| Newsletters by Year | Newsletters by Subject |
UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
Women Deliver II Parliamentary Forum and Ottawa G8 Parliamentary Appeal
ISSUE 91 - 18 June 2010
This issue of the Global Population Policy Update highlights the outcome of two recent parliamentary meetings on maternal health – Millennium Development Goal 5. One was held during the Women Deliver II Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S.A and the other is the 6th Annual Global Parliamentarians Summit in Ottawa, Canada. Both important events saw parliamentarians from around the world coming out strong on the issue of maternal health, including family planning, while re-affirming the message, “No Woman should lose her life in the act of bringing a new life into the world".
At Women Deliver II (7-9 June), around 50 lawmakers from 40 countries joined more than 3000 global leaders working in the field of maternal and reproductive health to lend their voices and to commit to generating political will and financial investment needed to fulfill MDG 5.
In a special session for the lawmakers, entitled the “Parliamentarians Forum”, participants endorsed a Parliamentary Statement, “Turning Dialogue into Action” (see below), which called for additional $12 billion a year to be invested in women and girls, while commiting to actively work towards the establishment of a global funding mechanism for family planning, mothers and children. “Such a global funding mechanism would reduce maternal mortality by 70%, avert 44% of newborn deaths, reduce unsafe abortions by over 70% and further contribute to curb the AIDS and malaria pandemics which now place women and girls at greatest risk”, said the statement.
This message, among others, was reiterated at the G8 Parliamentarians Summit in Ottawa, which included around 100 parliamentarians from around 50 countries representing G8 and G20 nations. Many of the parliamentarians who attended the Women Deliver II conference were also present at the two-day Summit. In a Parliamentary Appeal (see below), which was presented to the Canadian Premier, Stephen Harper, host of the Muskoka G8 Heads of State Summit scheduled for 25-26 June, the lawmakers urged donor governments to meet the international targets of 0.7 GNI for development assistance, and to devote a significant portion of this funding to maternal and reproductive health, including family planning.
The Appeal also urged developing countries to ensure equity of access to quality health care services and availability of family planning, while ensuring transparency in the use of the development assistance. The conference was organized and hosted by the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD).
Parliamentary Statement – Women Deliver
*** Turning Dialogue into Action ***
Washington, D.C. , 9 June 2010
We, the parliamentarians from all the regions of the world, participating in Women Deliver 2010 in Washington, D.C., USA, commit to work as legislative leaders to mobilize support and legislative action to ensure the health, dignity and rights of women and girls through universal access to reproductive and sexual health, in the shortest possible time.
We are convinced that implementing the commitments made by our Governments to date in the major United Nations conferences and summits as well as the IPCIs and the Addis Ababa call to Action will end the preventable high maternal deaths and disability that constitute the greatest moral, human rights and development challenge of our time.
We Parliamentarians are determined to play our roles in:
I. Creating laws and policies with and for women and girls: legislative and policy responsibilities
Health solutions for women and girls must be complemented by a conducive political and legislative environment to ensure long-term results and effectiveness. We must advance, implement and protect the human rights of women and girls.
Women represent half of the human race.
We therefore commit to
1. Actively work towards enforcing national laws and de facto implement policies to accelerate women’s and girls’ economic, social and political rights, and to reduce gender inequality and gender-based violence.
2. Build alliances and coalitions amongst supportive Members of Parliament, other Parliamentary Groups on Population and Development, women’s groups, civil society organizations and ministry officials to ensure that governments review and remove laws and practices that still restrict access to sexual and reproductive health services.
3. Generate an institutional memory by mapping legislation/documents/programmes our governments have adhered to on women’s and girl’s health and rights and have committed to implement.
4. Demand that the key issues of women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are made regular agenda items during relevant bilateral, multilateral and international meetings and summits including but not limited to access to family planning, emergency obstetric care, and access to safe abortion when and where legal.
II. Giving women and girls their fair share of funding: budget and oversight responsibilities
Overall health funding from all sources worldwide is up sharply since 2002, but 53 percent goes to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. In the developing world, only US$2.25 per capita goes for all other health services, including family planning and maternal and child health.
1. Call for additional US$ 12 billion a year to be invested in women and girls and commit to work in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and other key stakeholders to meet the US$ 24 billion that is needed to provide access to family planning and maternal and newborn care to all women in developing countries.
