Women Deliver + Countdown Conferences open with promises for women + children


Gates press conference 7 June 2010: UN Secretary General + Ms Melinda Gates
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon + Melinda Gates, 7 June 2010. Photo: Sam Hurd

7 June 2010 | Washington DC - The United Nations Secretary–General Ban Ki-moon and Foundation head Melinda Gates were part of the high-level speakers who helped open the Women Deliver and Countdown Conferences in Washington with commitments to women’s and children’s health. Mr Ban urged all delegates to ‘Invest in the health of women: it pays.’ Mrs Gates pledged $1.5 billion over five years to support maternal and child health.

The UN Secretary-General and Mrs Gates were speaking at some of the Women Deliver Conference opening sessions, which included other speakers of note, including:

  • former President of Chile, and Women Deliver co-chair, Michelle Bachelet
  • Dr Fred Sai, an internationally re-known Ghanaian physician and advocate
  • Thoraya Abaid, Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Gamal Serour, President of FIGO
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, World Bank

Three Countdown to 2015 sessions took place on the first day of the Conference Countdown to 2015 at Women Deliver, which also released the new 2010 Countdown to 2015 Decade Report. The three sessions included:

  • Human resources for maternal, newborn and child health
  • Equity in Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health
  • Community approaches for increasing coverage of child health interventions: Malawi
Ban Ki-moon: Joint Action Plan (JAP)

Secretary-General Ban spoke of the importance of saving women and children lives and achieving MDGs 4 and 5. He spoke about the Plan and its accountability framework, pointing to the need for all constituencies to adopt the JAP, to ensure that everyone is aligned in their efforts and that progress is made. Holding a copy of the Draft JAP in his hand, Mr Ban urged all to go the Consultation later that day.

Gates Foundation commits $1.5B

At the conference Monday, philanthropist Melinda Gates announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will spend $1.5 billion over five years to support maternal and child health projects such as family planning, nutrition and health care for pregnant women, newborns and children in India, Ethiopia and other countries.

"Policymakers in both rich and poor countries have treated women and children, quite frankly, as if they matter less than men," Gates said. "They have squandered opportunities to improve the health of women and babies."

Below, find related links and texts of speeches, as they become available.