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CSW: Good News for Women’s Rights

Women Deliver welcomes the strong outcome of the 2014 UN Commission on the Status of Women, where a big battle was fought to prioritize gender equality and view women’s rights as human rights in the next development agenda.

After two weeks of tough negotiations between delegates, advocates praised the strong language around sexual and reproductive health in the outcome document. With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire at the end of next year, the Commission recognized that although the MDGs have advanced progress in some areas, the goals that focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, particularly surrounding maternal and sexual and reproductive health, have made the least the progress. Read more...

Gender-based violence and HIV: addressing twin epidemics

By Hajjarah Nagadya

Hajjarah Nagadya is a young woman living with HIV and a mother of one. She is a member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV in Eastern Africa, as well as the UNAIDS Dialogue Platform for Women Living with HIV.

Governments, NGOs and activists are currently gathered in New York for the 58th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which I am attending as a representative of the Link Up project. As a young woman living with HIV, I want to make sure that the issues that really affect women living with HIV are addressed. Gender based violence (GBV) is a key driver of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, where approximately 61% of people living with HIV are women. Women have become the face of HIV in the region, and GBV is a major factor fuelling this. Violence of all forms, particularly affecting vulnerable groups most at risk of the HIV epidemic  including young women, sex workers, and transgender women, must be addressed. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Greater Investments in Girls and Women

As world leaders congregate in New York for the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, policymakers, advocates, and experts convened a high-level event to focus on the need for greater global investment in reproductive health, education, and equality for girls and women.

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark delivered opening remarks at the event, “Invest in Girls and Women: Everybody Wins,” co-hosted by Women Deliver, The Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN, Plan International, the Nike Foundation, and the UN Foundation. The event was in support of Every Woman Every Child, an initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that aims to drastically improve the health of women and children around the world. Read more...

Raise Your Voice for Newborn Health

Worldwide, 2.9 million babies die within their first month, largely from preventable causes. A new report released by Save the Children, "Ending Newborn Deaths", shows that the the first 24 hours of a child's life are the most critical, with more than one million babies dying each year on their first day. Yet half of these deaths could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free, quality health care. A group of partners, led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, are working to turn the trend of newborn deaths around and have developed a strategy with goals and targets around ending newborn deaths titled Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths.

In order to make the plan as effective as possible, experts and advocates are asked to submit comments before Friday, February 28th at this link.The draft action plan highlights the tremendous progress made to improve child and newborn health, and affirms newborn health as a human right as recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read more...

Leaders’ Support Key to Success of Breastfeeding Advocacy

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

This week, the Impatient Optimists blog, and a subsequent Facebook post by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, spotlighted the politics of breastfeeding promotion. For leaders who haven’t joined the cause to promote breast feeding, now is the time. It is estimated that over 800,000 child deaths in the developing world could be prevented if mothers are encouraged and supported with breastfeeding. These deaths can be avoided if we unite to support mothers in giving their children better lives from breastfeedingRead more...

Girls: The World’s Greatest Return on Investment

By Dr. Denise Dunning; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

My mom is from Argentina, and we often spent Christmas holidays there while I was growing up. When I was 12, I was riding on a train with my parents to spend Christmas Eve with family friends living outside of Buenos Aires. The mood on the train was festive – everyone was dressed up and many carried holiday gifts. At a station about 20 minutes outside the city, I saw a teenage girl board the far end of the train. The girl, only a couple years older than me, was carrying a baby and dragging a toddler along behind her. They were ragged and very poor – their faces were streaked with dirt and their clothes were torn. Read more...

Groundbreaking Report on ICPD by UN Secretary-General

In addition to the release of the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also authored a timely and progressive report assessing progress made under the ICPD Programme of Action. In the report, Framework of Actions for the follow up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014, the Secretary-General notes that the ICPD review:

…overwhelmingly supports the ICPD consensus that respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights are necessary preconditions to improving the development, dignity and well-being of all people; and that sexual and reproductive health and rights, and an understanding of the implications of population dynamics are critical foundations for sustainable development. Read more...

Today is a Significant Day in Mali

By: Molly Melching; Originally posted on Thomson Reuters Foundation

Today, on the UN-recognized International Day promoting the abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC), these 14 neighborhoods have decided that they will no longer support the practices of female genital cutting and child/forced marriage. This public declaration marks a major change in community norms.  It will be a reference point people will use for generations to come marking the moment when they, as a collective group, agreed to protect the health and human rights of their daughters. Government ministers, traditional and religious leaders, hundreds of people from Yirimadio neighborhoods, project donors, Tostan International staff and Tostan’s implementing NGO partner, Muso, have all gathered at the Yirimadio community stadium to witness this celebratory event. Read more...

Accelerating Development Agenda Top Priority for ECOSOC

Originally posted by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

With the United Nations development agenda in transition – moving from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era towards a focus not just on poverty eradication but also on the health of the planet – the newly-elected President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) pledged to continue to strengthen that body’s role as a platform for unified dialogue on sustainable and inclusive development. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: The Universal Periodic Review as an Inroad to Progress

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

In Kyrgyzstan, civil society groups such as Labrys Kyrgyzstan have been struggling for years to convince the government to expand women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, to develop sexuality educations programs, and to effectively prosecute violence against women and LGBT individuals. In the face of strong gender norms and a legislative system reluctant to respond to domestic violence, the path to progress has been long and fraught with obstacles.