2. Actively work towards the establishment of a global funding mechanism for family planning, mothers and children with other international donors. Such a global funding mechanism would reduce maternal mortality by 70%, avert 44% of newborn deaths, reduce unsafe abortions by over 70% and further contribute to curb the AIDS and malaria pandemics which now place women and girls at greatest risk.
3. Demand transparency from our governments on how financial resources are earmarked for women on women and girls and how this is spent. To this end, our parliamentary groups will regularly invite government officials to inform Parliament on funding allocations and financial decisions which impact women and girls, including health systems workforce strengthening.
4. Call on our governments to earmark ongoing appropriate financial support for local, national, and international civil society initiatives and organisations which provide innovative and tested approaches to lift women and girls out of poverty through empowerment, improved health and social status.
III. Advocating for a Women’s and Girl’s Agenda everywhere: Advancing MDG 5 locally, nationally, regionally, and globally
The world is watching, but it also needs to act! The G8/G20 Parliamentarians’ Conference and G8/G20 Summit of leaders of industrialized nations occurs just weeks after Women Deliver. In September, world leaders gather for the UN High Level Meeting to review the progress on the MDGs. Now is the time to amplify our voices to broaden the dialogue on maternal and reproductive health in the global arena and to demonstrate concrete action to achieve MDG 5 and with it all other MDGs.
We therefore commit to:
1. Urge our Ministers to establish realistic and verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual MDG targets with a special emphasis on MDG 5 (a and b). These will be presented during the UN High Level Meeting on the MDGs in September 2010 to ensure that the health, dignity and rights of women and girls are secured.
2. Call on donors and recipient countries alike, despite the reduced resources that are available as a consequence of the economic crisis, to target the most currently furthest from being achieved MDGs with a focus on maternal and child health through concrete sectoral measures and to foster ownership of the MDGs in developing countries by working through partnerships and aligning aid behind robust health targets and indicators.
3. Call on governments to act upon the endorsed Consensus on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
4. Demand parliamentary participation and inclusion in political priority setting on women’s and girl’s health at local, national regional and global levels by establishing a clear monitoring mechanism for each MDG with a clear timeline and format.
IV. Speaking out on Women and Girls: Awareness Raising and Knowledge Building
Clear evidence and global consensus exists on the fact that most maternal deaths are preventable and that the health solutions to prevent maternal deaths are readily available and cost-effective These health solutions include: Ensuring access to modern contraception to every woman who needs and wants it, ensuring skilled care before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth, including emergency obstetric care, for mothers and newborns, and ensuring access to safe abortion when and where legal.
We therefore commit to:
1. Take a leading role in communicating the societal, economic, political, and cultural benefits of investing in women and girls to parliamentary colleagues, governments and other key decision-makers, private investors, donors and other multipliers.
2. Provide accurate information about women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as the need and benefits for simultaneous investments in family planning and maternal and newborn care.
3. Include young people, specifically adolescent girls, as partners in shaping reproductive health and rights policies and laws that address young people’s needs.
4. Prioritise our actions towards groups most in need of support. Those at the margins, namely vulnerable girls living outside family and educational structures with little or no social assets.
We Parliamentarians pledge to carry out these actions and to systematically and actively monitor the progress we make in doing so. As a first step, we commit to communicate the results achieved in working with our respective authorities and in close cooperation with civil society and other key stakeholders to support national action plans to be presented during the UN High Level Review meeting on the MDGs. We will report regularly on this progress through our parliamentary groups and our regional networks.
PARLIAMENTARY APPEAL TO G8/ G20 HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
Ottawa, 11 June 2010
We, parliamentarians from countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas, including G8/20 countries, gathered in Ottawa, Canada from June 10th-11th for the 6th Annual Parliamentarians’ Summit on “Balancing the Scales of Women’s Lives in the Countdown to 2015.”
We believe that 2010 represents a decisive turning point in international efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls around the world, in keeping with the objectives established in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We note with particular concern that MDG 5 – on maternal health – is the goal towards which the least progress has been made so far. Sustained effort is required to close this gap and meet all the MDG objectives by 2015, particularly MDG 5-b, which deals with family planning. These actions must be placed in the context of the advancement of international human rights, with the understanding that women’s rights are human rights.
