Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

About Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

Accountability begins with national sovereignty and the responsibility of a government to its people and to the global community. However, all partners are accountable for the commitments and promises they make and for the health policies and programmes they design and implement.

Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the two - MDG 4 and 5 - specifically concerned with improving the health of women and children are the furthest from being achieved by 2015. They are in urgent need of innovative and strategic actions, supported by political will and resources for greater impact.

About the UN Global Strategy

In September 2010, in an effort to accelerate progress, the Secretary-General of the United Nations launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The main goal of this strategy is to save 16 million lives by 2015 in the world’s 49 poorest countries. It has already mobilized commitments estimated at US$ 40 billion. However, commitments need to be honoured, efforts harmonized, and progress tracked.

Given that accountability for financial resources and health outcomes is critical to the objectives of the Global Strategy, the Secretary-General asked the Director-General of the World Health Organization to coordinate a process to determine the most effective international institutional arrangements for global reporting, oversight and accountability on women’s and children’s health. In response, a Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health (Accountability Commission) was created.

About the Accountability Commission and accountability framework

The Accountability Commission proposed a framework for global reporting, oversight and accountability on women's and children's health. Through ten recommendations presented in its report Keeping Promises, Measuring Results, the Commission has created a system to track whether donations for women's and children's health are made on time, resources are spent wisely and transparently, and whether the desired results are achieved.

The accountability framework’s three interconnected processes – monitor, review and act – are aimed at learning and continuous improvement. The framework links accountability for resources to the results, outcomes and impacts they produce.

About the independent Expert Review Group

With regard to Recommendation 10 (the global oversight), the Commission requested WHO to lead a transparent process to establish an independent Expert Review Group (iERG). This Group was established in September 2011 and will provide global oversight on the results and resources related to the UN Global Strategy and on progress related in implementing the first nine recommendations of the Accountability Commission.

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