Setting the foundation for post-2015: partners call for sustained effort and accountability

6 NOVEMBER 2014 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Opening

High level representatives from countries, civil society and international organizations have gathered in Geneva for two days to reaffirm their commitment to women’s and children’s health in the post-2015 era, and to discuss how to ensure that accountability is at the centre of this agenda. The meeting, co-convened by The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Governments of Canada and Norway, follows an array of high- level meetings in 2014 all part of a larger strategic process aimed at bringing together stakeholders in women’s and children’s health, to set an agenda for post-2015.

Dr Marie Paule Kieny of the World Health Organization, who opened the first day of the meeting, spoke of how the accountability work has moved from a path-finding exercise when it first started to a place where 65 countries are now implementing accountability frameworks. “Accountability is recognised as being central to discussions on mother, newborn and child and health, but also health in general” she said and urged all partners to continue this work. Co-conveners Diane Jacovella from the Canadian governments and Tore Godal, Special Advisor to the Norwegian Prime Minister on Global Health, echoed this sentiment. Both Canada and Norway announced significant funding for women’s and children’s health earlier this year, part of a final push towards achieving the MDGs before the end of 2015, and to buoy the momentum thereafter.

Ms Jacovella spoke of the financing mechanism and reflected on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She said, “Women and children are lost in the draft SDGs and we owe it to them to maintain dedication and commitment.” She explained that the new Global Strategy along with the financial mechanism presented an opportunity to make a difference saying, “we have a financial mechanism and it is up to us to make sure this mechanism gives us what we want”. Dr Godal stressed the importance of investing in innovations that can be game changers, as well as the critical role that women play in their countries’ development. Referencing the Norwegian experience he said, “the role of women in development is amazing and in Norway they are more important to the economy than oil.” All co-conveners stressed that while the new development goals – the SDGs – will address a broader set of issues, it is important not to lose sight of the unfinished business of maternal and child health.