New York

14 May 2015

Secretary-General remarks at High Level lunch on Every Woman Every Child [as prepared for delivery]

I am pleased to welcome you today. 

We are a diverse group, but with one common bond.

We all believe in a world where every woman, child and young person can not only survive, but thrive.

We have a unified vision to end all preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths.

We have a passion to improve the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents within a generation.

I will never forget the first meeting I had with my advisors, when I asked what under-achieving area of development would have broadest impact across all of the Millennium Development Goals.

The overwhelming response was the health of our most vulnerable women and children.

What was astonishing to me then is that they said we already knew the solutions, but we did not have the resources, commitment or coordination to make an impact.

I am so glad that I can stand here today and say that we are turning the tide.

Under the MDGs, lives have been saved on an unprecedented scale – especially since we launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2010.

I am proud of what has been accomplished in the past five years through ambitious commitments and partnerships, strengthened accountability and a focus on innovation.

Over 400 commitments have been made by over 300 partners.

$34 billion in resources has been disbursed, translating into concrete action on the ground.

Maternal and child death rates have fallen in every one of the Global Strategy’s 49 target countries since 2010.

Every Woman Every Child helped us build this momentum, creating a global community, working under one umbrella, contributing to these concrete outcomes.

But this progress is fragile, and our work under the health MDGs remains unfinished.

I want to see continued accelerated action to sustain these gains.

Some 800 women still die each day from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Adolescent girls are more vulnerable to HIV infection, sexual violence and harmful practices.

Women and children are up to 14 times more likely to die in a disaster.

Too many newborns do not survive even their first 24 hours of life.

This is why we are updating the Global Strategy and Every Woman Every Child in September in support of the sustainable development goals.

We must end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents.

And we must realize their full potential to thrive and exercise their rights.

To accomplish these aims, we must work more effectively across sectors and through partnerships.

The updated Global Strategy will place new attention on adolescents’ needs, inequalities, and how to respond more effectively in humanitarian crises and fragile settings.

It will aim to build the resilience of health systems, improve the quality of health services and equity in their coverage.

It will examine how to work more effectively with key health-enhancing sectors, such as education, nutrition, sustainable energy, water and sanitation.

And it will be backed-up with concrete action and financing at all levels and from all stakeholders.

One such mechanism -- the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child -- will be launched during the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July.

It aims to foster innovative funding for women, children and adolescents’ health and to help countries transition to more sustainable financing.

Ladies and gentlemen,

By investing in the potential of women, children and adolescents today, and over the next 15 years, we can save a generation within a generation – and benefit generations to come.

But the opportunity and responsibility to act belongs to our generation, now.

Continued strong political commitment, leadership and action will be critical to our success, especially in supporting the smooth transition from the MDGs to the universal sustainable development goals agenda.

That is why I plan to establish a high-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child and the updated Global Strategy.

This Advisory Group will help to provide the highest political leadership on this important transition and inspire ambitious action that translates into steady progress on the ground.

Today, I would like to call on all of you, new and existing Every Woman Every Child partners, to help mobilize innovative new commitments around the updated Global Strategy.

These new commitments need to demonstrate how the global health community, countries and multi-stakeholder partners can align, be fit for purpose, and forge new partnerships to deliver results.

Now is the time to renew our pledge to every woman, every child -- everywhere.

Let us remember, we are all accountable to Every Woman Every Child.

Every Woman Every Child is a health worker going the extra mile to save a life.

It is a politician, a business person, it is an educator.

It is your mother or father, brother or sister.

Every Woman Every Child is all of us.

Every Woman Every Child is ME.

Thank you.