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Women and girls global meet begins in Kuala Lumpur today

28th May 2013
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Melinda Gates

More than 3,000 world leaders, policymakers and advocates representing over 150 countries are meeting in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, starting today for Women Deliver 2013.

Tanzania is highly represented in the decade’s largest meeting that will also focus on the health and rights of girls and women.

According to a statement issued by Women Deriver’s the conference will feature more than 100 sessions with talks by some of the world’s leading voices on girls’ and women’s issues.

It has been organised by the Melinda Gates, co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, former US President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, who is a board member of the Clinton Foundation, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Foundation (UNFPA) and Cecile Richards, president of planned parenthood federation of America.

The opening ceremony will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak.

They say “When you educate a girl you educate the whole nation and the whole world for that matter”. Women are catalysts for change and when they are educated, empowered and healthy; they invest back into their families, communities and nations.

It is against this background that this year’s Women Deliver conference will focus on themes like: the economic and social benefits of investing in girls and women; how to achieve the goal of reaching 120 million more women with voluntary family planning services by 2020; and the need to place girls and women at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.

During the Malaysia meeting, organisations such as the World Bank, the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organisation will release major new research and reports focused on the benefits of investing in girls and women.

“Women Deliver 2010 was critical in showing that investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do, it is also good for the economy and good for society,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-moon gave those opening remarks at Women Deliver 2010 and later that year launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. “Women Deliver 2013 will be an opportunity to keep up the pressure and to affirm our plans for the period ahead,” read the press statement in part.

Women Deliver 2013 takes place at a critical time, just days before the Secretary-General will receive recommendations for the post-2015 development framework. Conference speakers and attendees will call for action to ensure that girls and women are prioritised in the lead-up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline and beyond.

A committee of nongovernmental organisations led by Women Deliver and PATH, and including CARE, Family Care International, Management Sciences for Health, Population Services International, the White Ribbon Alliance, and World Vision, will be convening a series of country caucus meetings at the conference.

These caucuses are intended to support advocacy on government commitments to maternal, newborn, and reproductive health in select countries with a focus on reproductive and maternal health commodities.

The first caucus meeting on Wednesday will be a meeting of civil society partners from Tanzania to identify shared priorities and opportunities for advancing commitments to women’s health.

The ministers of Health and/or Finance from Tanzania have been invited for the second caucus meeting on Thursday. The goal of the second day is to provide civil society partners with a platform to engage in dialogue with the Minister(s) on advancing issues specific to Tanzania’s maternal, newborn, and reproductive health agenda.

Further, this opportunity is meant to identify and reinforce mechanisms for on-going coordination, joint planning, and information-sharing among civil society stakeholders and political leaders in Tanzania.

Save the Children’s recently released 14th Annual State of the World’s Mothers report that puts Tanzania near the bottom of the list, at 135 out of 176 countries around the globe. The report which highlights the challenges facing mothers and newborns worldwide assesses mothers’ well being using indicators of maternal health, child mortality, education and levels of women’s income and political status.

According to the report, Tanzania is among ten countries where two thirds of all newborn deaths occur. Other countries are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN