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23 September 2016
On September 20th, the first in-person meeting of the High-Level Advisory Group (HLAG) for Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) took place during the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly. The HLAG members agreed unanimously to evolve into a formal High-Level Steering Group that sets strategic priorities for EWEC through their 2017 term.

The primary aim of this Group will be to guide the strategic direction of the EWEC movement and the implementation of the updated Global Strategy. The Group’s efforts will concentrate on strengthening the three priority areas of the Global Strategy: Survive, Thrive and Transform.

The HLAG was established earlier this year by the UN Secretary General to provide leadership and inspire ambitious action for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, as well as encourage collaboration and integration with relevant areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Her Excellency President Michelle Bachelet of Chile presented the group’s recommendation to the Secretary-General, who thanked the dedication of the HLAG members to EWEC and accepted their proposal to evolve into a Steering Group. “It is my hope that the Steering Group can guide the achievement of the vision for EWEC. This prioritises focusing on country-level implementation for women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health and well-being in the era of sustainable development,” the Secretary-General remarked. “It also means fostering linkages to encourage collaboration and integration across the Sustainable Development agenda, promoting cross sector partnerships to deliver on the SDGs and the Global Strategy."

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The members were joined at this meeting by four additional members who accepted the Secretary-General’s appointed since the establishment of the group in January 2016: Her Excellency Ms. Rym Abdulla Al Falasy, Mrs. Melinda Gates, Ms. Li Xiaolin and Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt. These new members contribute to the HLAG’s diversity, and are reflective of the Every Woman Every Child movement.  

Her Excellency Rym Abdulla Al Falasy is the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Board Member of the Gender Balance Council of Abu Dhabi.

Ms. Melinda Gates is Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and has focused her work on gender equity, family planning and gender-disaggregated data as a path to empowering women and girls.

Ms. Li Xiaolin is President of The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and is also the President of China International Friendship Cities Association among many other roles. She established the EWEC China Partnership Network in 2015 to integrate the resources of government institutions, academies, companies and individuals to promote the health of women, children and adolescents all over the world.

Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the former Prime Minister of Denmark from 2011 until 2015. As the current CEO of Save the Children International, she oversees humanitarian and development programmes that directly reach 55 million children in around 120 countries every year, including in some of the most difficult and challenging contexts.