education and improves their lifetime earning potential.3
  • Contraceptives are critical to ending hunger and improving nutrition. Babies whose mothers were able to use contraceptives to space their pregnancies at least two years apart, are more likely to survive and less likely to be stunted or suffer from malnutrition.4
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without sustained investment in contraceptives; giving women the means to prevent unintended pregnancy is critical to health, wealth and wellbeing. And, a failure to meet the contraceptive needs of women has the potential to derail progress already made.


Global Call to Action

We are urging U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to highlight the centrality of contraceptives to achieving the sustainable development goals.

Global leaders and donors must prioritize funding for contraceptives and the systems that deliver them on the global agenda.

Developing country governments must take ownership to invest more in contraceptives and reduce their reliance on donor funding.

Get Social!

Download the Social Media Kit and use our precomposed messages to tweet @BanKimoon_amdg to tell him world leaders must keep their promises to women.


[1] PAI, While Supplies Last

[2] Kohler Behrman, Post-2015 Consensus: Population and Demography Assessment: Summary of Targets from the Paper

[3] June, 2016. Starbird, E. Norton, M.. Marcus R. Investing in Family Planning: Key to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Global Health: Science and Practice.

[4] Ibid.