Re: The Right Way to Celebrate World Population Day

by Andrew Stuttaford
Rebecca, Christopher, it can surely be no great surprise to discover that the United Nations Population Fund will focus on contraception. That’s what it is meant to do. But the UNPFA is just one agency amongst many. There are, of course, a large number of charities, international agencies, NGOs, and donor countries sending support to the developing world, and they spend their money on far more than condoms and contraceptive pills. If we look here, for example, we see that general aid flows from the OECD’s 24 DAC donor countries alone amounted to $129 billion in 2010. By contrast, the World Bank calculated that in 2007 donor countries and international aid agencies spent $1.9bn on family planning services and reproductive health. Private charitable support will doubtless increase that total somewhat, but, based on these numbers it is hard to argue that contraception is playing a disproportionate part in global development efforts. The correlation between economic development rates and access to contraception has long been debated, but it seems pretty clear that developing countries are not being asked to choose between support for contraception programs and wider development assistance. The situation is “and,” not “either/or,” and that’s all to the good.
I might be wrong but, it’s hard not to suspect that the real driving force behind your post was opposition to the very idea of contraception. It might just be more straightforward to say so.

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