Around the world, in both developing and developed countries, over 200 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are unable to access family planning methods because of cost, lack of availability, gender discrimination, and cultural and other barriers. Satisfying the unmet need for voluntary family planning services would improve the health of women and children around the world and would mean that each year:

  • 600,000 fewer children would lose their mothers
  • 175,000 women’s lives would be saved
  • 640,000 fewer newborns would die
  • 25 million fewer abortions would occur in developing countries
  • Progress would be made toward achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 (reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio; ensure universal access to reproductive health)

Groundbreaking new research shows that providing access to voluntary family planning for all who want it would deliver an additional benefit: a substantial reduction in carbon emissions. The scope of this decrease is significant, estimated at 8-15% of reductions needed to avert disastrous climate change. Read an overview of the research here.

GHD's Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and many of our partners believe that investing in voluntary family planning thus represents a triple win: for women, children and the climate. The fight against the rapid increase in climate change, and for climate justice, dovetails with the opportunity to invest in the health and rights of families around the world, improving lives while helping to slow the pace of climate change.

The cost of providing voluntary family planning services for women in the developing world and the United States is $3.7 billion per year, a fraction of the funds being allocated to other essential climate change mitigation measures.

(Source: S. Singh et al. Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Family Planning and Maternal and Newborn Health. New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2009, pp. 19-20.; see also Contraceptives Save Lives: Women Are Dying Every Day. New York: UNPFA 2008)