Mobilizing Resources

Mobilizing the financial resources needed to sustain family planning services—for the 300 million women and girls using contraceptives today and for the 390 million we aim to reach by 2020—is a critical measure of FP2020 progress.

A significant share of the funding for family planning services and commodities comes from donor governments. Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of bilateral donor funding for family planning indicates that for the first time since 2012, this funding has not increased.

Private foundations also contribute important resources. Those that have made FP2020 commitments submit annual updates describing their programs and funding activities. Based on these reports, it is estimated that commitment-making foundations invested approximately US$190 million in 2015 to support family planning— ranking them on a level with the top donor countries.4

But donor funds are only part of what’s being spent to provide family planning services. This year’s report highlights new estimates of total family planning expenditures by different sectors in FP2020 countries, including donors, consumers, and domestic governments.

Donor Government Funding for Family Planning in 2015: Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis

2015 marks the fourth year of Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual analysis of donor government funding for family planning.5 After steady increases since the 2012 London Summit, donor government6 funding for bilateral family planning activities remained essentially flat in 2015 in real terms (after adjusting for the effects of exchange rate fluctuations and inflation). However, in current US dollars, 2015 funding (US$1.3 billion) was 6% below the 2014 level. The decrease in current US dollars was largely due to a complex set of factors, primarily the appreciation of the US dollar, but also to real declines by several donors. At the same time, of the 8 donor governments profiled here that made commitments at the London Summit, 7 are still on track to meet those commitments.

This analysis is based on data from 29 governments who were members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2015 and had reported Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the DAC.


In 2015, donor governments provided US$1.3 billion for bilateral family planning programs and contributed US$392 million to the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) core resources.

Bilateral funding:

  • The US$1.3 billion provided by donors in 2015 represents a 6% decrease (-US$88.6 million) below 2014 (US$1.4 billion), and is essentially a return to the 2013 level (US$1.3 billion). It is the first time since this tracking effort began that funding has declined.
  • The decline is largely due to the significant appreciation of the US dollar, resulting in the depreciation of most other donor currencies. For instance, in their currency of origin, five donors (Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden) increased funding and one donor (Canada) remained flat; funding from three donors (Australia, Norway, and the UK) declined in their currencies of origin. When the effects of the exchange rate fluctuations are removed, 2015 funding essentially matches 2014 levels.
  • The US was the largest bilateral donor to family planning in 2015, providing US$638 million and accounting for almost half (47%) of total bilateral funding. The UK (US$269.9 million, 20%) was the second largest donor, followed by the Netherlands (US$165.8 million, 12%), France (US$68.6 million, 5%), and Sweden (US$66.0 million, 5%).
  • The recent trends in donor government funding for family planning have been largely driven by the two largest donors, the US and the UK, which have accounted for approximately two-thirds of total funding over the period. Overall increases in family planning funding in 2013 and 2014 were due, in large part, to increases by these two donors. In 2015, as US funding remained flat and UK funding declined, total family planning funding decreased.

Progress toward FP2020 commitments:

  • Among the 10 donors profiled in this analysis, 8 made commitments at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning: Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Preliminary estimates indicate that 7 are on track toward fulfilling their commitments: Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Australia had made progress in prior years, but due to recent declines would need to significantly increase funding in order to fulfill its commitment.

Donor contributions to UNFPA:

  • In addition to donor government bilateral disbursements for family planning—which include non-core contributions to UNFPA for family planning projects as specified by the donor— donors also contribute to UNFPA’s core resources, which are meant to be used for both programmatic activities (family planning, population and development, HIV/AIDS, gender, and sexual and reproductive health and rights) and operational support.
  • In 2015, donors contributed US$392 million to UNFPA’s core resources. This too was a decline, at US$80 million below the 2014 level (US$472 million). As with bilateral funding, much of this decline can be attributed to the appreciation of the US dollar. In fact, when measured in the currency of origin, all of the donors profiled essentially maintained their contribution to UNFPA’s core resources at the prior year level— with the exception of Denmark, which increased funding.
  • In 2015, UNFPA spent an estimated US$341 million (or 42.7% of its resources) on family planning. Of the US$341 million, an estimated US$92 million came from core resources (resources meant to be used by UNFPA for both programmatic activities and operational support) and an estimated US$249 million came from non-core resources (resources earmarked for specific programmatic activities).
  • Among the donor governments profiled, Sweden provided the largest core contribution to UNFPA in 2015 (US$57.4 million), followed by Norway (US$55.6 million), the Netherlands (US$39.7 million), and Denmark (US$39.6).7

View the Donor Government Assistance for Family Planning in 2015 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation

Methodological note:

The financial data presented in this analysis represent disbursements defined as the actual release of funds to, or the purchase of goods or services for, a recipient. They were obtained through direct communication with donor governments, analysis of raw primary data, and from the OECD Creditor Reporting System (CRS). UNFPA core contributions were obtained from Executive Board documents.

In some cases, it is difficult to disaggregate bilateral family planning funding from broader reproductive and maternal health totals, and the two are sometimes represented as integrated totals (Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the US do not disaggregate family planning funding from broader reproductive and maternal health totals). In addition, family planning-related activities funded in the context of other official development assistance sectors (e.g., education, civil society) have remained largely unidentified. For purposes of this analysis, we worked closely with the largest donors to family planning to identify such cross-sectoral family planning-specific funding where possible (see table notes). Going forward, it will be increasingly important to efforts to track donor government support for family planning to have such funding identified within other activity categories by primary financial systems.

For data in the currency of the donor country, please contact the researchers.

Focus on Europe: Countdown 2030 Europe Analysis

Countdown 2030 Europe is a consortium of 15 leading European non-governmental organizations working to ensure advancement of human rights and investment in family planning. In European countries and with the EU institutions, Countdown 2030 Europe holds donors to account for their policy and funding commitments to achieve universal access to reproductive health and address the unmet need for family planning.


European donors have maintained a solid and committed policy stance on sexual and reproductive health and family planning (SRH/FP), and this firm support has been a key factor in ensuring that SRH/FP features prominently within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A number of countries are due to release new policies and strategies with strengthened approaches to SRH/FP. Financially the picture is mixed, with some notable new or increased commitments as well as a number of countries reporting drops or stagnation in funding. Despite this mixed financial picture, however, the policy framework surrounding SRH/FP remains robust, and overall the financing of SRH/FP continues to grow.

Updates on policy context for European FP2020 commitment makers

Denmark: Despite Denmark’s robust political commitment to SRH/FP, the Danish 2016 state budget suggests cuts in Danish ODA, including support to UNFPA. Nevertheless, the government has confirmed its commitment to SRH/FP, and in fall 2016 a new strategy on humanitarian assistance and ODA will be negotiated.

European institutions: The commitment of European institutions to SRH/FP is clearly reflected in the new EU Gender Action Plan for 2016-2020. In April 2016 the European Commission announced €20 million in additional funding to improve reproductive health commodity supply and quality family planning services. This followed similar funding commitments in late 2015 around ending child marriage (€6 million), female genital mutilation/cutting (€11 million), and gender-biased sex selection (€2 million).

France: France’s first Development Law was passed in 2014, with specific mention of SRH/FP. The French Development Agency endorsed a Health Strategy in June 2015, and a Population/SRH/FP Strategy was due to be published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2016.

Germany: In May 2016 the government announced a renewed commitment to FP2020. It includes a minimum of €514 million until 2019 for SRH/FP (25% of German’s bilateral funding is likely to be dedicated to family planning, depending on partner countries’ priorities). It also includes Germany’s RMNCAH-related contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and financial support to UNFPA and IPPF.

Netherlands: The Netherlands maintains its position as a long-standing supporter of SRH/FP through its policies. The proportion of ODA going toward SRH/FP was 5.2% in 2014 and 5.1% in 2015. Until now, the SRH/FP budget has not been affected by ODA budget cuts. Upcoming elections in 2017 mean some uncertainty as to whether new or renewed pledges can be expected.

Norway: Norway is historically a strong supporter of SRH/FP, being one of the main donors to UNFPA. In May 2016 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommitted an additional 150 million NOK (€15,868,871) annually to SRH/FP. Norway is one of the initiators of the Global Financing Facility and has committed 600 million NOK (€63,473,296) a year. The relationship between the two commitments is unclear as of now.

