Family Planning and the Sustainable Development Goals

Progress on family planning is inextricably linked with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will guide the world’s development agenda for the next 15 years.

The Sustainable Development Goals represent a new development paradigm that embraces the concept of universality, linking the fate and wellbeing of all people and countries to one another. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are organized into 5 themes: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership.

Achieving the FP2020 goal of enabling 120 million additional women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020 is absolutely critical to meeting Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5, which call for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.8 But family planning is also vital to the other 15 goals. Family planning is an essential cross-sectoral intervention that can speed up progress in every aspect of development.9 Whether or not women and girls have access to contraception will have an enormous—and perhaps determinative—impact on our ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals in every country.

8. FP2020’s Core Indicator 4 is also an indicator for Sustainable Development Goals target 3.7 (see Indicators 3-4).

9. Starbird E, Norton M, Marcus R. Investing in family planning: key to achieving the sustainable development goals. Glob Health Sci Pract. 2016;4(2):191-210.