November 2007

Partners meet to plan MNCH work in Asia and the Pacific

The Coogee Beach consultative Group meets in Thailand

A meeting was held by partners involved in maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) region of Asia and the Pacific. The group, the Coogee Beach Consultative Group (CBG), has met twice in the region, with its first meeting taking place at Coogee Beach, Australia in April 2007.

The objectives of this meeting included developing an operational strategy for improving MNCH in Asia and the Pacific as well as defining the objectives, modus operandi and future of the CGB.

The following topics were discussed:

  • The review of global changes on the international, regional and country level since April 2007;
  • The review of global initiatives and examination of opportunities for leveraging and manipulating resources to accelerate movement in the region towards MNCH progress on commitments made since the last meeting;
  • A review of progress on commitments from the previous meeting ; The definition of the unique role and function of the CBG.

The Partnership is to hire an international consultant to serve as Coordinator for MNCH in Asia, to be based at the UNICEF regional office in Bangkok. In the interim, WHO/MPS will provide temporary coordinator to bridge the gap. A detailed discussion took place on the funding and Terms of Reference for the consultant to work to develop an operational strategy to improve MNCH in Asia and the Pacific that will include:

  • Outlining the operational strategy for MNCH in the region
  • The programmatic and organizational content and structure;
  • The human financial resource needs and potential sources
  • The relationship to partners from within and outside the Coogee Beach Group, including SAARC and ASEAN.

The CBG also decided to develop an "Investment case for MNCH" in the region, targeting Asian Development Bank stakeholders, donor partners and Ministries of Finance, which would include country typologies, the economic/poverty argument, a look at equity and political security of the region as well as public-private partnership.

The following focus countries were identified: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.

The future of the CBG was CBG was also discussed. It was decided to hold a follow-up meeting in the first half of 2008.

*Organizations attending the CBG meeting November 2007 included: Asia Development Bank; Australian AID; Canadian International Development Agency; Gates Foundation; Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; United National Population fund; UNICEF, the World Health Organization.