The year 2021 was marked by the Generation Equality Forum (GEF), convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France. The GEF led to the launch of six action coalitions on gender equality, including one on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and Bodily autonomy, co-led by France alongside Denmark, Burkina Faso, UNFPA and IPPF, among others. Hundreds of commitments were made on gender equality, resulting in a global positive dynamic for sexual and reproductive health and family planning (SRH/FP), and with new champions coming on board. In order for the process to be credible in the long run, robust accountability mechanisms are yet still to be put into place. The GEF boosted France’s support to SRHR and other related processes and frameworks, including a new SRHR international strategy.
2022 will be another strategic year, as France will assume the Presidency of the European Union Council and will hold presidential elections. The expectations from civil society will be high on both national and international levels.
Policies & funding
France finally adopted its National Law on Development in 2021. The text refers explicitly to the country’s feminist diplomacy and has a mainstream objective on gender equality. Free and equal access to SRH services is one of the priorities of the law, with a specific indicator on modern contraception. France also commits to dedicate 75% of its annual ODA budget to programmes with gender equality as a principal or significant objective (DAC 1 or 2) and 20% with gender equality as a principal objective (DAC 2) by 2025.
The government is in the process of finalizing its new SRHR international strategy and of reviewing its Global Health strategy. CSOs will continue playing their watchdog role to ensure that both texts reflect the GEF outcomes and to ensure that the next government implements them.
New members of the High Council for Gender Equality, which is an independent body to assess Gender Equality policies in France, should be appointed early 2022, in order to do their work before the presidential election.
In 2020, France spent €78 million on SRH/FP. If contributions to other essential interventions, such as HIV/AIDS and STIs and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) are taken into account, the country disbursed a total of €243 million in 2020.
At the GEF, France committed to allocate an additional €100 million to SRHR over the next five years, with the following breakdown: €90 million to UNFPA Supplies, €5 million to the SEMA initiative, €5 million to the ODAS programme for access to safe abortion. The government also committed to dedicate half of its pledge to the Global Partnership for Education (€333 million total) to girls’ education and to participate in the launch of the Partnership Forum on Comprehensive Sexuality Education led by UNFPA-UNESCO (no amount mentioned).
France took several diplomatic stances this year in the context of the GEF, at the Summit in Paris itself where commitments were made (see above) and in related events and processes, such as the UNGA or the Global Partnership for Education.
The country remains an important voting member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria: the Fund is in fact a substantial recipient of French funding for HIV prevention and control. With the 20th anniversary of the Global Fund and the 7th Replenishment conference taking place in the United States in 2021, France must step up for the integration SRH/FP in the new strategy – a development previously acknowledged but not yet in place.
The Generation Equality Forum has pushed France to be more vocal about SRHR at the international stage. Several high-level decision-makers took stances in favour of SRH/FP, such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Gender Equality Elisabeth Moreno, Ambassador for the GEF Delphine O or Ambassador for Global Health Stéphanie Seydoux. SRH/FP thus became more systematic in France’s discourses. Other related initiatives were launched like the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative.
In order to meet the expectations raised by the GEF, France is now expected to increase its overall ambition regarding SRH/FP funding and to be a role-model in terms of accountability. The French presidency of the Council of the European Union starting in January is a strategic window of opportunity to do so (implementation of the GAP III, support to the Team Europe Initiative on SRHR, that France is part of, the EU-Africa summit in February 2022, among others).
- Country factsheet with tracking data 2020-21
- France’s international strategy for gender equality (2018-2022)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Health Strategy (2017)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Population/SRHR Strategic Paper (2016)
- Gender Equality High Council’s report on the feminist diplomacy (2020)
Updated January 2022
- European Institutions
- United Kingdom