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Why Women’s Needs Must be Part of the Conversation at Rio

By: Suzanne Ehlers and Michael Brune; Originally posted on GristBy: Suzanne Ehlers and Michael Brune; Originally posted on Grist

The outcome document for this week’s Rio+20 summit is 49 pages long. Some 23,917 words.

Women were mentioned in less than 0.01 percent of the text. And only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning.

At first, this might not seem like a big deal. It’s easy to think of Rio as a purely environmental conference, dealing with issues related to sustainable development and a green economy. It’s easy to say that Rio is not about “women’s issues.” Read more...

Including Non-Communicable Diseases in the Rio+20 Dialogue on Sustainable Futures

By: Nalini Saligram and Felicia Marie Knaul; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The upcoming Rio+20 Conference (June 20-22, 2012) is a pivotal moment for leaders across the world to come together to find solutions to many of the issues that plague the planet. The conference will focus on important issues core to sustainability, including decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans, and disaster readiness. Read more...

Women and Sustainability: Global Advocates Concerned by Language About Women and Reproductive Rights

By: Women Deliver and Worldwatch Institute

Women Deliver is collaborating with the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project  to highlight the important role of women, youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in sustainable development at the upcoming Rio+20 conference.

After days of negotiations, world leaders and the over 50,000 participants at Rio+20 will be presented with a draft outcome agreement, known as “The Future We Want.” The draft, which will be finalized on Friday, will be presented to heads of state at the end of the conference and will likely serve as the framework for future goals on economic, social, and environmental sustainability, including the Sustainable Development Goals, which could replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. Read more...

The Guardian Announces Journalism Competition Finalists

The Guardian newspaper has announced 16 finalists in the 2012 Guardian International Development Journalism Competition. The competition, which aims to highlight overlooked or underrepresented issues in the developing world, called on contestants to submit a feature piece on an aspect of global poverty deserving of greater attention. Of the hundreds of entries submitted, a long list was narrowed down to 40 contestants, and then short-lists of eight amateur and eight professional writers were finalized. Read more...

2012 Population Awards Presented in New York

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has presented the 2012 Population Award to both Adrienne Germain, and the Federation of Reproductive Health Association Malaysia (FRHAM). The award, which was established in 1981, is given to individuals and institutions that have made outstanding contributions to population concern and their solutions. Read more...

GBC Health Coalition Conference Features First Maternal Health Panel

The Global Business Coalition on Health held its conference “Define Forward: Business, Health and the Road Ahead” on May 14-15, bringing together more than 700 corporate executives, government leaders, policy makers, civil society visionaries and media champions to explore the intersection of business and health. GBCHealth featured its first panel on maternal health, entitled “Milestone Moments on the Path to Healthier Motherhood.” Read more...

Join Us at Women Deliver 2013 – Registration is Live!

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver

Last month, we received the good news that maternal mortality rates are on the decline – maternal deaths have fallen by nearly 50 percent over the past two decades. With this good news at our heels, we’re excited to announce the opening of registration for the Women Deliver 2013 conference – the largest global conference to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women of the last 10 years. Read more...

A Push for Women’s Rights at Rio+20

By: Jennifer James; orginally posted at Impatient Optimist

Next month world leaders will converge upon Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 20 – 22, for Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (commonly called the “Earth Summit”).  Women's groups are pushing to become a major part of the agenda as women continue to be marginalized when it comes to poverty eradication and sustainable development.

The vast majority of the world’s poor are women and children--even twenty years after the first sustainability conference in Rio. It’s one reason why the Women’s Major Group, which includes international sustainable development organizations, is calling for women to share their stories and make their voices heard to ensure women’s issues are not shuffled off the agenda. Read more...

Why Aren’t Women’s Issues on the Agenda at Rio+20?

By: Carmen Barroso, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region; Originally posted on Grist

In just two months, world leaders will gather in Rio to hammer out a new set of agreements on what sustainable development means, and more importantly, how both rich and developing nations can get there before it’s too late. Day by day, the buzz is building around this historic Earth Summit. But there’s a problem: The big plans being hatched for the occasion — nicknamed Rio+20 — leave women out. Read more...

UN Commissioners Aim to Adopt New Recommendations to Increase Access to Health Commodities

Affordable, life-saving medicines and health supplies with the potential to save millions of lives are not reaching the children and women who most need them. To help change this, members of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children will today review and finalize recommendations to help increase access, reduce costs, and increase demand for 13 products. Read more...

World Pulse Shares Voices of Women “Laboring for Change”

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

World Pulse, a non-profit global communications network, is sharing a powerful new series called Laboring for Change. As part of the series, they share five stories of five women from different countries who are calling for increased attention and equality in maternal health and reproductive rights. As World Pulse explains, in the United States, advocates for maternal health and reproductive rights have seen a huge wave of recent legislation prohibiting health services, comprehensive sexual education, access to contraception, and abortion. Read more...

Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers Report

This year’s thirteenth annual State of the World’s Mothers report features more than 60 countries and a foreword by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. Filled with ground-breaking research, this year’s report focuses on the importance of nutrition during the first 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday.

This year’s report also includes their annual Mother’s Index, ranking the best and worst countries in which to be a mother based on health and status indicators for women and children in 165 counties. Norway, as in 2011, ranks first; Niger, replacing Afghanistan in 2011, ranks last. The United States comes in at #25 among the 43 developed countries ranked. Eight of the 10 worst countries to be a mother are in sub-Saharan Africa. We must continue to work to ensure that moms everywhere can care for their kids. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Nike Foundation Funding for Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

The Nike Foundation continues its commitment to the Girl Effect and the health of girls and women by funding Tostan’s Community Empowerment Programs

Tostan is an international grassroots organization. The Community Empowerment Program is a community-based effort that makes use of the power of social networks to promote knowledge and skills sharing. The program was created with the intention of targeting the most vulnerable in the country: rural girls and women and embraces a holistic and participatory approach. Read more...

AWID Forum 2012: Intersecting Arts, Empowerment and Advocacy

By: Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

What do digital storytelling, gender budget analysis and social media outreach have in common?  They were each showcased at the recent AWID International Forum as powerful mechanisms to bring about real social change for girls and women around the world. Read more...

Healthy Mother, Healthy Newborn

by Shafia Rashid; Originally posted on The FCI Blog

HealthyMotherHealthyNewborn.jpgThere is ample evidence illustrating that the health of a woman and her newborn baby are intimately connected. We know that:

  • most maternal and newborn deaths are caused by the mother’s poor health before or during pregnancy or due to inadequate care in the critical hours, days, and weeks after birth
  • when a woman dies in childbirth, her newborn baby is less likely to survive

Recent research conducted by Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta and colleagues at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan confirms what we already know, and goes one step further: it identifies which maternal and newborn health interventions benefit both mother and newborn. These include: Read more...

TedxChange asks “How Have Contraceptives Changed Your Life?”

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

Today, TedxChange and Melinda Gates launched the No Controversy website, in the hopes that people around the world will share their stories, read about the experiences of others, and become educated on the importance of contraception and family planning. The launch, which is available on Livestream, comes three months ahead of the July 11 Family Planning Summit that will take place in London. The Summit, supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other partners, seeks to generate political commitment and greater resources to meet the family planning needs of women in some of the least wealthy countries by 2020. Read more...

International Organizations Convene for Rio+20 Discussions

By: Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

Last month, staff from Women Deliver met with high-level members of several international organizations focused on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and youth. The meeting was organized to discuss the lack of emphasis on gender, SRHR, and young people in the Zero Draft document for Rio+20, which takes place this June.

The Rio+20 summit, a UN conference on sustainability, will include seven priority areas: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. Despite the undisputed link between women’s health, reproductive rights, and family planning accessibility with these priorities, gender- and SRHR-related topics have not received as much attention as many believe it should have. Read more...

Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly Debates First Resolution on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

The 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly took place in Kampala, Uganda from March 31 to April 5. This meeting was the first time the IPU has debated a resolution on maternal, newborn and child health. The resolution was drafted in September by the governments of Canada, India, and Uganda, and is known as ‘Access to Health as a Basic Right: The Role of Parliaments in Addressing Key Challenges to Securing the Health of Women and Children.’ The IPU Assembly, which meets every year as a focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, drew over 600 members of parliament from more than 120 countries to Kampala, Uganda. Read more...

Youth as Changemakers: What the Past Dreamt, the Present Thought, and the Future Became

By: Yemurai Nyoni, Zimbabwe (President: Zimbabwe Young People's Network on SRH; Executive Committee Member: African Youth and Adolescents Network on Population and Development) to participants at the Africa Regional RMNCH Advocacy Strategy Implementation Meeting hosted by PMNCH and the Africa MNCH Coalition

Today we have the largest youth population in history. This demographic trend translates to the need for deliberate investment in the development of young people in the broader global development context, because our gains in this regard rely greatly on what we do and don't do for young people.

As a young person, I appreciate that efforts have been made by African governments to involve us in the development processes that affect us. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Merck Joins Partners in ‘Saving Mothers, Giving Life’

By Smita Gaith, Women Deliver

Merck for Mothers, an initiative of the pharmaceutical company Merck (known as MSD in some countries), will be joining forces with the United States Government, the Government of Norway, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Every Mother Counts campaign to target Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG 5) – to reduce maternal mortality.

According to the United Nations MDG Report 2011, most maternal deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In 2008, maternal mortality in these regions was as great as 640 per 100,000 and 280 per 100,000 live births, respectively. Read more...

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