UNITED NATIONS: Despite some progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), millions of women across the world are losing their lives due to lack of reproductive health care, the UN chief for development said on Thursday.
“Some 800 women are still dying every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, with the poorest and the youngest women at greatest risk,” the UN Development Programme Administrator stated at a gathering in Kulamapur. Her statement highlighting the plight of women in poverty coincides with the release of report in New York prepared by a high-level UN official responsible for suggesting how the world’s next development agenda should be laid out.
The report, entitled “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development,” sets out a universal agenda to eradicate extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030. The existing global plan for development (or MDGs) is due to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs include a 50 percent cut in “extreme” poverty; universal primary education; reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; cutbacks in maternal mortality by three-quarters; the promotion of gender equality; and the reversal of the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other deadly diseases.
The report prepared by the high-level panel appointed by UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls upon the international community to rally around a “new Global Partnership that offers hope and a role to every person in the world”. The panel is jointly led by the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Besides capturing inputs from as many sources as possible, the most remarkable fact is that we, the panelists and co-chairs alike, were able to rise above national interest and address [these issues] with a true universal perspective,” the Indonesian president said of the report. According to the Liberian president, it took the panel about nine months to prepare the report, which features the views of governments, civil society, academia and the private sector. “We have considered the challenges of the 21st century, like unsustainable economic growth, conflict and climate change,” he said.
The panel was established by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and co-chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron. The president of Indonesia said: “Besides capturing inputs from as many sources as possible, the most remarkable fact of this report is that we, the panelists and co-chairs alike, were able to rise above national interest and address the Global Partnership and Sustainable Development issues with a true universal perspective”.
In the report, the panel calls for the “new post-2015 goals” to drive five big transformative shifts: “Leave No One Behind. After 2015 we should move from reducing to ending extreme poverty, in all its forms. We should ensure that no person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied basic economic opportunities and human rights, the report’s authors said. They think the world needs to integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. “We must act now to slow the alarming pace of climate change and environmental degradation, which pose unprecedented threats to humanity,” they stated.
In their view, “profound economic transformation can end extreme poverty and improve livelihoods, by harnessing innovation, technology, and the potential of business. More diversified economies, with equal opportunities for all, can drive social inclusion.” They stressed the need for a fundamental shift in terms of recognising peace and good governance as a “core element of wellbeing, not an optional extra”. Though appreciative of the recommendations for the new development plan submitted to the UN chief, Clark said he wanted the international community to do more to protect gender equality and women’s health.
“Life has changed for the better for many girls and women since the MDGs were launched in 2001 and a 20-year action plan on sexual and reproductive health rights was agreed on in Cairo in 1994, but not for all. Achieving gender equality and access to sexual and reproductive health and is lagging,” she noted. UN research shows that some 800 women are still dying every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, with the poorest and the youngest women at greatest risk.
According to UNDP, about 222 million women in developing countries want to prevent pregnancy but are not using a modern method of contraception — resulting in an estimated 80 million unplanned pregnancies a year and 20 million unsafe abortions. “We need — in governments, legislatures, and public administrations — more people who will lead on these issues. Fundamentally, we need many more women in positions of power — and women who are prepared to use that power to advance the human development and rights of other women,” Clark said.
Commenting on the report, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, also expressed similar views. “We welcome [the report’s] recommended goal to end child marriage. [It] threatens the potential of millions of our very own daughters, nieces and grand-daughters,” he said, stressing that young people must be educated in a way that provide them with an understanding of sexual and reproductive health. “UNFPA believes that young people, particularly those living in poverty, must get their rightful place at the table, so that every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” said Dr Osotimehin.
Source: Daily Times