UN forms commission on use of resources for women’s and children’s health

The United Nations is establishing a high-level commission charged with developing an accountability framework that will link resources committed to women and children’s health with the results they are intended to achieve.

“Strengthening accountability is critical if we are to save the lives of more women and children,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, o­n the establishment of the Commission. “We must ensure that partners deliver o­n their promises but, in turn, it is crucial that they know whether investments are leading to sustainable progress.”


The new body – the Commission o­n Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health – will develop an accountability framework to help countries monitor where resources go and how they are spent, and will provide the evidence needed to show which programmes are most effective to save the lives of women and children.


The Commission will be co-chaired by the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. The Secretary-General of the UN International Telecommunication Union, Hamadoun Touré, and the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, will be the vice-chairs of the Commission, which will hold its first meeting o­n 26 January next year and present its final report by May.


“Resources come with an expectation of results,” Dr. Chan said. “Accountability is vital. It means keeping promises and measuring results. To measure results, we need much stronger systems for health information. The Commission will guide us in all these areas.”


Its establishment follows the adoption by stakeholders of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health at the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York in September. The Millennium Development Goals are eight anti-poverty targets which form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions. In September, stakeholders also committed $40 billion in resources to a global effort to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.


The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health called for WHO to establish a process to determine the most effective international institutional arrangements for global reporting, oversight and accountability for women’s and children’s health.


The accountability framework proposed by the Commission will track results and resource flows at global and country levels; identify a core set of indicators and measurement needs for women’s and children’s health; propose steps to improve health information and registration of vital events, including births and deaths, in low-income countries; and explore opportunities for innovation in information technology to improve access to reliable information o­n resources and outcomes.


Mr. Harper said the Commission “will help ensure that countries follow through o­n the commitments they made at the G-8 Summit in Muskoka (Canada) and the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York to help women and children, and that resources are spent in an effective and responsible way.”


UN News Centre