Islamabad - United Kingdom’s International Development Secretary Priti Patel on Friday said that her country was the global leader on family planning, and sexual and reproductive health.

The UK is co-hosting an international summit on family planning in London on July 11 with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund.

The summit aims to boost global commitment to one of the smartest investments governments can make: ensuring couples have access to the family planning services they want and need, said a statement released here by the British High Commission.

Expanding access to contraception and family planning programmes is one of the most cost-effective ways to break the cycle of poverty. It allows people to plan their future and that of their families and reach their fullest potential, the statement said.

Huge progress has already been made, but there are still some 214 million women around the world who do not want to get pregnant and are not currently using modern methods of family planning, it added.

Voluntary family planning enables boys and girls to complete their education and take up better economic opportunities: it transforms lives, creating more prosperous, stable societies.

“That is why UK’s International Development Secretary Priti Patel is stepping up the UK’s global leadership through an international summit on family planning in London this summer,” said the statement.

Commenting on the summit, Patel said: “I am proud of the UK’s global leadership on family planning, sexual and reproductive health. We can see the progress that is being made around the world – but much more needs to be done.”

She added: “That’s why the Family Planning Summit will be so important. It is a vital and exciting opportunity for the key players to get together and speed up progress to help 120 million more women and girls take control of their own lives through voluntary and modern family planning by 2020.”

A high level delegation from the federal and the provincial governments of Pakistan will be attending the summit. The government of Pakistan will be renewing the pledges made in 2012 and will present a further package of commitments  to accelerate its progress towards achieving Family Planning 2020 goals, the statement said.

These commitments are likely to include involving the public and private health sectors in family planning to ensure universal coverage of reproductive health services, including those hardest to reach. Pledges will also address family planning needs of married adolescents and information gaps among the unmarried youth. New initiatives will also be announced assuring an increase in financing for family planning.

With the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UNFPA, the UK government will bring together governments, the United Nations, foundations, private sector, civil society and youth advocates from around the world.

Outcomes from the summit will include a range of new commitments from developing countries, donors and other partners.

“These commitments will increase access to family planning services for men, women and girls in the world’s poorest countries, fix problems with supply chains and prioritise the needs of those in humanitarian crises,” the statement said.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 08-Jul-2017 here.