World Parliamentarians pledge action on women and girls rights
World Parliamentarians have pledged to mobilize support for legislative actions to ensure the health, dignity and rights of women and girls through access to reproductive and sexual health in the shortest possible time.
“We are convinced that implementing the commitment made by our governments in the major United Nations conferences and summits, will end the preventable high maternal deaths and disability that constitute the greatest moral, human rights and development challenge of our time”.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the Parliamentarians Forum during the close of a three-day world conference on “Women Deliver 2010,” which highlighted the achievements in reducing maternal mortality, breakthroughs in reproductive technology, the role of women’s health in development and the remaining obstacles to improving maternal health around the world.
The conference was attended by over 3,000 participants including national health ministers, first ladies, parliamentarians, midwives, the youth, maternal health advocates and celebrities from over 140 countries.
The parliamentarians expressed their determination by creating laws and policies with and for women and girls, giving them their fair share of funding, budget and oversight responsibilities, advocate for a women’s and girls’ agenda everywhere to advance MDG “5”, locally, nationally, regionally and globally as well as speaking out on women and girls to create awareness and knowledge building.
The MPs explained that health solutions for girls and women must be complemented by a conducive political will and legislative environment for long term results and effectiveness.
They, therefore, expressed their commitment in demanding that key issues of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights were made regular agenda items during relevant bilateral, multilateral and international meetings.
The MPs also committed themselves to generating an institutional memory by mapping legislations that governments have adhered to women and girls health and ensure their implementation, work actively towards enforcing national laws and de facto implement policies to accelerate women and girls economic, social and political rights and reduce gender inequality and gender-based violence.
They expressed concern about the funding and budget allocated to address the health needs of women and girls and called for additional 12 billion dollars a year to be invested in women and girls.
They also pledged to work in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and other key stakeholders to meet the 24 billion dollars needed to provide access to family planning and maternal and newborn care to all women in developing countries.
The communiqué called for active work in the establishment of a global funding mechanism for family planning, mothers saying “such a global funding mechanism would reduce maternal mortality by 70 per cent, avert 44 per cent of new born deaths, reduce unsafe abortions by over 70 per cent and further contribute to curb the AIDS and malaria pandemics, which has placed women and girls at greater risk.
“With the up-coming G-8 and G-20 parliamentarians’ conference and the summit of leaders of industrialized nations, the MPs will take the opportunity to review the MDGs.
“Now is the time to amplify our voices to broaden the dialogue on maternal and reproductive health in the global arena and to demonstrate concrete action to achieve MDG “5”, the communiqué added.
It called for parliamentarian’s participation and inclusion in political priority setting on women and girls health at local, national, regional and global levels by establishing a clear monitoring mechanism for each MDG with a clear timeline and format.
The communiqué also called on health ministers to establish realistic and verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual MDG targets with a special emphasis on MDG “5”, which will be presented during the UN High Level Meeting to be held in September 2010.
It said MPs would therefore take a leading role in communicating the societal, economic, political and cultural benefits of investing in women and girls to parliamentary colleagues, governments and other key decision-makers and private investors.
The world parliamentarians, the communiqué said, called on governments to act upon endorsed consensus on maternal, newborn and child health.