Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

Fourth stakeholder meeting: accountability for women’s and children’s health – now and in the post-2015 agenda

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Canada co-chaired the fourth meeting of accountability stakeholders where about 80 key multi-sectoral partners came together to provide strategic direction on progress towards the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2010. The meeting provided the opportunity to review progress towards the Commission on Information and Accountability (CoIA) recommendations and review the iERG 2013 recommendations. Representatives included implementing countries, donors, civil society and the UN.

The meeting was organized around four key objectives:

  • To review progress, gaps and lessons in the implementation of the accountability framework for Women’s and Children’s Health and identify concrete steps to address the gaps and adapt to the lessons learned.
  • To review and prioritize iERG recommendations for integration into the 2014-2015 workplans and discuss how to close the funding gap in the accountability multi-stakeholder workplan to implement recommendations.
  • To discuss implications of global monitoring demands for countries and what is being done to streamline and strengthen country systems. Joint session with IHP+ and Accountability.
  • To clarify how the RMNCH mechanism brings together the various initiatives under the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and Every Woman Every Child, including the country accountability frameworks.

The opening session main messages came from Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General; Dr Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization; and Diane Jacovella, Assistant Deputy Minister, Global Issues and Development, Canada.

Countries presented progress towards achieving the Commission on Information and Accountability recommendations with representatives from Cambodia Ministry of Health, Nepal, Tanzania and White Ribbon in Nigeria providing examples of success in different areas.

Participants were invited to join various working groups to look at how to advance the accountability agenda, by setting specific priorities and lead groups to advance each of the six recommendations made by the iERG in their 2013 report.

Day two of the meeting began with a joint session with the IHP+, whose first steering committee meeting convened in Geneva on the same date. In a panel session with representatives from countries, civil society, the RMNCH country engagement process and others, ideas of how country platforms such as the IHP+ can be used to effectively advance the goals of the Global Strategy and the accountability process was placed center stage.

Conclusions and Outcomes

Diane Jacovella, Liz Mason and Marleen Temmerman led the closing session where a consolidated summary of the group work was presented and agreed. There was overall consensus from the meeting on the following points:

  • Focus should be kept on the original 10 Commission recommendations, with the work on the iERG recommendations to support the implementation of the 10 original CoIA recommendations.
  • Work is immediately needed across all areas highlighted by the six iERG recommendations, and there was consensus on which partner should take a lead role.
  • There is a sense of urgency to invest in better information systems and continuation of the work on civil registration and vital statistics.
  • Harmonization among global partners remains a critically important issue that needs to be addressed. IHP+ and the RMNCH mechanisms are important platforms for this.
  • There remains an immediate funding gap of USD 4.8 million for the implementation of the accountability work for 2014, including for several countries which require funding to implement their accountability frameworks.
  • The donors contributing to the accountability work (Canada, Norway, UK and Germany) as well as the UN Secretary-General’s office committed to fundraising for the accountability work.