During the second annual Women Deliver Conference in Washington, D.C., the United Nations Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that women and girls everywhere have access to affordable maternal and reproductive healthcare. This year’s conference theme—Delivering Solutions for Girls and Women—is providing a unique opportunity to connect UN agencies, global partners, celebrity spokespeople and advocates to identify creative solutions to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.
It is estimated that between 342,000 to 500,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth each year. In order to address this challenge, the U.S. must dedicate $1 billion to fully fund international reproductive healthcare and integrate family planning into the spectrum of health services that already exist on the ground. This year’s Conference marks a unique opportunity to bring partners and voices from developing countries to Capitol Hill to connect them with U.S. policymakers.
“The UN Foundation has seen many important commitments during this year’s Women Deliver Conference to bring innovative ideas to scale to help women and girls,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation. “We commend UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for presenting a new Joint Action Plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals with a strong focus on women and children’s health, and agree that improvement in these areas is one of the best investments the world can make.”
“Melinda Gates helped lead the way with the announcement that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest $1.5 billion into tangible solutions for improving maternal and child health,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “These vital financial resources, coupled with the Gates Foundation’s expertise and leadership, will ensure that political commitments translate into real solutions for millions of families across the globe.”
“The UN Foundation has had a long-standing interest in population issues and women’s empowerment,” Wirth said. “And while progress has been made in the past decade around development, more work needs to be done in terms of reducing maternal deaths and providing universal access to family planning. More than 215 million women in developing countries want access to family planning but don’t have it. We are at a tipping point for making motherhood safe and need to pool the world’s best creative ideas and resources together, as we are now seeing happen through the use of mobile technology, to achieve our global goal.”
This week the UN Foundation is hosting several cross-cutting panels and events including:
- A congressional reception with UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner to celebrate progress and continued dedication to achieving Millennium Development Goal 5 – Wednesday June 9 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room, U.S. House of Representatives.
- An expert panel organized by the mHealth Alliance, which the UN Foundation launched with the Rockefeller and Vodafone Foundations, entitled “Mobilizing Reproductive Health: How Cell Phones Are Revolutionizing Women’s Health” – Wednesday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m., Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
- A panel featuring CEO Kathy Calvin, entitled “Words Matter: Language that Reflects our Values and Speaks to Diverse Experiences” – Wednesday, June 9 at 11:30 a.m., Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
- The closing plenary featuring UN Foundation president Timothy E. Wirth, entitled “Women Need a World That Delivers” – Wednesday, June 9, at 3:30 p.m., Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Throughout the Women Deliver Conference, the UN Foundation is highlighting its new “Girl Up” campaign (GirlUp.org) aimed at engaging and connecting American teens with girls in the developing world. Through Girl Up’s support, girls in developing countries have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders. This week, the UN Foundation is also featuring a new global alliance for clean cook-stoves as a solution to reduce smoke-related disease among women and mothers, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information about the UN Foundation’s work with the UN to empower women and girls and improve reproductive and maternal health, visit www.unfoundation.org.
About the UN Foundation
The United Nations Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.