Australia will double its aid funding for family planning services in developing countries to $50 million a year by 2016, as part of efforts to support a global campaign to prevent unwanted pregnancies and save around 200,000 lives.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr said Australia's funding would deliver reproductive health services, family planning information and modern contraception, particularly in the Asia-Pacific.
Australia would also commit to a global effort to raise up to $2 billion for family planning services. This would reach up to 120 million more people by 2020, prevent an estimated 100 million unwanted pregnancies and help prevent around 200,000 deaths in pregnancy or childbirth.
"All women have a right to basic reproductive health care and family planning advice," Senator Carr said.
"Good family planning reduces maternal and child deaths, and is fundamental to improving economic outcomes for women and girls.
"Yet around 220 million people have no access to family planning advice or modern contraception.
"That's why Australia is making this new commitment to funding family planning in our region, and why we'll be pushing others in the global community to follow suit.
"Our additional funds will focus on the Asia-Pacific - on giving women more opportunity to decide whether, when and how many children they have."
The additional aid announcement comes on the eve of this week's Global Family Planning Summit in London – hosted by the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Summit aims to raise an additional $2 billion in family planning aid by 2020.
Australia's increased family planning aid would be provided through partner organisations including the United Nations Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Current Australian funding is $26 million a year, including in eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. This compares with just $2 million for family planning in the final years of the Howard Government.
Family planning aid covers the provision of basic reproductive health care, information and advice services, and contraception.
An estimated 220 million people in developing countries lack access to family planning advice or contraception. Universal access to family planning services could result in an estimated 21 million fewer unplanned births and 26 million fewer abortions worldwide.
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