Fostering Indonesia’s Commitment to Family Planning

23 April 2015


UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, speaks on the panel at a special session of Indonesia's FP2020 Country Committee held at the BKKBN office in Jakarta on 21 April, 2015. 


JAKARTA, Indonesia - "Family planning is not just a medical intervention but a human rights intervention,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), stressed during his keynote address at a special session of the FP2020 Indonesia Country Committee in Jakarta on Tuesday.


Speaking to representatives from government institutions, civil society organizations, development partners, academics and experts, Dr Osotimehin wrapped up a three-day trip to Jakarta to discuss Indonesia’s progress and commitment to the FP2020 initiative – a global movement aimed at expanding access to comprehensive and rights-based family planning information, services and supplies to 120 million more women and girls in 69 of the world’s poorest and middle-income countries by 2020.


While Indonesia has been globally acknowledged for its success in delivering a national family planning programme since the 1970s, Dr. Osotimehin emphasized that family planning in Indonesia should be easier than other developing countries because the structure was already there.


“In the 1970s, Indonesia used to be a country that people admired when it came to family planning,” he told the room.


“But in the last decade, Indonesia has not been able to do a great deal with family planning. Contraception availability and education has not increased, maternal mortality rates have increased and the population growth rate has slightly increased.”


Joined by Ms. Ambar Rahayu, the Acting Chairperson of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), Mr. Jose Ferraris - UNFPA Indonesia Representative , Dr. Anung Sugihantono, Director General of Nutrition Management and Mother and Child Health from the Ministry of Health, and Mr. Jonathan Ross - Health Office Director of USAID , Dr. Osotimehin said that his purpose at the meeting – held in the BKKBN head office in Jakarta – was to provoke thought among the group of around 40 people.


He stressed to the members in the room that the agency and the FP2020 Country Committee – which was established in 2013, through the leadership of the BKKBN and assistance from USAID and UNFPA – needed to provide strategic direction to the government.


“There is the main challenge of decentralization. There needs to be a new center of control for family planning – BKKBN could be that center,” explained Dr. Osotimehin, who has been the agency’s executive director since 2011. “There needs to be systems in place to dispense ideas right down to the grassroots level.”


Dr. Osotimehin suggested that when it came down to family planning for unmarried or young people and sexuality education, it was important to get creative.


“Do we use civil societies, religious societies or youth societies?” he asked about finding the best way to deliver a message. “We need to look for an entry point that people will buy into. Remember there is not even a developed country where every person feels ok about giving contraception and sex education to young adolescents.”


Indonesia has continued to slowly make progress with its family planning policies. At the beginning of 2014 a universal health coverage scheme was rolled out across the archipelago. Accessible family planning services are now available for all Indonesian citizens, including those in remote areas. The committee also developed the Family Planning Strategic Framework – a guide for all partners working in the area of family planning in the country, the Government in particular, but also non-governmental organizations, private sector organizations, development partners and donors who are implementing the initiative.


Indonesia’s FP2020 Committee has been meeting regularly every two months since 23 May, 2013. Part of the Indonesian Government’s commitment to meeting the goal was to improve 23,500 family planning clinics by 2019, and increase the reach and services of mobile family services in remote areas.


At the two-hour meeting, BKKBN also presented an update on the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), which will be held in Bali in November. Dr. Osotimehin restated the agency’s commitment that UNFPA will partner with the committee, BKKBN, and the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as a co-sponsor for the 4th International Conference on Family Planning.