September 16, 2016

The 2030 Agenda: Working together to achieve women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being

Written by Nana Kuo, Senior Manager, Every Woman Every Child Health Team

Group of children in Afghanistan

Photo courtesy of Every Woman, Every Child

In September 2015, seeking to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, the UN General Assembly agreed on a new set of global goals aimed at ending extreme poverty, ensuring health and wellbeing, reducing inequalities, tackling climate change, and more.

This plan for people and planet is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents is central to its achievement. Healthy, educated and empowered women, children and adolescents can bring about the change needed to create a more sustainable and peaceful future.

By 2030 we want to see a world where every pregnancy is healthy and wanted, where every birth is safe, children survive beyond their 5th birthday, and women, children and adolescents are empowered to thrive and realize their full potential. For the first time in history, this vision is within reach, but we still have a lot of work to do. Millions of women, children and adolescents still don’t have access to the life-saving information, services and supplies they need.

The Every Woman Every Child movement has already saved the lives of millions of women and children and supported them to achieve their full potential – and with the roadmap set forth under the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030), these new goals are within reach.

Delivering on its promises, however, will require ambitious commitments from governments, businesses, academia, civil society and all sectors of society.  We need sustainable financing, strong accountability and country implementation, since there is no development that can be detached from national priorities and not based on transparency. It is our duty to be faithful to our pledges and encourage countries to do so as well.

We must look at unfinished development business and scale up interventions to ensure the survival of women, children and adolescents in all settings. But we must also go beyond survival to ensure better health and wellbeing, and work with other sectors that have an impact on health, from nutrition and WASH to education, in coordination and in partnership.

By the same token, humanitarian actors must prioritize women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and ensure stronger integration in relief efforts. Humanitarian and fragile settings are now found in almost every community and country. We must bridge the gap between humanitarian and development efforts, with the same view to integrating sectors and interventions.

Working together – with women, children and adolescents at the center of our efforts – we can be agents of change and achieve this vision. We can and must be the first generation to end extreme poverty and we are the last generation that can save the planet. The 2030 Agenda and the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health that supports its implementation offer the tools to achieve change for everyone, everywhere—with no one left behind.