Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, February 5, 2015

Contact: Stephanie Feldstein, (734) 395-0770

Report: Family Planning Is Cost-effective Strategy for Climate, Food Security

SAN FRANCISCO— A new report from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health states that access to family planning services is a cost-effective strategy to addressing population growth, food insecurity and climate change.

“More than 800 million people on the planet are chronically hungry and climate change is accelerating,” said lead author of the report Joe Speidel, MD, MPH. “Ongoing rapid population growth is making it much more difficult to address these serious world problems. Voluntary family planning is a cost-effective way to improve world food security and slow climate change.”

The report cites that improving access to family planning could provide 16 to 29 percent of the needed decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the need to increase production of crops and meat would help stabilize the climate, in addition to making it easier to address world hunger, since agriculture and livestock production currently account for 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“This report adds to the growing body of evidence that advancing human rights and reproductive healthcare is critical to protecting people and the planet,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our sheer numbers, along with the demands of environmentally-devastating — and growing — industries like meat production and fossil fuels, puts incredible pressure on our climate, our food systems and wildlife. Family planning, education and equality are common-sense and cost-effective solutions to these global crises.”

According to the report, it would cost an estimated $9.4 billion annually to meet the unmet need for family planning — less than 5 percent of the $209 billion annually estimated to meet the need for food in developing countries. It’s estimated that providing family planning services to the 225 million women worldwide who want access to modern contraception but are unable to get it would prevent 52 million unintended pregnancies each year. Since the year 2000, world population has grown by 1.2 billion people — more than the combined populations of Europe and North America.

The report recommends an increase in foreign aid to fill the $5.3 billion gap in funds for family planning, and that the research, policy and program communities addressing world hunger and global warming make family planning a priority in the new Sustainable Development Goals.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s Population and Sustainability program highlights the connections between runaway human population growth, unsustainable overconsumption and the wildlife extinction crisis, and promotes a range of solutions, including universal access to family planning and reproductive healthcare, and the education and empowerment of women and girls.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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