Originally posted on the 2015 International Conference on Family Planning website.
The 2015 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Nusa Dua, Indonesia will be postponed due to a volcanic eruption on the neighboring island of Lombok, organizers announced on Thursday. The difficult decision to postpone the conference 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.
As of Friday, 6 November, the Denpasar Airport had re-opened. However, the opening is considered temporary and is dependent on unpredictable natural factors such as wind direction and volcanic activity. The Government of Indonesia makes an evaluation every two hours to decide whether the airport should remain opened or closed.
The following is a statement by Jose “Oying” Rimon II, Director of the Gates Institute 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 ICFP National Steering Committee:
“Every two years, the ICFP provides an unparalleled opportunity to rally the worldwide family planning community and increase momentum toward 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.
As the 2015 conference approached, we realized with heavy hearts that the volcanic eruption would affect the travel plans of many of our valued colleagues and collaborators. Several flights were delayed until two days into the conference 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.
This postponement is 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.
Family planning is frequently cited as one of the “best buys” for global development and expanding access to contraception will play a critical role in our 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.
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.”
UPDATE: The 4th Internationational Conference on Family Planning is re-scheduled for January 25 - 28, 2016 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. For more information, view the stament and Frequently Asked Questions.