UN Women and MDGs: Moving Forward with Acknowledgment

Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic and the future president of the G20 and the G8 Summits, spoke at the UN Summit about focusing on Africa.

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On Wednesday the high-level plenary session in Manhattan to assess the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ended with elites heading back home to their respective countries having firmer knowledge of budgetary and country-specific concerns. Overall, the take away was acknowledgment: the MDGs are not tracking to success.

As reported earlier this week in UN Women and MDGs: UN Summit Assesses Progress, MDG No. 5 to reduce maternal deaths by 2015 is still seen as the most lagging, and UN leaders such as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were openly acknowledging it as the most hindered goal of the eight proposed MDGs.

On September 22, BBC's UN Launches $40bn Woman and Child Health Plan reported that Ki-moon said, "Progress on women and children's healthcare has been slower than on some of the other goals discussed at the three-day summit," but Mr. Ban said the coming century "must be and will be different for every woman and every child."

"We know what works to save women's and children's lives, and we know that women and children are critical to all of the Millennium Development Goals," he said in a statement.

Yet Women's eNews Bachelet's U.N. Debut Brightens MDG Summit reports that budgets are still incredibly lacking for MDG No. 5, around $120 billion or so, in that "donors' answer to the United Nations' request for a $169 billion women and children's health plan fell predictably short at $40 billion, with about half of that committed at previous events."

Those events were the G8 Summit as well as private aid. One of the greatest hopes, according to
Women's eNews, however, is that "U.N. Women might be able to make up some of the shortfall in money to improve girls' education and women's health through an integrated approach. Supporters think this approach will work better than one that separates "women's" targets into the specialized areas of health and education."

Sarah Brown, Britain's First Lady, wrote in her Huffington Post article Sign Up to Play Your Part for Girls and Women about how in "the New York Times best seller Half the Sky, we learned that....Healthy, educated girls break the cycle of poverty. Healthy women work more productively and earn more for their families. Children whose mothers have been educated for at least five years are 40% more likely to live beyond the age of five."

Yet even with such solid statistics, even those who are experts in the landscape of female health and advocacy already voice how much work lies ahead. As Women's eNews reported, Under-Secretary General Bachelet shared her thoughts about upcoming actions in a press conference.

"I'm a very realistic person and I am completely aware of the challenges for UN Women," Bachelet told a Sept. 22 press briefing, speaking for the first time in her new role. "But on the other hand, UN Women was supported by an enormous number of member states and I will be calling on those political commitments to become a reality."

The hope is that all world leaders will rise to her call.

Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor