UNITED NATIONS: Senior UN officials, policy makers, advocates and experts on Monday took part in a high- level event here to focus on the need for greater investment in reproductive health, education and equality for girls and women.
The event, called “Invest in Girls and Women: Everybody Wins,” is part of the global efforts to charter a path ahead to sustainable development by investing more in maternal and newborn health, family planning and reproductive health, women’s health, girls’ education and gender equally.
Every day, 800 women die needlessly during pregnancy or childbirth, with thousands more experiencing long-lasting injury or illness; 222 million women still have an unmet need for modern contraceptives; and many girls never finish secondary school, according to UN figures.
“There has never been a better time to raise our voices in support of the health and empowerment of girls and women, and to ensure they are a top priority in global development,” said Dame Billie Miller, former deputy prime minister of Barbados, who moderated the event.
“We must strive to build a world where girls’ and women’s rights are recognized as human rights, access to sexual and reproductive health services is guaranteed to everyone, especially young people, and every pregnancy is planned,” she said. “Girls and women are at the heart of the global development. We cannot assume that everybody knows the fact.”
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, in delivering her opening remarks at the event, said, “We need to effectively engage the community of businesses. We need to close the gender gap.”
The event was held in support of Every Woman Every Child, an initiative launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a bid to drastically improve the health of women and children around the world.
Women’s health, empowerment and girl’s education are among the eight anti-poverty targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is designed to be reached by its deadline of 2015.
For her part, Amina Mohammed, UN secretary-general’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning, said, “The global community recognizes that empowering women and girls is an imperative, not only because it is a human right, but also an indispensable tool for addressing the unfinished business of the MDGs and advancing sustainable development.” PNA