2014 Partners' Forum
30 JUNE - 1 JULY | Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
Plenary 3: Equity – leave no one behind
On the day two of the Partners’ Forum, a plenary session on equity brought together a diverse group of participants from government, UN agencies and civil society. Panelists noted that current efforts to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 have not systematically integrated an equity focus, leaving the most vulnerable and the poorest behind. During the session, panelists called on the Post 2015 development agenda to integrate equity considerations across all sectors.
Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA noted that the notions of equity and inclusivity must be anchored in human rights. Ms. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister for Social Development of South Africa, highlighted the need to put a human face to equity issues and human rights, noting that “some interventions do not need additional resources, but rather people changing their attitudes”. She called on the audience to ‘ask and listen’ to marginalized populations, including rural women, woman with disabilities, and women in conflict. ‘Ask them what they need’ she said, and pressed for cross sectoral collaboration in order to respond to the multifaceted needs of these populations.
In a similar intervention, Dr. C K Mishra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, highlighting India’s efforts to improve equity noted that "it is very important to anchor all of our programs in the community". Dr. Cesar Victora, University of Pelotas, Brazil provided examples of basic requirements to improve equity in the health sector. He pointed to the need for robust data, and stressed that "program implementation without data collection is like trying to treat a patient without a diagnosis”. He also noted that “Delivering interventions where they are most needed, not where it’s easiest, is essential, ” as he pointed to examples in Peru where vaccine delivery was first rolled out in the poorest areas. He also highlighted the need to use innovative solutions to overcome resource shortages, including the need for taskshifting when doctors are not available or the use of mobile devices.
Mr Manuel Fontaine, Regional Director, UNICEF West and Central Africa, also noted the importance of investing in information systems, saying, "you can never get inequities documented and acted on unless you have frequent surveys, strong info systems." He also stressed the need to invest in adolescents as a critical population – noting that adolescents also need to be involved in this planning because of their knowledge of their own needs. “If we plan for adolescents without including them, it would be against them”. HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan spoke of the importance in investing in women and children in conflict situations remarking that “we've lost our moral outrage that a hospital gets bombed, mothers & children are targeted.”
The panel was moderated by Bridget Okeke Chukwdera, Senior Programme Manager for Concern International Development Initiative and a youth from Nigeria and Professor Babatunde Osotimehin.