United Nations General Assemby September 2012: RMNCH In focus


Brunch: PMNCH, Countdown, iERG

Brunch at UN Millenium Plaza Hotel
Photo credit: Adam Stoltman

WHAT: Brunch: “Keeping Promises, Measuring Results: How Are We Measuring Up?”
WHEN: 23 Septembre, 10:00 H - 12:30 H at the UN Millennium Plaza Hotel


  • 10:00 to 10:05 Welcome and Opening Comments, Event chair
  • 10:05 to 10:10 Introduction: Presenting the latest evidence on accountability, Prof. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Aga Khan University, Pakistan; co-chair of Countdown to 2015, board member of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health; and member of the independent Expert Review Group
  • 10:10 to 10:20 Building a Future for Women and Children: The 2012 Countdown Report, Prof. Cesar Victora, University of Pelotas, Brazil, and chair of the Equity Working Group of Countdown to 2015
  • 10:20 to 10:30 Case Study: Maternal & Child Health in Niger (Countdown to 2015), Introduction: Hon. Minister of Health, Niger; Presentation of case: Khaled Bensaid, UNICEF Niger (Translation by Agbessi Amouzou, Johns Hopkins University)
  • 10:30 to 10:40 New Analysis on ODA for MNCH: 2003-2010, Justine Hsu, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and member of the Finance Working Group of Countdown to 2015
  • 10:40 to 11:00 Discussion
  • 11:00 to 11:10 The PMNCH 2012 Report on Commitments to the Global Strategy, Dr Stefan Germann, World Vision International
  • 11:10 to 11:30 Discussion
  • 11:30 to 11:45 The 2012 report by the independent Expert Review Group, Dr. Richard Horton, iERG co-chair and editor of The Lancet
  • 11:45 to 12:15 Discussion
  • 12:15 to 12:20 Towards Greater Accountability: Where Do We Go From Here?, Mr. Kul Gautam, PMNCH 2012 report advisory committee member
  • 12:20 to 12:30 Closing remarks, Event Chair

Quotes from the brunch via WRA Youtube video

Dr Babtunde Osotimehin Executive Director UNFPA

“We have political leaders, especially in regards to maternal mortality reduction in Africa, making commitments, but it does not translate to what the Ministry of Health, or Youth or Gender is doing. We need to make it trickle down to inform programmes on the ground and ensure actual progress. That ensures that we must provide resources. And we must ensure tracking of resources.

“What we need to do is advocate for clear plans, advocate for resources, and we must track resources, implementation and we must make sure what we are evaluating what we are doing. “

Professor Zulfiqar Chair of Countdown

“ People don’t know what their rights are, what is the access issue for essential services. If that information is available, and if people know what is the true status of what their rights are, it gives you a true framework to negotiate with policy makers in many countries.

“Yes, coverage rates have been achieved in some countries, but largely for the rich, and the poor have remained where they are. So tracking those differences, those inequities, those in-just inequalities is absolutely critical in giving citizens a voice, communities the empowerment to negotiate that with politicians and policy makers.”

Dr Richard Horton from the Lancet and iERG Chair

“Everyone is seeing a contraction in the resources that are being spent on .women and children. Donor aid is going down in countries they are facing very perilous budgets. So we have to make sure that the money that is spent is being used in the best way possible. And that’s why accountability matters so much.

“It is not just about putting out a profits and loss account of what is being spent on women’s and children’s health. It is actually about .sing accountability to accelerate progress in a human rights framework, so that we really value the life of every woman and every child and we see that they have the best possible future. And advocacy is crucial to that.

“I think the worry that we have is that we see the money for advocacy going down too. We have very technical arguments, but we are not reaching the political leaders, the presidents and prime ministers. We need to reach the presidents to get real change, transformation in the countries. And that is about effective advocacy. “

White Ribbon Alliance Youtube Video

The White Ribbon Alliance Citizens' Voice team report from ''Keeping Promises, Measuring Results'' a key meeting held by the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health at the UN General Assembly in New York, where partners came together to discuss three key reports that look at progress on commitments to women and children.

WRA spoke to Dr Babtunde Osotimehin Executive Director, UNFPA, Professor Zulfiqar Chair of Countdown and Dr Richard Horton from the Lancet who gave reflections on why accountability is so important, and what the next steps should be to match up accountability efforts at the global level with what is happening nationally to continue to drive progress.