From FP2020’s Executive Director

I see the power of collaboration every day.

I see it when experts from different development sectors combine their skills to solve a common problem. I see it when colleagues from different organizations pool their institutional knowledge for the greater good. I see it when leaders at the top of the global hierarchy listen to the voices of those working at every level.

Collaboration is how we solve the hardest problems in the world. It’s how real, lasting change finally happens. And it’s what FP2020 is all about.

The vision for this platform has always been of a creative, inclusive, transparent space where everyone can contribute to the critical work of expanding access to contraception. Thanks to the vibrant participation of the family planning community, FP2020 has become a thriving hub for global collaboration. Now, as we enter the second phase of this initiative, we hope to bring that same collaborative energy to our country-level work.

As we approached the FP2020 midpoint, we undertook a wide-ranging review of the partnership’s progress to date. We studied what has and hasn’t worked, where we are most effective, and what we can do better. We determined that a heightened degree of country engagement, combined with a continuing focus on global efforts, is one of the areas where FP2020 can add value in the remaining years of this initiative.

The vision for this platform has always been of a creative, inclusive, transparent space where everyone can contribute to the critical work of expanding access to contraception.

As a result, our strategic framework for 2016–2020 emphasizes supporting and reinforcing country-level activities. Over the next four years the Secretariat will strengthen our collaboration with countries to assist them in meeting their individual FP2020 goals, drawing on the participation and backing of our global partners. We’ve revamped our organizational structure, enhanced our technical capacity, and fine-tuned our model for country engagement. Strong involvement from our partners is facilitating targeted and direct technical support as countries develop, implement, and monitor their rights-based family planning strategies.

Human rights remain the through line of everything we do, and we work with our country and global partners to define, operationalize, monitor, and measure the impact of rights-based family planning. We’re also working to mainstream youth participation at the country and global levels and ensure that young people’s needs and perspectives are reflected in family planning programs, policies, and practices.

Data is a central pillar of the FP2020 initiative, and our refocused strategy includes an even greater emphasis on data use and performance monitoring and management. We’re also expanding the ways in which FP2020 data are used: several countries are now able to use their data to formulate upcoming goals and objectives, and FP2020 data are included in the investment frameworks for the Global Financing Facility.

To capitalize on the tremendous wealth of experience, expertise, and wisdom in the family planning community, we have established a new Expert Advisory Community (EAC). The EAC is a volunteer network of more than 135 technical experts on a range of functional, regional, and country-specific family planning topics. EAC members help keep us informed on the evolving landscape, and can be mobilized to address specific challenges at the country and global level.

There is great power in collaboration. It isn’t always easy and it takes time to develop relationships of trust and understanding, but together we’ve built a new way of working together and we’re beginning to see the impact at all levels. It’s collaboration as a regular mode of working, creating a community of practice where we can share our challenges and search together for solutions. FP2020 provides the space for that to happen.

On a personal note, I can think of no one who has contributed more to FP2020’s culture of collaboration than Jagdish Upadhyay, who retired this year from UNFPA. As the co-lead of FP2020’s Country Engagement Working Group from 2013– 2015, Jagdish was instrumental in launching a new era of cooperation between the major family planning aid agencies. Our work today continues his legacy.

I believe the next four years of FP2020 will bring great things. I’m confident in the potential of our partnership and our platform, and I’m excited to see where the boundless power of collaboration will take us.

Beth Schlachter

Executive Director

Family Planning 2020