(September 2016) Linking family planning and reproductive health to other sectors—such as conservation and climate change—to achieve sustainable development is not new, but some opportunities to collaborate may not be well-known. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—the scientific body which reviews existing climate science and informs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Conference of Parties (COPs)—recognizes family planning as a potential adaptation strategy. However, few people in any sector are aware of this opportunity.
In an Africa Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) webinar hosted by PACE, the Population & Sustainability Network (PSN) and two member organizations, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) joined Population Reference Bureau (PRB) to share insights and discuss how PSN and its members advocate for family planning to benefit conservation and sustainable development.
Kristen P. Patterson of PRB welcomed participants. David Johnson and Carina Hirsch, both of PSN, shared the history and role of PSN, which launched in 2004. Its 17 member organizations include national and international NGOs, academic institutions, international organizations, and government bodies. Many of these groups advocate for, design, and implement PHE projects in African countries. PSN advocates for and brings attention to PHE projects in various international forums and brings partners together.
For example, Bridget Corrigan of EWT explained how PSN facilitated and brokered links to organizations that enabled EWT to integrate family planning interventions into programs where communities expressed a need for reproductive health services. One such partnership is the Groot Marico PHE project, now in its early implementation stages.
Similarly, Alison Marshall of IPPF shared that membership with PSN has been an effective way to advocate for voluntary, rights-based family planning with a particular focus on climate change and other environmental issues. PSN and IPPF have jointly advocated at the UNFCCC COPs and are now collaborating on an advocacy toolkit.
Following the presentation, Patterson led a lively Q&A session with questions from the audience, who joined the webinar from various countries around the world, including many in eastern and southern Africa.
This webinar is part of the Africa PHE webinar series implemented under the Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health (PACE) Project.