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Canada and the UN Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health

© ITU / V. Martin
Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation of Canada, at the first meeting of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health.

On December 16, 2010, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced the establishment of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, together with President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, were named co-chairpersons of the new Commission.

The Commission's first meeting was held in Geneva in January 2011. A co-chairs summary was issued at that time. The summary sets out the objectives of the Commission's work: to improve transparency, ensure consistency in reporting for better results, and more effectively track resources spent on maternal, newborn and child health.

© OMS/WHO
UN Commissioners and designates at the May 2, 2011 meeting.

On May 2, 2011, during its second meeting, the Commission agreed on new recommendations (PDF, 432 KB, 2 pages) calling for an unprecedented level of accountability to save the lives of more women and children in developing countries. These recommendations are contained in the final report of the Commission: Keeping Promises, Measuring Results (PDF, 1,783 KB, 31 pages). This new approach will help ensure that pledges are honoured and resources spent in the most effective way to save lives.

The ten recommendations provide practical and action-oriented guidance to partners that will:

  • help countries develop better ways of gathering important health data to improve understanding of health needs and where resources should be focused
  • develop a coordinated system for tracking health spending on women and children
  • offer national and global oversight to establish a feedback mechanism that supports continuous improvement in delivery of health services for women and children

Leaders came together at the United Nations in New York in September 2011 to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the UN Secretary-General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Heath. This high level event measured progress on the global strategy to date, mobilized further support, and highlighted the recommendations of the Commission in helping to accelerate progress for women's and children's health.


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