In 2010, Labrys Kyrgyzstan and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) partnered to submit a report to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As a result, the government of Kyrgyzstan accepted recommendations from the Czech Republic and Uruguay to review and reform legislative actions around gender-based violence and hate crimes, and invited Labrys to hold a training for government officials. Read more...

Post-2015 Development Framework: What’s In It For Young People?

By: Lindsay Menard-Freeman, Women Deliver, and Julie A. Cornell, Johnson & Johnson

On Thursday, September 26th a group of young activists from around the world gathered at the UN Church Center to discuss ways in which young people can contribute meaningfully to the post-2015 development framework, particularly related to HIV and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Each speaker underscored the importance of ensuring that young people have a seat at the table where global development decisions are made and a stake in the post-2015 development agenda.

Dr. Luiz Loures, Deputy Director of UNAIDS, opened the session by reminding the audience of a stark statistic: There are 1.8 billion young people around the world and 3 billion people under the age of 30. The majority of policy makers deciding the post-2015 framework will be far advanced in age, or indeed no long around, by the time most of these young people have matured into adulthood.

So where are the young people in this discussion about the future of development? Read more...

The Everyday Heroes

By: Pamela Barnes; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Did you know that today is World Contraception Day? Many articles in your newsfeed today will likely call attention to the fact that despite ongoing advances in global reproductive health, there are still 220 million women around the world who want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but who lack access to modern contraception. World Contraception Day shines light on the urgent need for family planning and how best to get it into the hands of the women who need it most. A crucial but often forgotten link is the health care provider. When I think about World Contraception Day, I'm reminded that at some point in our lives, all of us need access to reproductive health information. Who gave you the information you wanted and needed? I would like to introduce to you to Nurse Peace Ametsitsi, an everyday hero whom I met while I was in Ghana. Peace helps women at the Koforidua Polyclinic in Eastern Ghana -- up to 50 a day -- find peace of mind in their lives. This post is dedicated to Peace, and to all health care providers whose guidance puts us on a healthy path. Read more...

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa appointed as new UN Women Executive Director

New York (10 July)—UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa as the new Executive Director of UN Women, the organization leading the UN’s work on advancing gender equality and women’s rights. Read more...

Help Malala’s Birthday Wish Come True: Support Her Fight for Education

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

On their 16th birthday, many girls around the world hope for new clothes or a cell phone. Tomorrow, when Malala Yousafzai celebrates her 16th birthday, her wish will not be small or simple, but it will have the potential to change the world. She will speak at the United Nations in support of the 57 million boys and girls who do not yet have access to education, asking that the global Education Emergency be put to an end. Read more...

A Revolution from the Ground Up

By: Deborah Espinosa, Landesa; Originally posted on Landesa Field Focus Blog
 
Women in Ol Pusimoru, Kenya have much to celebrate today – but it hasn’t been an easy journey.
 
Back in 2010, Kenya adopted a revolutionary new constitution that offered women unprecedented protections and freedoms – including equal rights to land and family resources. Read more...

UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel Report is a Bold and Inspired Step Toward A Better World

United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin issued the following statement today on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel’s report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

“The United Nations Foundation welcomes the report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda – a particularly significant and bold contribution to the development of a new framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Read more...

Global Leaders Call for Accelerated Progress on Family Planning at Women Deliver 2013

Melinda Gates, Babatunde Osotimehin and others highlight progress in expanding contraceptive access

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 29 May 2013 – On the second day of Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference on girls and women of the decade, global leaders announced progress and new commitments toward expanding contraceptive access for women in developing countries. They also outlined plans for sustaining this momentum in the years to come. Read more...

Girls’ & Women’s Health and Rights in Focus at Women Deliver 2013 in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian Prime Minister Honourable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak and other global luminaries
open largest conference on girls and women of the decade

World Bank and Guttmacher Institute release new data on the value of investing in girls and women

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28 May 2013 — Today, more than 4,000 global leaders and advocates from nearly 150 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Women Deliver 2013, the largest conference of the decade focused on the health and wellbeing of girls and women. The opening sessions of this three-day event highlighted the critical need to invest in girls and women to spur development worldwide.

Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak delivered welcoming remarks and discussed Malaysia’s efforts to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women as a critical component of the nation’s development and economic growth. The Prime Minister highlighted Malaysia’s success in reducing maternal mortality, and offered to share lessons learned with countries working to improve maternal health. Read more...

Fistula’s Youngest Victims

By: Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director (Programme) of United Nations Population Fund; Originally posted on Huffington Post

In my role at the United Nations Population Fund, I have the privilege to travel to urban, rural and remote locations to see the range of efforts being made so that every woman might give birth safely and in dignity, supported by midwives or other skilled attendants. But in many countries, a safe labor and delivery for mother and child is still a lottery -- a roll of the dice. When services are not available, when skilled birth attendants are not in reach, when information is not provided or distance or poverty or discrimination or isolation means a pregnant woman is without access to support, the consequences can be grave, indeed. Read more...

Strengthening Midwifery Care: Improving Quality, Addressing Challenges

Six international organizations, as well as multilateral, civil society and private sector partners are hosting the Second Global Midwifery Symposium in Kuala Lumpur on 26-27 May. The event focuses on strengthening quality, life-saving midwifery care. If all women delivered with a competent, well equipped midwife, two thirds of maternal and newborn deaths could be averted and roughly 3.6 million lives saved by 2015. Read more...

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