Millions of women and girls are displaced by natural disaster, war, or conflict each year – 34 million in 2018 alone – and they are a uniquely vulnerable population. Already high rates of unplanned pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and maternal death in fragile contexts are magnified during times of crises.

According to research, up to 40% of women experiencing displacement across diverse settings want to avoid becoming pregnant. Yet incidents of rape and other forms of gender-based violence increase during times of crisis, affecting women and girls more acutely. And it’s a time when health systems become severely strained and skilled care is often out of reach.


A Global Consensus

Leading organizations – including WHO, UNFPA, and UNHCR – support family planning services as part of the essential health package in an emergency. Established guidelines, such as the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response and the Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health (MISP), include contraceptives within the acute crisis response.

Providing family planning during a crisis is not just desirable – it’s achievable.

  1. UNFPA, the Government of Bangladesh, and multiple implementing partners ensured the delivery of family planning as part of the early crisis response in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar when some 700,000 Rohingya refugees fled to the country from Myanmar.
  2. Profamilia, Save the Children, CARE, and others have focused on family planning, including on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for women and adolescent girls displaced within the Venezuelan crisis.
  3. Through the RAISE initiative, partners such as CARE, Save the Children, and the IRC have delivered contraceptive services, including long acting methods, to more than 1 million women and girls affected by crises, since 2011.

These efforts have demonstrated great success.  However, we are failing to reach millions of women and girls affected by, or at risk of, crisis. If we are truly to leave no one behind, we must ensure these examples are the norm, and that voluntary, rights-based family planning programs and a wide range of modern contraceptive methods are available and accessible to all.

Making the Case for Investing

Reaching millions of marginalized, remote, or otherwise under-served populations with family planning services is critical to a country’s ability to meet their FP2030 commitments and achieve the SDGs. It also provides cost-savings to governments that can be reinvested into long-term development.

Family Planning Investments in Emergencies Are Demonstrating Impact

Since 2012, 35 million USD have been saved through investments in Chad, DRC, and Pakistan alone.

The estimates represented here are modeled using the Impact 2 model; the data inputs are self-reported service statistics from CARE, International Rescue Committee, and Save the Children from 2012-2018. The model was not specifically built for humanitarian settings, but we assume that in humanitarian settings providing family planning services would magnify the positive impacts and thus our estimates are likely conservative.

Since long-term and permanent methods provide multiple years of protection, some of the impacts will be seen over multiple future years.

How is FP2030 Involved?

Family planning for crisis-affected populations is critical to meeting the needs of women and girls everywhere. It saves women’s lives, improves their health, and strengthens the resilience of populations affected by crises and the countries that host them. Reaching women and adolescent girls affected by crises with family planning is critical to FP2030’s vision of leaving no one behind and our values of equity and equality. We believe that rights-based family planning should be made available across all stages of a humanitarian response, including in emergency preparedness, acute response, and into recovery.

FP2030 has joined a global movement to increase attention to the sexual and reproductive health needs of populations affected by crises. As a member of the Inter-Agency Working Group for Reproductive Health in crises, FP2030 collaborates with humanitarian implementers, donors, advocates, and academics to improve adherence to guidelines and standards that assure family planning access during crisis response. In addition, FP2030 advocates for greater, and better, investments in high-quality, voluntary family planning services in humanitarian settings.  FP2030 works closely with SRHR donors and implementers who more traditionally work in stable contexts to improve their understanding of crises and opportunities for engagement. Additionally, as part of our global work, FP2030 is working to develop clear messaging around what is demanded, needed, and feasible regarding family planning within a crisis response, and to improve coordination and linkages among global actors working in this space.

At the country level, FP2030 works with stakeholders within commitment-making countries (governments, donors, advocates, and implementing agencies) to better understand their unique risks to crises and identify preparedness and/or response actions that would increase access to family planning during times of instability. FP2030 focal points in each commitment-making country receive a broad orientation to crisis risk as well as minimum standards within a sexual reproductive health response, inclusive of family planning. They are briefed on available preparedness and response best practices at each FP2030 regional focal point workshop. Ongoing support is then identified based on expressed country interest and need.

FP2030 seeks to leverage networks and emerging best practices at both global and local levels to improve availability and access of FP to populations affected by crises.