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Today, given a recent study showing that the loss of ice in Antarctica has tripled in a decade as a result of the climate change crisis, Having Kids called upon the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to abandon its outdated family planning modeling in favor of the sustainable Fair Start model. Family planning is the most effective way to address climate change and other environmental threats.

This is our message to the UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem: 

Dr. Kanem:

We respectfully request that you consider reforming the family planning model at the heart of the United Nations Population Fund’s work. The UNFPA currently uses an outdated family planning model that was developed before the manifestation of climate change, key developments in the science of early childhood development, and the massive and growing gap between rich and poor that exists today. That outdated model should be reformed to account for these things, and many other problems it exacerbates.

The current model adopted by the UNFPA recognizes the fundamental human right of parents to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children. It treats parents as if they were isolated from one another and their community in the act of planning, and does not include the rights of future persons, animals and their environment, the role of family planning in further democracy, etc. That model has no basis in binding sources of international law, and is unethical.

How does that model account for parents that choose to have massive families, degrade the environment we all share, and put us all at risk? How does it account for parents’ obligation to not flout the Children’s Rights Convention, or even basic standards of fitness, by bringing children into existence below legally mandated thresholds? How does it account for the obligation parents and their community share to give every child a fair start in life, with opportunities equal to their peers? The UNFPA’s current model is isolationist, and by focusing on parents, violates the fundamental human rights of future children and communities.

We offer the child-first Fair Start family planning model as a sustainable alternative to the UNFPA’s isolationist model. The Fair Start model is cooperative rather than isolationist, is based u[on binding sources of international law, and provides a clear human rights-based solution to the problems discussed above and a path forward. It is also reflected in the worldwide trend towards smaller families that can invest more in each child and ensure a safer future.

Take action, and ask Dr. Kanem to consider our request by tweeting her at @Atayeshe.


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