The Thriving Together campaign recognizes that family planning is critically important not only for women and girls but also for the environment
OTJIWARONGO, Namibia (July 11, 2019) Today, the Cheetah Conservation Fund joins 150 other leading environmental and reproductive health organizations to pledge support for a first-of-its-kind campaign: Thriving Together. Organizations that have signed up to the Thriving Together campaign form a diverse global alliance united by the agreement that improving access to family planning services is critically important for the environment and biodiversity.
The Sustainable Development Goals call for integrated solutions. Cheetah Conservation Fund along with other organizations backing the Thriving Together campaign agree that whether working in health or environmental conservation, through sharing information and working together on strategic projects and policies, we can help human communities and their ecosystems thrive. Successful biodiversity conservation requires taking people, our health, and our interactions with the natural world into account.
Increasing human pressures are among the many challenges facing planetary health. In addition, by harming ecosystems, people undermine food and water security and human health, and threaten habitats and species. Ensuring family planning is available to all who seek it is among the positive actions organizations must take to lessen these pressures. “Cheetah Conservation Fund believes we must reduce the pressures placed on land and wildlife by growing human populations, so we can restore nature’s delicate balance and have a healthier planet for all living creatures.” says Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director.
The United Nations projects that global population will rise from 7.7 billion today to 9.7 billion by 2050. Future population growth is uncertain however, and highly sensitive to small changes in the average number of children per mother. If the physical, financial, educational, social and religious barriers to people using family planning services were removed and the average number of children per mother was just 0.5 lower than the UN population projection which is most commonly used, global population would peak at 8.9 billion in 2050, rather than 9.7 billion.
This is all possible, by enabling the exercise of a well-recognized human right, that people should be able to decide for themselves, whether, when, how often and with whom to bring children into the world. Family planning contributes to women’s empowerment, improves family and general health, advances education and life opportunities and, by slowing population growth, eases pressures on wildlife and ecosystems.
Other organizations backing the Thriving Together campaign across the globe include Marie Stopes International, Born Free, The Nature Conservancy, Jane Goodall Institute, People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Tusk Trust. Collectively, the organizations work in over 170 countries.
The Thriving Together campaign is spearheaded by the Margaret Pyke Trust, which has over 50 years’ experience of family planning and is the only member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with this expertise. David Johnson, Chief Executive at the Margaret Pyke Trust says “The existence of barriers to family planning is the most important ignored environmental challenge of our day. This changes now. The Thriving Together campaign encourages cross-sectoral support between health and environmental conservation organizations, showcasing that when people can choose freely whether and when to have children it is for the benefit of both people and planet. Barriers to family planning are not only relevant to those who are passionate about improving health, gender equality, empowerment and economic development, but also to those who are passionate about the conservation of biodiversity, the environment and sustainability.”
The Margaret Pyke Trust’s Thriving Together campaign is informed by its paper ‘Removing Barriers to Family Planning, Empowering Sustainable Environmental Conservation’, which sets out how and why family planning is important for the environment. The Thriving Together campaign website ThrivingTogether.Global will be launched on July 11, 2019.
CCF is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Namibia, with operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom, and partner organizations in several other nations. Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems, working with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including humans. For more information, please visit www.cheetah.org.
About Margaret Pyke Trust:
The Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network, has been a leader in contraception and sexual health for 50 years. Today, in the UK, the Margaret Pyke Trust provides the broadest range of contraceptive training courses for clinicians nationwide.
Internationally, through the Population & Sustainability Network, the Margaret Pyke Trust promotes reproductive health and rights as an integral element of sustainable development.
They work with Network members and partners to design and implement programs improving contraceptive services, and work towards a vision of a world where everyone can decide freely whether, when, and how many children they want, for the benefit of all people and the planet.
About Thriving Together:
At the heart of the Thriving Together campaign is the widespread agreement, for the first time, that removal of barriers to family planning are critically important not only for women and girls, but also for environmental conservation and biodiversity. The campaign is the start of the process to change global policy to recognize this. Around 150 leading environmental and reproductive health organizations working in over 170 countries have declared their support for the campaign, with particular support from African organizations, working in all 54 African nations. The Thriving Together website, statement and paper can be viewed here.
Cheetah Conservation Fund, Susan Yannetti, [email protected] or 202.716.7756
Cheetah Conservation Fund Canada, Carolyn Farquhar, [email protected]