On July 11th, world leaders will gather at the London Summit on Family Planning to talk about the 220 million women around the world who can’t get modern contraceptives when they need them. As members of the largest global youth cohort in history, let’s make sure this groundbreaking initiative doesn’t leave young people out of the picture!
We believe every country should have an action plan for providing contraception and reproductive health services—and youth should be included.
We believe legal, cultural, and social barriers to accessing family planning must be removed so young people can realize their true potential.
We believe that with access to education and accurate information, young people can make informed and independent decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
We believe that all young people have the right to access the contraceptive methods they want at prices they can afford.
Most importantly, we believe young people should be at the table during discussions about their reproductive health and their futures.
For those of us signing this letter, it’s pretty straightforward: youth should be included in this global family planning movement.
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As members of the largest youth cohort in history, we respectfully ask that the following recommendations be strongly considered and serve as a guiding force for donors and country leaders when making and implementing financial and policy commitments on July 11th and thereafter.
Prioritize youth in National Action Plans.
National Action Plans should recognize, protect, and promote access to family planning methods and services for young people regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender, marital, and socio-economic status. Youth-friendly programming should be promoted as a central component of countries’ development agendas. Recognizing that governments are often constrained in their abilities to offer youth-friendly services, we call for increased NGO and private sector support as well.
Reduce legal, cultural, and social barriers that hinder young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information, education, and services.
Barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care should be removed, such as requirements of parental or spousal consent and the denial of services for unmarried young people. Concerted efforts should be made to ensure these barriers are addressed and that National Plans actively include efforts to reduce stigma and ensure patient privacy and confidentiality.
Increase access to evidence-based comprehensive information about family planning for young people.
Increased and sustainable funding should be dedicated to ensuring that young people, both in and out of school, have access to evidence-based comprehensive information about family planning and all modern forms of contraception. This information should be provided as a part of a broader sexual and reproductive health and rights education that empowers and equips young people with the skills necessary to make informed decisions about their health.
Ensure a wide range of quality and voluntary family planning methods are accessible, affordable, and available for young people.
Increased and sustainable funding should be dedicated to expanding access to a full range of safe, effective, and affordable methods of modern contraception. Services provided should require informed consent and be free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. The prices of services and commodities should not hinder young people’s access to services. Where and when appropriate, services should be included as part of national health insurance schemes. Family planning services and supplies should be provided in addition to a broader range of sexual and reproductive health services that includes: maternity care (i.e., pre-and post-natal care, emergency obstetric care, skilled birth attendance, and safe abortions where legal), counseling, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Engage and empower young people as stakeholders in the planning and implementation processes of family planning initiatives.
We applaud the conveners’ decision to invite four young people to serve as delegates at the London Summit on Family Planning. We ask that the presence of young people at global agenda-setting events be promoted in this and future forums. Funding should be invested in cultivating youth as peer educators and as the next generation of leaders on family planning issues. We urge countries to establish key performance indicators and metrics for measuring youth engagement, particularly of geographically, economically, and socially underrepresented young people, in policy and program design and implementation.
As young global citizens, we commit to advocating, where and when possible, for enabling policy environments and for increased funding both globally and at the country-level. We commit to increasing youth participation and helping to foster a greater awareness of these issues among young people. We are united in the belief that the outcomes of the London Summit on Family Planning will renew and bolster young people’s participation in these issues around the world.