Improving governance and investment frameworks for women’s and children’s health

19-20 NOVEMBER 2012 | GENEVA

WHO meeting: Taking stock of progress and developing strategy for 2013, Geneva 19-20.11.2012

Representatives from national governments, the UN, civil society and the private sector gathered in Geneva to discuss how to accelerate accountability and harmonization of efforts in support of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (CoIA).

The overall objectives of the meeting were:

  • To critically review progress in the implementation of the Global Strategy and the 10 recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability.
  • To provide strategic direction on implementing the iERG recommendations.
  • To explore synergies in the implementation of the different initiatives under the Global Strategy.

Welcomed by Bob Orr, Under Secretary General of the UN, the participants heard how the Global Strategy has started to make a difference in countries. He also emphasized how, in view of the various streams of work which push efforts in neglected areas, “…in 2013 we need to weave together diverse areas or work, which are the common strength of the Every Woman Every Child movement”.

CIDA President Margaret Biggs and WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo led the discussion which provided an opportunity to review progress in relation to each of the 10 CoIA recommendations, and to discuss how to take forward the six recommendations provided in the first annual report of the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (iERG).

The top recommendation of the iERG report – strengthening the global governance framework for women’s and children’s health – was discussed extensively in relation to the launch of several new initiatives in 2012 in support of the Global Strategy, including the launch of the Born Too Soon Report focused on prematurity the endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, the Child Survival call to and the London Family Planning Summit. In September, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities presented its report with specific recommendations to increase access to 13 overlooked life-saving medicines and health supplies for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Participants applauded the energy that each of these initiatives has brought, but also shared the iERG’s concern that, “unregulated energy can lead to chaos”.

Participants agreed that senior principals of these initiatives need to discuss practical approaches to improving governance and harmonization, linked to the development of a joint investment framework and national and global reporting mechanisms.

During an open dialogue with the iERG, the challenges and opportunities of the current accountability mechanisms were discussed. The group suggested various ways to overcome the risks that the self-reporting poses. There iERG was asked to guide the convergence and alignment of accountability processes of the recent initiatives under Every Woman Every Child.

Participants also observed the need for greater emphasis on the integration of international human rights frameworks and legislative action with these national accountability processes, as well as stronger attention and support for community accountability efforts and adolescent health. The term “conversational accountability” was coined to ensure greater recognition of the value that community monitoring can bring.

Among the key outcomes and next steps :

  • WHO will convene senior principals of the various initiatives to discuss practical approaches to improving governance and harmonization, linked to the development of a joint investment framework, financing and national and global reporting mechanisms.
  • The iERG will play a key oversight role of the overall implementation, including the initiatives under the Global Strategy.
  • Building on previous work, a global investment framework for women’s and children’s health will be developed.
  • Country strategy priorities will continue to drive the efforts, and integration of RMNCH in national health and development plans will be supported.
  • Partnerships with Parliamentarians and the media will be strengthened.
  • Light models of self-reported data verification will be encouraged to enhanced the transparency of the accountability process.
  • Efforts will be made to disseminate and communicate with HR Treaty bodies. The HR Council in March 2013 will be used to make this link between accountability for women and children the existing HR frameworks.

The presentation linked on your right covers in more detail the summary of the outcomes.

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