Twenty-three new commitments, corresponding to over $2 billion in pledges for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being were announced on the margins of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. This includes a pledge by Save the Children for global health and nutrition work in both development and humanitarian settings.
The new pledges, which will be monitored and reported upon every year as part of the broader Sustainable Development Goals follow-up and review processes, will help improve the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents, everywhere.
“Every Woman Every Child is a beautiful model that can be replicated in so many settings,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The results it has achieved prove that our vision was right and that we must keep these issues front and center as we embark on a new project of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve the SDGs, we need more investments in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.”
The pledges, made by long-standing and new partners in the Every Woman Every Child movement, are part of new commitments in support of the the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which was launched in 2015 alongside the SDGs as a front-runner platform to help implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The commitments were announced at a high-level event with the participation of government authorities, civil society, the academia and private sector leaders.
During the event, UN Secretary-General, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim released The Global Financing Facility: Country Powered Investments in support of Every Woman, Every Child which includes 31 statements by heads of state, governments, multilateral organizations, private companies, foundations, civil society organizations and others, demonstrating their commitment to the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child. Mr. Kim also announced that the GFF will now reach additional countries—Guatemala, Guinea, Myanmar and Sierra Leone—with trust fund financing during the next few months, beyond the 12 countries that are currently active.
Other pledges announced include a commitment by the Caribbean Community: Every Caribbean Girl, Every Caribbean Woman, focusing on opportunities to improve the lives of women, children and adolescents by promoting partnerships, coordination and coherence in efforts in the region to support the implementation of the Global Strategy. Pledges also included the creation of the BabyWASH Coalition—World Vision International, WaterAid, FHI360, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and Action Against Hunger—a multi-stakeholder platform to increase the focus on integrating programmes for children and their caretakers in the first 1,000 days of life; as well as the renewal of the Inter-Parliamentary Union commitment to elevate women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health to the top of legislative agendas.
Private sector partners made commitments worth over $57 million towards interventions targeting women, children and adolescents, including maternal and newborn health, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and rights, training of community health workers and women’s empowerment. Among the pledges announced by the private sector: Blu Marble Microinsurance committed to address a largely unmet insurance need in Africa among smallholder farmers for protection against adverse weather that affects crop and livestock farming; Banka BioLoo committed to providing accessible, affordable and sustainable sanitation solutions to 200,000 women and girls in homes across India, and to reaching 3,000 Indian schools by 2020 to provide access to adequate sanitation for 120,000 girls from low-income families; SHE committed to improving access to a low-cost method of managing menstruation effectively, reaching 250,000 girls in Rwanda by the end of 2017; Embryyo Technologies committed to building a tool for predicting intra-uterine growth retardation during antenatal care at community level, which will not depend on expensive imaging modalities, such as an ultrasound, and will be possible for front-line health workers to understand and use. Over ten companies already part of the Every Woman Every Child movement updated and renewed their commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
The UN Secretary-General was joined at the event by members of the High-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child and commended their efforts championing the movement, as well as calling for commitments and political support at the highest levels. He announced that the High-level Advisory Group will evolve into a Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child to help ensure that the movement continues strong, with leadership from many countries and leaders from many different sectors, keeping women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing at the core of sustainable development efforts.
Also as part of the Every Woman Every Child UN General Assembly activities, the United Arab Emirates and Norwegian Missions launched a series of high-level, multi-stakeholder panel discussions to raise visibility and understanding of women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health needs in humanitarian settings, and outline next steps for development and humanitarian actors. The series, in collaboration with the Every Woman Every Child Everywhere platform, will bring attention to the fact that over 50 per cent of preventable maternal and child deaths occur in humanitarian settings, recognizing and promoting the role of women as first responders, and ensuring their effective participation in the design, delivery, and monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian work.
In September 2015, world leaders agreed on a new set of global development goals, seeking to address some of the world’s biggest challenges: ending extreme poverty, ensuring health and wellbeing, reducing inequalities and tackling climate change, among other issues. This plan for people and planet is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents is central to its achievement.
“To achieve the SDGs, we need a vibrant Every Woman Every Child movement. I am honored to have spearheaded this movement since 2010,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “We have accomplished many things together. We have faced challenges and found solutions. My wish is for this community to continue strong, united and central to development efforts in the years to come so we can truly deliver health and well-being for women, children and adolescents everywhere.”
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About Every Woman Every Child
Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010, Every Woman Every Child, is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world. The movement puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which presents a roadmap to ending all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation and ensuring their well-being.
Quotes from high-level officials:
According to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Save the Children CEO, a $2 billion commitment announced by the NGO will also help uphold the health of EVERY LAST CHILD. Ms. Schmidt highlighted that humanitarian responses must put women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing at the center of their efforts.
“We will continue mobilizing civil society to hold governments accountable for their commitments, including through child and youth participation and citizen-led processes. We are looking forward to working with all Every Woman Every Child partners as we move forward,” said Ms. Thorning-Schmidt.
“Creating a world of healthy adolescents is not inevitable, it has to be deliberate; it must be paid for and enabled by law. It must also be lived daily in our health choices as young people and protected by the decisions of those in power,” said Yemurai Nyoni, youth leader and global health activist.
Whether through safer maternity care, better early child development, or securing the reproductive health of adolescent girls, we are beginning to see what the GFF is capable of achieving,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “Thanks to the inspired leadership of the Secretary-General and the support of partners, the GFF is starting to help countries pioneer the kind of smart, scaled and sustainable investments that can ultimately ensure the health and well-being of all women, children and adolescents by 2030.”
According to Dr. Margaret Chan, World Health Organization Director-General, there is a crucial need to look at unfinished development business and scale up interventions to ensure the survival of women, children and adolescents in all settings. “We must also go beyond survival to ensure better health and wellbeing, and work with other sectors that have an impact on health, from nutrition and WASH to education, in coordination and in partnership,” Dr. Chan said. “We must continue to work together, with women, children and adolescents at the center, to be agents of change and achieve our vision,” she said.
H.E. Mr. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda praised the UN Secretary-General for his “vision in identifying ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ as a flagship, with its emphasis on enhancing the health and well-being of women, girls and adolescents. “Your initiative inspired the formulation of this ‘Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child (ECWECC) Commitment, endorsed by the July 2016 Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government and championed by Caribbean First Ladies. The success of “Every Caribbean Woman, Every Caribbean Child” campaign will depend on fostering partnerships for this US$15 million commitment.”