New data tracking European donor policy and funding – out now

Countdown 2015 Europe have uploaded the results of our latest annual tracking of European donor policies and funding for reproductive health/family planning (RH/FP) in development. Individual profiles and factsheets are now online for each of the C2015E countries for 2014. An overall trends analysis report will be available on this website by the end of January 2015.

In the meantime, our analysis of the current landscape shows that in general, European political support for RH/FP remained strong in 2014. European governments were vocal on RH/FP within Open Working Groups on the Sustainable Development Goals, in European Council processes, and in other global fora. Several European countries have also recently released policy documents and development cooperation laws with strong reference to increasing access to family planning and a broader commitment to SRHR (Belgium, France, Finland and Switzerland). Denmark and the Netherlands launched a new fund to support SRHR advocacy by civil society in the South in 2014, and the UK co-hosted the Girl Summit focusing on the wider issues of SRHR.

The financial figures collected by C2015E support this overall trend: funding to RH/FP increased in 2013 from 2012, and when comparing data from 2009-2013. This was across the board for the three indicators on which the data is based: (1) funding to population assistance including support to multi-laterals, research organisations and international bodies; (2) funding specifically to UNFPA; and (3) funding to RH across all sectors. The one country where both political and financial support to RH/FP fell drastically in 2013-14 was Spain, as it is suffering from significant cuts and changes in its focus due to the challenging economic climate.

However, this is no time for complacency. Official development assistance is being cut in some countries (including Finland, France, Ireland and the Netherlands) and stagnating in others (such as Germany). Commitments to RH/FP have to be maintained within these tighter parameters. New governments are forming, meaning formulation of new budgets in which RH/FP policy commitments will have to be maintained (such as in Norway and Sweden). The issue of transparency remains challenging, especially in countries (such as Belgium and Germany) where the majority of bilateral support goes directly to countries, making it difficult to track RH/FP spending. In this context, civil society has a strong role to play in advocacy and promoting accountability in Europe.