Ten years after the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the 2022 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) celebrated the fact that tens of millions more women today are using a modern method of family planning (FP), and a growing number of governments, corporations, funders and non-governmental organizations are pledging to take specific actions to expand access to voluntary, rights-based contraception.
At the same time, the world’s largest scientific conference on family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) highlighted the urgency of this moment, particularly as COVID-19 and other crises continue to divert healthcare funding from family planning efforts.
This year’s convening provided an important opportunity to reunite the community more than two years after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and global emergency, providing a unique look into our challenges and triumphs, as well as our weaknesses and resilience. Pandemic mitigation measures forced health systems and individuals in need of FP care to adapt with innovations like tele-health services and community-based product distribution. These novel adaptations underscore the value of strong health systems and provide a robust foundation for future innovations that address emerging reproductive health needs.
As the preeminent event for countries, organizations, and individuals to make important family planning announcements, this year’s ICFP saw several historic new FP2030 pledges, including a five-year, USD 15 million commitment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
ICFP2022 took place against a global backdrop of growing extremism and erosion of gender equality and reproductive rights. Several sessions addressed what the community can and should do to protect and advance reproductive rights, and drew on expertise from different regions and settings – including crisis settings.
Youth delegates were a driving force behind ICFP2022. In the conference’s closing plenary session, youth advocates from around the globe gathered to share personal stories from their work, and to present a Global Roadmap for Action for Adolescents and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (AYSRHR). The roadmap – designed and led by youth in collaboration with over 40 organizations – sets out 2030 goals, priorities and recommendations, showing unity in support for the expression of young peoples’ SRHR needs and values across the world.
Elevating voices has long been a priority for ICFP, and community-driven content was a focal point throughout this year’s conference. In the lead-up to ICFP, community members were invited to share stories on the power of family planning in their own lives, as well as their families and communities. There was also dedicated ICFP Community Action programming designed to leverage the expertise and reach of ICFP partners and supporters, and celebrate the diverse perspectives of the family planning community.
A record-breaking 3,100+ abstracts were submitted for ICFP2022, illustrating a growing global interest in family planning and the many ways it promotes human and planetary health, improves education and builds strong economies. This year’s scientific program represents the strongest body of new family planning research presented at an ICFP yet, featuring more than 200 scientific sessions across oral and flash sessions and 6 poster sessions across 16 tracks covering a wide diversity of research, program and advocacy topics. The scientific program included 16 tracks to which people submitted abstracts and an additional track of invited speakers and sessions.
For the first time, ICFP was offered in a hybrid format, allowing over 3,500 in-person delegates and 50,000 community members to join virtually and onsite. Virtual attendees had live-streamed access to the most popular scientific sessions, on-demand recordings, plenary hall programming, and interactive features such as polling and Q&A with session moderators and presenters.
This year also marked the launch of ICFP LIVE and the Family Planning News Network (FPNN), which bring together a wide breadth of journalists and storytellers to produce original programming, including live interviews, panel discussions and news events, for in-person and virtual audiences. With an estimated 50,000+ community members worldwide, ICFP Live and FPNN featured short, partner-driven sessions on topics like sex taboos, male engagement, emergency contraception, abortion rights, climate change, planetary health and more.
The FP movement is seen at all levels of society, including local communities, government institutions, private sector innovators, funding institutions, and NGOs around the globe. For 13 years, the ICFP community has worked together to move family planning and reproductive health priorities to the center of development.
ICFP2022 brought the family planning and reproductive health community together to strengthen our collective movement to achieve universal access to family planning by 2030 as an essential element of Universal Health Coverage. ICFP partners and community members have contributed to the evidence, research and lessons learned about the power of family planning, and how important it is that access to these products and services are considered essential to the achievement of universal health coverage.
About Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health:
Located in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Gates Institute is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship and science for social change. The Institute conducts and facilitates cutting-edge research in family planning, adolescent and youth reproductive health and population dynamics, and translates science into evidence-informed policies, programs and practice. For more information, please visit www.gatesinstitute.org.
About International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP):
Since 2009, the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) has served as a strategic inflection point for the global reproductive health community. In addition to being the world’s largest scientific conference on family planning and reproductive health, ICFP serves as an international platform for countries, organizations, and individuals to make important commitments and celebrate achievements. Sponsored by the Gates Institute, the ICFP convenes every two years and most recently met in Pattaya City, Thailand 14-17 November 2022. For more information, please visit www.icfp2022.org.