High-level Steering Group for EWEC sets up priorities for health and wellbeing
In a time of complex development challenges, the investments we make in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health today will be critical to help build the more peaceful, sustainable and inclusive societies of tomorrow—global health advocates agreed today in DC, during a meeting of the High-level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child. By ending preventable deaths and achieving better health and wellbeing for all, in all settings, they added, we empower individuals and communities, ensuring that women, children and adolescents not only survive, but also thrive to achieve their full potential and help transform the world.
The addition of UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, as Senior Co-Chair of the Group was announced during the meeting, signaling an unwavering commitment to the world’s women, children and adolescents as building blocks for a sustainable and prosperous future. The High-Level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child provides critical political stewardship in a time of transition—across the UN system and around the world—to keep women, children and adolescents, at the top of political agendas and at the core of sustainable development when progress hangs in the balance.
The meeting was chaired by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who highlighted the long Every Woman Every Child trajectory. “I have been engaged with this community since the beginning. And how far we have come. As with anything, it has not been without its challenges, but the efforts of this collective movement have placed women, children and adolescents squarely in the sustainable development agenda, as a driving force for the transformative ambition envisioned across the SDGs,” she said.
“We know that women, children and adolescents are the linchpin of development—the protection and promotion of their health and well-being will be critical to the achievement of the SDGs and will help unlock their full potential as necessary agents of change. The investments we make today will lay the foundation for sustainable communities and resilient societies for years to come,” Ms. Mohammed added, noting that the development landscape is at a pivotal juncture—one that will require greater action and alignment across sectors, particularly at country-level.
“One year into the implementation of the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health—and the SDGs—we are facing complex and historic development challenges – together with a shifting and unpredictable political climate—that places the uneven progress we made under the MDGs at risk,” she highlighted.
Ms. Mohammed also remarked that, as a multi-stakeholder platform, Every Woman Every Child inspires and catalyzes the innovative solutions and coordinated, cross-sectoral action that is critical to leapfrog challenges, accelerate progress and deliver results against a truly integrated agenda. These efforts, she added, must continue to be led at country-level, which will require greater alignment to ensure efficiency and impact of collective efforts.
Participants at the meeting also noted that, despite the best efforts of the international community, progress to-date has been slow and uneven. Collective action must now level the playing field by ensuring equitable access to quality, affordable services for all—including those left behind and those in fragile and humanitarian settings.
Stronger linkages across sectors that reinforce one another, it was noted, will be vital to advance these efforts across the “survive” agenda of the EWEC Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and to help facilitate the environments needed for women, children and adolescents to also “thrive” and “transform” their communities. To do this, it is imperative to breakdown the siloes that have traditionally governed global health and development.
“We can no longer “preach to the choir”—this Group, particularly, will play a vital role to help ensure linkages with other sectors and bring in new actors,” Ms. Mohammed commented, reminding the Group that collective accountability efforts have never been more important—for results, resources and rights. “Our efforts must be inclusive, participatory and complementary,” she added.
Participants at the meeting also discussed the Every Woman Every Child 2020 Partners Framework, which will help ensure continued and strengthened streamlining necessary to deliver as one for women, children and adolescents, unlocking the full ambition of the SDGs.
H.E. Mr. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania and Alternate Co-Chair of the HLSG, remarked that the Framework gives guidance of what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. He stated, “ours is a responsibility of leadership; leadership and guidance.”
During the meeting, an updated Every Woman Every Child brand was unveiled, reiterating the spirit of alignment and collaboration across the movement, sending a bold signal of coordination at both global and country level.
The Every Woman Every Child movement puts in action the EWEC Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which provides a blueprint for countries to implement the SDGs. Through its core partners—the H6 Partnership (UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO and the World Bank Group), the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child, and the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace—Every Woman Every Child is strengthening its alignment to support governments and accelerate sustainable progress for all.
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