Policy ForumGlobal Development

Family Planning and the Millennium Development Goals

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Science  24 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5999, pp. 1603
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197080

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The United Nations' (UN's) eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (1) are widely accepted as the primary path to alleviating poverty worldwide. This month, world leaders convene to assess progress toward these goals (2). In the countdown to the MDG 2015 deadline and amid protracted economic recession, we need the most efficient, effective, and evidence-based means to accelerate progress toward all MDGs. Challenges must be considered in concert, and solutions must provide multidimensional dividends for the world's poor, or we risk unwisely dividing limited resources and diluting their impact. As authors from diverse communities, we emphasize here the influence that investments in rights-based family planning can have on achieving the MDGs (for endorsements, see supporting online material).