Sweden: Sweden’s commitment to SRH/FP remains robust, and SRH/FP is a priority area within Swedish international development cooperation. Despite challenges in financial allocations and the use of ODA to cover domestic costs of the humanitarian and refugee crisis, SRH/FP budget support has been explicitly safeguarded by the Swedish government.

UK: Specific policy and funding priorities since the London Summit in 2012 have included preventing early childhood marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting, an emphasis on youth access, and SRH/FP in emergencies. In July 2016 the UK underwent a government leadership change following the European referendum. Priorities moving forward are yet unknown, but early signals are that SRH/FP will continue to be prioritized.

Updates on policy context for other European donors

In addition to the above-mentioned European donors who made FP2020 commitments, other European donors are contributing to a supportive SHR/FP policy environment in Europe to address the global unmet need for family planning.

  • Belgium: Belgium’s commitments to SRH/FP increased in 2014–15. More than half of the total expenses for health contribute to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH).
  • Finland: Finland is a long-standing strong supporter of SRH/FP, although recently major cuts in ODA have seen a decrease in UNFPA funding by about 40% (€13,420,000).
  • Ireland: Political uncertainty within Ireland around the general election and in the UK after the European referendum has resulted in restraint for any new orincreased funding commitments for now.
  • Spain: After suffering substantial cuts of nearly 70% since the beginning of the economic crisis, the 2015 ODA budget saw a slight increase. Political uncertainty in the lead-up to the recent general election has however prevented any new policy developments.
  • Switzerland: SRH/FP falls under one of three strategic focal areas in health for Switzerland. The increased contribution to UNFPA seen in 2014 was maintained in 2015.

View factsheet from Countdown 2030 to learn more.

Estimating Expenditures on Family Planning

How much is being spent on family planning in FP2020 countries today? How much do we need to spend to reach our goal of enabling 120 million additional women and girls to use modern contraception by 2020?

The two questions are obviously interrelated. The first is about sustaining current levels of family planning service for the existing base of users—which now stands at 300 million women and girls. The second is about what it will take to expand that base from 300 million to 390 million—which is the total number of users envisioned by the FP2020 goal. (There were 270 million users of modern contraception in 2012. We have already added 30 million, leaving another 90 million still to be reached.)

But estimating total expenditures on family planning is complex, because a number of sectors are involved: international donors, domestic governments, NGOs, and consumers who spend money out of their own pockets. Ideally we would have expenditure information for each FP2020 country, but currently the data aren’t available.

Establish better tracking mechanisms to assess expenditures—within countries, by sector, and for different components of family planning programming—and develop a clear picture of the additional resources that are required.

One approach to estimating family planning expenditures has been developed by Track20 and a group of experts convened as the International Family Planning Expenditure Tracking Advisory Group. This work uses global data on donor funding from the Kaiser Family Foundation, information on country-specific domestic government and NGO spending from the resource tracking project led by UNPFA and the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), and estimates of out-of-pocket spending by consumers developed by Track20. For 2014, total family planning expenditures in FP2020 countries is estimated at US$2.7 billion (see chart). Consumer spending makes up the largest share at 51% of the total, with domestic government resources second at 24%. Funding from international donors accounts for 17%.

These are, however, estimates. The family planning sector needs better tracking mechanisms to assess expenditures—within countries, by sector, and for different components of family planning programming—and develop a clear picture of the additional resources that are required. The long-term sustainability of family planning financing will ultimately depend on greater domestic expenditures by governments, and a number of efforts are underway to track this spending. The section on Core Indicator 12 discusses this work and the challenges involved in estimating government expenditures at the country level.

5. For purposes of this analysis, family planning bilateral expenditures represent funding specifically designated by donor governments for family planning as defined by the OECD DAC (see methodology), and include: stand-alone family planning projects; family planning-specific contributions to multilateral organizations (e.g., contributions to UNFPA Supplies); and, in some cases, projects that include family planning within broader reproductive health activities.

6. Donor governments include members of the OECD DAC only.

7. In 2015, Finland, which was not directly profiled in this analysis, provided the fifth largest core contribution (US$38 million) to UNFPA, followed by the US (US$30.8 million).