2014 Partners' Forum
30 JUNE - 1 JULY | Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
The 2014 Partners’ Forum begins: Now it is in our hands
The 2014 Partners Forum opened today to the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikelel Africa (God Bless Africa). As proceedings kick of these next two days in Johannesburg, delegates gathered at the Forum, grappling with all that still needs to be done in the next 500 days for women’s and children’s health, will take all the help can they get.
In a plenary hall packed to the rafters, video messages from former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General helped set the tone for the deliberations set to take place. The importance of partnerships was echoed by both and will be the common thread linking the major themes of the forum. Mrs Clinton remarked as she spoke of progress on women’s and children’s health that “we cannot rest until these problems are solved and we cannot solve these problems alone”. The Secretary General went further to stress that “success beyond 2015 depends on us working together and forging partnerships”.
Mrs Graça Machel, PMNCH Chair and African Ambassador for A Promised Renewed, was emphatic in her address as she opened the Partner’s Forum saying “we come with a united message that the needless deaths of women, newborns and children must stop“. She spoke of the importance of using this moment to draw on the lessons learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals to date and in looking forward to the next 500 days ahead. She remarked that contributions from unique partnerships such as PMNCH as well as individual contribution and accountability are vital and urged participants to create a social pact to save every single life possible in every single country. “We must do more and we must do better”, she said, “we must push and push then push some more, we have 500 days, every day accounts, every action counts and every life counts”.
Mrs Machel introduced two new key reports which will be launched at the Forum today: The Countdown to 2015: 2014 Report; and The Every Newborn Action Plan, a landmark report on ending preventable newborn deaths. Participants also heard remarks from Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy Vice President, South Africa who joined Mrs Machel in reflecting on former President Nelson Mandela’s legacy and dedication to improving the lives of women and children. Mr Ramaphosa highlighted the work that still needs to be done to save lives telling participants, “Our efforts have meaning only if those who are born today can enjoy them”.