Healthy women and mothers are an integral part of vibrant communities. As such, the wellbeing of women and girls is central to international development.
Advancements in women’s health also have a positive effect on economic prosperity. The impact of maternal and newborn mortality on the global economy has been estimated to be US$15 billion in annual lost productivity. Therefore, advances in women’s health must be viewed as an investment and not an expenditure.
2010 is the decisive year for our collective will and action. Our objective is to work so that by 2015, the target date of the MDGs, the ability for women to give birth safely will be a right enjoyed by all. No woman should lose her life in the act of bringing a new life into the world.
CALL TO ACTION FOR GOVERNMENTS,
First, we believe that resources including new funding of 12 billion dollars, to a total of 24 billion should be pooled under an international funding mechanism specifically for MDG 5, which will provide targeted assistance for sexual and reproductive health and rights, family planning and access to safe abortion when and where it is legal and therapeutic abortion.
Second, donor countries should provide support for the provision of a basket of health care, clinical services and evidence-based interventions. This basket should be constructed to provide quality services at each stage of the continuum of maternal and child health care needs.
Third, the strategy should be designed to align with developing countries’ priorities. In keeping with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, developing countries must be the architects of their own national development.
Fourth, the strategy must be comprehensive and tackle underlying issues, including poverty, illiteracy, gender-based violence, malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria, and women’s human rights violations. Moreover, HIV/AIDS is becoming an increasingly feminized pandemic, and needs to be addressed as such. Progress in all of these areas is essential to the realization of the reproductive health needs and rights of women, including maternal health.
Fifth, the most vulnerable groups including poor women, refugee and migrant women, IDPs, women in conflict areas, adolescent girls, ethnic minorities, and women in rural zones require specific attention.
Sixth, indigenous women experience the highest level of marginalization, with limited access to health care and require special attention.
Therefore, donor countries should:
* Focus on building effective, integrated and accessible healthcare systems;
* Provide support for the training and retention of a significant number of new skilled health care professionals and birth attendants in developing countries;
* Meet the international target of having development assistance equal 0.7% of gross national product;
* Devote a significant portion of this funding to maternal and reproductive health, including family planning;
* Build mechanisms to monitor, evaluate and report publicly on international health spending - providing a feedback loop to inform future programming decisions; and
* Consult closely with developing countries to identify priority areas for funding and programming
Countries that are partner in development aid should structure their maternal health care strategies to reflect the following principles:
A Comprehensive Approach
Establish a country action plan for achieving the MDGs, and in particular MDG 5;
* Combat obstacles to women’s advancement and equal participation in society and political decision-making;
* Ensure equity of access to quality health care services and the comprehensive availability of family planning;
* Treat education, nutrition, reproductive health and measures to counteract HIV infection as central issues linked to maternal health;
* Target funding and interventions to reach the most vulnerable groups, especially indigenous women, poor women, refugee women, IDPs, women in conflict areas, migrant women, adolescent girls, ethnic minorities, and women in rural zones;
Scale-up Efforts to Build Effective and Accountable Health Systems
* Strengthen health systems and direct resources to increase the number and reach of skilled health professionals, including physicians, nurses, midwives, and community health care providers;
* Use maternal and infant mortality indicators to evaluate health system performance;
* Ensure transparency and accountability in the use of development assistance and national financing directed towards health care systems.
Improving Access to Education and Nutrition
* Work towards girls’ full and equal access to primary and secondary education and retention in school;
* Promote proper nutrition and target nutritional supplements to pregnant women and newborns and promote breast feeding;
For more information on Women Deliver II, visit: http://www.womendeliver.org/conferences/-2010-conference/parliamentarians-forum/
Information on the 6th Annual Global Parliamentarians Summit, can be assessed at: http://www.cappd.ca/prototype/summit_documents.php
All previous issues of the UNFPA Global Population Policy Update can be found on UNFPA’s website at: http://www.unfpa.org/public/parliamentarians/pid/3615.
 Where not indicated differently, numbers and figures used rely on the Women Deliver Message Kit.
 The Addis Ababa Call to Action is available at : http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/documents/publications/2009/call_to_action.pdf
 United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009, United Nations, New York, 2009, p. iv.
 Women Deliver, Focus on 5: Women’s Health and the MDGs, www.womendeliver.org.