The 2015 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, which was scheduled to take place from November 9 to 12, has been postponed due to a volcanic eruption on the neighboring island of Lombok.
The decision to postpone the conference, which had the theme “Global Commitments, Local Actions,” was made after a volcanic ash cloud forced the closure of the Denpasar Airport for three days, affecting the timely arrival of thousands of participants and dignitaries. The closure of the airport has also created a backlog of canceled flights to Denpasar.
This was contained in a statement jointly issued by Jose “Oying” Rimon II, Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and Chair of the 2015 ICFP International Steering Committee, and Surya Chandra Surapaty, Chairman of the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia (BKKBN) and Chair of the 2015 ICFP National Steering Committee and copied to the Ghana News Agency.
It said the postponement was a disappointment for the many individuals and organizations that have worked tirelessly to plan this historic event, as well as the thousands of conference participants. We want to thank everyone who has contributed time and effort to preparing for the 2015 ICFP.
“In the weeks ahead, conference organizers will be meeting to decide on the next steps. We want to thank you in advance for your understanding and patience and we promise to share details as soon as a new date is confirmed,” the statement said.
The statement expressed with heavy hearts that the volcanic eruption has affected the travel plans of many participants and collaborators. Several flights have been delayed and many high-level speakers were concerned that they would not be able to make it at all because of the unpredictable schedule of airport openings and closings.
“To minimize inconvenience for those who had not yet begun their journeys, protect the health and safety of our valued delegates, and maximize the value of the conference for the family planning community as a whole, we chose to postpone to a later date,” it added.
The statement explained that “family planning was frequently cited as one of the “best buys” for global development and expanding access to contraception would play a critical role in the global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“While our in-person collaborations this November have been delayed, we hope the family planning community will continue this important conversation virtually in forums around the world”.
The ICFP is held every two years to provide an unparalleled opportunity to rally the worldwide family planning community and increase momentum towards achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.
This momentum is created, in large part, by convening thousands of the world’s leading scientists, researchers, policymakers and advocates together in a single location. GNA