I am pleased to send greetings to the International Conference on Family Planning. I thank His Excellency President Joko Widodo and the Government and people of Indonesia for generously hosting this event.
Family planning is a human right. It is also a key that unlocks untold opportunities for individuals and nations. As we embark on a new era for development, family planning remains one of the best investments countries can make to achieve progress across the Sustainable Development Goals.
Family planning saves lives. We have seen in countries around the world that maternal and child health improves when women have access to the services and information they need to freely decide the number, timing and spacing of their children. Fewer unintended pregnancies mean fewer maternal and infant deaths, fewer abortions and fewer miscarriages.
Family planning improves lives. By empowering women and girls to make informed decisions about their bodies, it enables them to make informed decisions about how they will live – to seek education and to stay in school, to develop the skills to find decent work and contribute to the economic growth of their families, communities and nations.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I hold high the banner of empowering women and girls, promoting their health and defending their rights. We have made great progress under the Millennium Development Goals, including through the Every Woman Every Child movement. But the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for us to leave no one behind. To do that, we must intensify our efforts.
In September, we launched a new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ health to accelerate progress. The new strategy provides a roadmap for ending preventable deaths of women and children by 2030 and for ensuring that every woman, child and adolescent thrives. In so doing, it can improve the lives of all people.
You can count on the United Nations family to do its part, working together through partnerships like the H4+ group and, under the leadership of UNFPA, as a core partner of the Family Planning 2020 initiative. We will continue to support countries with the greatest needs in reaching those left furthest behind with the life-saving information, services and supplies they need, including family planning.
Let us work together to turn global commitments into local actions that ensure that every pregnancy is wanted and that every women, child and adolescent survives and thrives. In transforming their lives, we will transform our world.
I wish you a productive conference.