UN official says investing in women, children has "multiplier" effects

08:30, June 15, 2011      

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Asha Rose Migiro, UN deputy secretary-general, said in the United Nations Tuesday that improving the health of women and children can spur significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on many fronts, despite tough economic conditions.

"In such a climate, we need to scale up those interventions that have the best chance to generate progress across the MDGs," said Migiro. "We must look for multiplier effects wherever we can. And none is more dramatic, none is more proven, than investments in the health of women and children."

Migiro's comments came as she addressed the UN General Assembly at the opening of a development dialogue held as a follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, which was held in September 2010 and brought together officials from around the globe to review progress towards the MDGs and to create an agenda to accelerate future progress. The MDGs are eight international development objectives that are due to be completed by 2015.

"Healthy women deliver healthy children who can attend school and become part of a healthy workforce," Migiro said. "A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, able to do its rightful part in building cohesive, prosperous societies."

The Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, she explained, has been an important factor in working towards better health for women and children. The strategy, which raised more than 40 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, is meant to bring a wide variety of stakeholders together to save 16 million lives by 2015.

"At its essence, the strategy is about taking what we know works for women and children, and bringing those efforts to scale, " Migiro said. "It is providing an energized platform to support national processes by reaching out to new constituencies and bringing in new influential actors."

The global strategy also provides focuses on information and statistics on women's and children's health, as well as accountability for the use of funds, Migiro noted.

"We have a framework that will tell us where the money is coming from, where it is going, and how effectively it is being spent," she said. "The ability to track resources and results is critical for ensuring that all partners deliver on their commitments, and that we are achieving tangible progress in achieving our goals."

Migiro said the international community should turn an eye to the future, even beyond the 2015 MDG deadline.

"Even a decade ago, we knew that achieving the MDGs would, in a sense, be only half the job," she said. "We knew that there would still be a vast backlog of deprivation. The time has come to look at those numbers -- at those people -- at all the women, men and children who will be barely touched by what we do by 2015, and who will therefore need our attention come 2016 and beyond."

Source: Xinhua
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