New UN Commission established

16th December 2010

The United Nations is establishing a high-level commission charged with developing an accountability framework that will link resources committed to women's 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. "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.”

At the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, stakeholders adopted a Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health and committed US$40 billion in resources to a global effort to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. This includes commitments from Coalition members through the HANDtoHAND campaign. The Strategy called for the World Health Organization (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 Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health will develop an accountability framework that will help countries monitor where resources go and how they are spent, and will provide the evidence needed to show which programmes are the most effective to save the lives of women and children. The Commission will be co-chaired by Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Hamadoun I. Touré, and the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, will act as vice chairs.

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 -- 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.

Commissioners have been appointed from developed and developing countries, academia, civil society and the private sector. A list of the commissioners can be found on-line. The Commission will hold its first meeting on 26 January, and will present its final report by May 2011.

For more information about the Commission, as well as statements by President Kikwete, Prime Minister Harper, Dr. Chan and Dr. Toure, please click here. For more information on the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, please see its website.

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