French MP highlights HANDtoHAND campaign

27th May 2011

French Parliamentatian Françoise Castex referenced the HANDtoHAND Campaign and the Coalition in response to a question posed to the European Commission on financing and monitoring commitments it made in Muskoka in relation to maternal and child health, in particular to ensure that adequate attention is paid to improving access to family planning services in developing countries. Mr. Castex's full response is copied below:

Support to family planning is one of the major components of the Muskoka Initiative. Family planning is also one of the key areas for action of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health which is closely related to the Muskoka Initiative and which was launched at the MDG Summit of 2010 by the UN Secretary General.

Under the Muskoka Initiative the Commission has pledged Euro 50 million additional funding for the years 2011 – 2013. Part of this amount is intended for increased support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Euro 13.8 million) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Euro 20 million). The remaining Euro 16.2 million will come from the MDG Initiative in support of ACP countries, where a significant number of proposals are expected to target MDG 4 and 5. Country proposals are to be submitted before the summer, and allocation decisions will be made in the latter part of 2011.

Support to family planning is also through thematic funding under the Investing in People Programme. For example, family planning was part of the last year's call for proposals on reproductive health rights. Under the same programme, the Commission contribute Euro 7 million to a UNFPA/UNAIDS project on linkages between HIV/AIDS and Sexual and Reproductive Health and is about to support the UNFPA with a contribution of Euro 23 million.

The Commission also participates in international partnerships and contributes to international initiatives and events. For example, the Commission is member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC), a global partnership of organizations dedicated to ensuring reproductive health commodity security, for people in poor countries. RHSC has launched a "HandtoHand" campaign with the goal of 100 million new users of modern contraception by 2015. The Commission recently joined the West-African Conference on Population and Family Planning and is actively involved in a Conference to be held in November 2011 in Dakar.

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