The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s largest sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) organization, is celebrating its 70th birthday by embracing a new and bold global strategy.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation was founded on 24th November 1952 in an act of international solidarity between eight national family planning organizations[i]. Now a network of more than 108 independent Member Associations (MAs) working in over 140 countries worldwide, the last 70 years have seen IPPF leave its mark on the world, delivering high-quality SRHR services and helping transform laws and policies across the globe.
But facing a changing and challenging global landscape, IPPF heralds its 70th Birthday with a renewed strategic vision. More than 300 members from IPPF MAs affirmed the new six-year strategy - Come Together - at its General Assembly in the Colombian capital, Bogota, committing to building a future where more people in more places have what they need to enjoy their rights to sexual and reproductive dignity and well-being.
Working in six regions across the globe, IPPF is prioritizing the Americas and the Caribbean due to the challenges it faces, investing 25% of its resources through its new regional office. The region has the second highest number of adolescent pregnancies, with 63 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 girls between 15 and 19[ii], mainly among those with little or no access to essential sexual and reproductive health services or educational opportunities.
Kate Gilmore, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Board of Trustees, said:
“Our bold ‘Come Together’ strategy affirms that human rights for all are the very heart of our Federation. Our new strategy commits us to urgent and purposeful human rights action so that, through our healthcare, information, and advocacy, millions more have what they need to live and love free from fear, discrimination and exclusion.
“There are tough challenges to be met: political attacks on sexual and reproductive rights; deepening inequalities of poverty, racism, sexism and homophobia; armed conflict, intimate violence; structural injustices as well as the climate crisis. Those wrongs undermine the rights of billions across the globe, including sexual and reproductive rights.
“IPPF will stand up for and with those denied dignity in their sexual and reproductive lives. Around the globe, we will strengthen our work in solidarity with local communities to better realize sexual and reproductive rights for all and stand up together against those who peddle bigotry, dismantle protections, and promote exclusions.”
The new strategy sets out an ambitious programme of work over the next five years and provides a compelling focus on revitalizing the Federation. It is accompanied by an Anti-Racism Declaration of Intent, a statement of public accountability to continue working to dismantle racism internally and externally. The Secretariat and MAs – will commit to a fully inclusive and respectful Federation that offers equal chances for all, ensuring that IPPF emerges unambiguously as an anti-racist organization.
IPPF’s General Assembly also marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Friday, 25th November 2022.
Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said:
“Over the last few years, we have seen the devastating consequences of political, social and economic turmoil on women and girls’ bodies, with deepening inequalities exacerbated by environmental destruction and continued humanitarian crises.
“It is also no secret that we are experiencing growing threats from a sinister opposition actively attacking people’s sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms alongside reduced funding and commitments from global leaders.
“IPPF will continue to evolve and transform, so we can stand up forcefully and fearlessly to support those who are excluded, locked out and left behind, in particular youth and the most marginalized. Through our new strategy, Member Associations, the lifeblood of the Federation, will help millions more enjoy their sexual and reproductive health, rights and freedoms.
“Turning 70 is also a time for IPPF to embody the change it wants to be. Over the next six years, we will build the Federation from the inside out, re-examining and affirming our values and spring-boarding off the Anti-Racism Declaration of Intent with open and fearless dialogue and action to address colonial legacies within IPPF.”
What IPPF will do
IPPF’s very existence manifests just how universal the demand for sexual and reproductive health and rights is, with MAs delivering more than 1 billion cumulative[iii] services between 2016 and 2022, including contraceptive services, STI treatments, abortion care, maternal health services and much more.
IPPF’s humanitarian reach has also grown exponentially, with IPPF providing sexual and reproductive health services to over 6 million people in acute humanitarian and fragile settings in 2021.
But, with the number of women with an unmet need for family planning sitting at 163 million[iv], the current trajectory to close the gender gap worldwide on course to take 135.6[v] years and 274[vi] million people needing humanitarian assistance in 2022 – a 39[vii] million increase from 2021, there is much more to do.
To increase its impact and reach, IPPF is committing to bold and catalytic transformation driven by young people. To broaden access to enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health and rights, IPPF’s new strategy sets up four central pillars:
Centre care on people. IPPF will provide high-quality person-centred care to more people in more places.
Move the sexuality agenda. IPPF will push for the societal and legislative change needed to make universal sexual and reproductive rights a reality for more.
Solidarity for change. IPPF will build bridges to other movements, sectors, and communities wherever sexual and reproductive health and rights can also help advance other human rights causes.
Nurture our Federation. IPPF will make its core values more explicit and apply their implications across the Federation more comprehensively to unleash stronger collective power for deeper global solidarity that can deliver greater impact.
How IPPF will do it
The Federation will focus its resources on excluded and marginalized people. It will walk shoulder to shoulder with those young people, individuals and communities bearing the full brunt of stigma and prejudice. At each step, IPPF will defend, protect, and celebrate safety, pleasure and well-being in sex and reproduction.
IPPF will also work with governments to help shape laws, policies and norms, including through feminist action and international solidarity, and by working to remove restrictions that infringe on dignity, choice, and well-being. At every turn, IPPF will denounce powers and authorities who, through policy, practice, and law, undermine human rights in the intimate domains of sex and reproduction.
With IPPF’s work deeply intertwined with broader struggles for human rights, anti-racist movements and movements for climate survival, social justice and equality, IPPF will also foster global solidarity by coming together with like-minded sectors and actors to help transform lives, communities and countries.
Throughout, IPPF will be accountable for what it does, how it does it, and whose lives it affects. To accelerate its anti-racism agenda, IPPF will extend an Anti-Racism Declaration of Intent across the Federation, strengthening belonging and accountability for and to all its members and ensuring fair and equitable systems are in place to deliver the action and meaningful change to which it is committed.
About the International Planned Parenthood Federation
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
For 70 years, IPPF, through its 108 Member Associations and 7 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.
We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity - no matter what.
[i] The International Planned Parenthood Federation was founded on the 24th of November 1952 as an act of international solidarity between eight national family planning organizations in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA.
[iv] UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “Family Planning and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/family/familyPlanning_DataBooklet_2019.pdf
[vi] UNOCHA Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 (Abridged Report): Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 (Abridged Report) - World | ReliefWeb