September 30, 2014

Women Deliver’s UNGA Recap

Last week, we gathered together at strategy sessions, coffee shops, UN Assembly halls, high-level receptions and meetings to amp up the volume regarding development and the future of development for girls and women. From exciting announcements to campaigns and calls to action, there is a growing momentum for ensuring that the health, rights and well-being of girls and women are prioritized within the post-2015 framework and beyond. Women Deliver was on hand all week, participated in more than 50 events, and shared the message loud and clear that when we invest in girls and women, everybody wins!

Social Good Summit
Women Deliver took part in the Social Good Summit on Sunday and Monday, which featured conversations in 42 languages from 150 countries, and amplified the voice of young people and the future of new media technologies. Many shared stories about how new media technologies like mobile phones are changing lives in the developing world. Through the use of technologies like short message service (SMS), mobile phones, text messaging and social media, young people are accessing information like sexual and reproductive health education and services in ways never that were never before possible.

#MDG456 Live
On Sunday, Women Deliver and partners Girls GlobeFHI 360 and Johnson & Johnson, all in support of Every Woman Every Child, held  a high-level launch event of the #MDG456 Live campaign. Through a website hub and Daily Delivery emails, the #MDG456Live team worked tirelessly all week to curate content, via blogs, reports, tweets, and multimedia platforms, on women and children, the Millennium Development Goals, and the post-2015 development framework. Overall, the #MDG456Live hashtag reached over 10 million people through nearly 15,000 tweets from 3,600 contributors.

Girls and Women Strategy Session at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
The very first session at the The Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting had women and girls at the heart. The hundreds of participating corporate, public and  NGO leaders discussed why focusing on girls and women is a good investment, and what it would take to make public-private collaboration more beneficial for all. Women Deliver’s Board Member, Saundra Pelletier, CEO of Evofem and WomanCare Global, called for NGOs to speak the “language of business”. And Women Deliver’s CEO Katja Iversen received a good round of applause when she said,  “Women deliver –and not only babies”. Hillary Clinton closed the session by encouraging all to “…do what works for girls and women. Let’s learn from each other.”

Nothing About Us Without Us
On Monday, Women Deliver hosted “Nothing About Us Without Us: Youth Driving Progress for Girls and Women”. The event featured remarks by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Minister of Trade and Development Cooperation; Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver; Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver; and Women Deliver Young Leaders from around the world sharing their needs and perspectives for the future.

AmplifyChange Announced
Also on Monday, the Danish government, the Dutch government, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched a new fund that will help grassroots organizations working to change policies that improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of girls, women, and other marginalized individuals. AmplifyChange – initially a two-year, $19.4million fund – aims to secure universal recognition of SRHR as a human right, enabling women, men and young people to realize their full potential.

UN General Assembly Special Session on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014
On Tuesday, government and civil society representatives gathered to discuss progress and achievements made towards the goals outlined in the ICPD Programme of Action twenty years earlier. Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland and a Women Deliver 2013 Conference speaker, made a bold call for investments in the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and women. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)’s Director General, Tewodros Melesse, addressed the General Assembly on behalf of civil society, calling for greater progress in expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services and eliminating child marriage. Read country statements here.

Is Youth Leadership the Key to Unlocking Improved Health for Mothers and Babies? Voices of Innovation for MDG 4 & 5
That afternoon, Women Deliver, Johnson & Johnson and Global Health Corps co-hosted “Is Youth Leadership the Key to Unlocking Improved Health for Mothers and Babies? Voices of Innovation for MDG 4 & 5”. At the event, Women Deliver Young Leaders Nargis Shirazi, SM Shaikat, Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, and Maureen Odour inspired and energized the crowd through poetry and shared personal experiences about working to drive change in their communities for better health outcomes for girls and women.

Exciting Announcements and More
Many exciting announcements took place throughout the week. On Tuesday, UNICEF launched “RapidPro”, a platform for helping governments deliver quick, real-time information and connect citizens to life-saving information. Also on Tuesday, UNAIDS launched “Zero Mothers Die”, a new global campaign contributing to the Every Woman Every Child initiative which aims to reduce maternal and child mortality.

A Toast for Universal Health Coverage
On Wednesday evening, Jill Sheffield and Katja Iversen joined Management Sciences for Health’s event, “A Toast for Universal Health Coverage”. The event featured speakers and performers including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Agnes Binagwaho. Together, Jill and Katja gave the ingredients for the world’s most powerful cocktail: investments, girls, women, sexual and reproductive health and rights, equality, education, and economic empowerment. Watch their speech here.

Partnering for Results: Delivering for Every Woman & Every Child Within A Generation High Level Event
On Thursday, Women Deliver Young Leader Nargis Shirazi spoke powerfully and asked the world leaders to listen and learn from young people at this high-level event hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. At the event, World Bank Group and the Governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States of America announced up to $4 billion in financing support towards MDG acceleration and to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health through the creation of a Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.

Friday marked the 8th annual World Contraception Day, held each year on September 26, to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.

Women Deliver led a tweetchat along with partners including USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and Advancing Partners & Communities Projects,Population Services International (PSI), The Population InstituteInternational Planned Parenthood Federation/ Western Hemisphere RegionPopulation Council, the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival ProgramMarie Stopes InternationalSHOPS projectJhpiego, DSW (Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung), USAID for Global Health, and United Nations Foundation/Universal Access Project. Contributors from around the world discussed contraceptive security and access, technology and innovation, youth participation, and the post-2015 framework and beyond. In total, the chat had 1,832 tweets and 11.3 million impressions from 503 contributors. View the Storify here.

Global Citizens Festival
On Saturday, an estimated 60,000 people gathered in Central Park for performances by artists including Jay-Z, No Doubt, Fun. and Carrie Underwood. Now in its third year, the Festival was organized by the Global Poverty Project, an organization campaigning for increased support for health, education, women’s equality and global partnerships. At the Festival, Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen told the cheering crowd the exciting news about the AmplifyChange Fund and how proud he is that the Women Deliver 2016 conference will be held in Copenhagen.

Overall, it was an inspiring and impactful week for global advocates of girls and women. You can read all of our UNGA blogs here, and check out the #MDG456Live content here. None of our efforts above would have been possible without our terrific partners. Thank you to all, and we look forward to seeing you at our fourth global conference in Copenhagen in May 2016!