KAMPALA -- The Inter-Parliamentary Union, the world’s largest body of lawmakers, has approved a resolution to secure access to health, as a basic human right, for women and children.
The resolution calls on parliaments to take all possible measures to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015. MDG 4 aims to reduce child deaths around the world by two thirds by 2015, while MDG 5 aims to reduce maternal deaths and widen access to reproductive health. This is the first time that the world’s parliaments, acting through the IPU, have passed a resolution on these issues.
The resolution was approved in an assembly that included a strong focus on the importance of investing in health. Earlier in the week, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin delivered a keynote address arguing for reducing inequity by investing in women, children and young people, and keeping their needs high on the development agenda. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake spoke about the importance of child nutrition. And a statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underscored the importance of his Every Mother, Every Child initiative.
The resolution also followed extensive dialogue by UNFPA, the Partnership for Newborn, Maternal and Child Health and others with members of the IPU and its committee on democracy and human rights.
"Global progress relies to a large extent on parliaments and parliamentarians," said Dr. Osotimehin. "They have a crucial role to play in ensuring people-centred policies supported by national budgets. I am very pleased that the IPU, with this new resolution, has shown its commitment to investing in the health and rights of women, children and young people."
Dr. Osotimehin expressed his desire to further strengthen the collaboration and underlined the positive impact that parliamentarians can have not only for accelerating action on achievement of MDGs, but also in terms of awareness raising, oversight and monitoring.
Such partnerships are crucial, he noted, for UNFPA’s work in delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.