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Business leaders pledge to combat women's health issues by 2030 at Kenyan summit ICPD25

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2019-11-16 01:05
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An international summit featuring business leaders and international aid organizations in Nairobi, Kenya, has pledged to raise funds to help end all maternal deaths, unmet needs for family planning, gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030.

The three-day summit called The Nairobi Summit on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) was attended by 9,500 delegates from more than 70 countries. It ended on Thursday.

The crucial event was organized by the governments of Kenya and Denmark together with the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

During the summit, critical new data was unveiled about the cost of achieving these goals. According to new research, $264 billion is required to end preventable maternal deaths, eliminating gender-based violence and harmful practices, and meeting the family planning needs of women in high-priority countries.

Currently only $42 billion in development assistance is expected to be spent on advancing these goals. That means some $222 billion in investments is required over the next decade, whether in the form of foreign investment, domestic allocation or private spending, the report said.

Private sector organizations including the Ford Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Philips, World Vision among others, said they will mobilize $8 billion in combined new pledges towards addressing the issues.

The World Vision promised to mobilize $7 billion over the next decade in support of programmes that support maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition. This is part of the organization's commitment to the UN Secretary-General's Every Woman Every Child initiative campaign.

Plan International will allocate $500 million to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and adolescents by 2025. The Ford Foundation committed to spend $78.4 million over the next three years to address gender-based violence and support women's empowerment, while Laerdal pledged $65 million to reduce maternal and newborn mortality by 2030.

The Children's Investment Fund Foundation committed $75 million to advance self-care in sexual and reproductive health.

Mariarosa Cutillo, the head of UNFPA's Strategic Partnerships Branch, said: "Together, partners across sectors, from health care to technology as well as philanthropic foundations and civil society, have made inspiring commitments to the health and rights of women and girls."

Ambassador Ib Petersen, Denmark's Special Envoy for ICPD25, said there will be no ICPD50, noting that women and girls around the world have waited long enough to have rights and choices.

"Looking towards 2030, we now enter a decade of delivery during which we will walk the talk and hold all of us to account for the commitments we made in Nairobi," he said.

The United States committed to supporting family planning programmed that offer alternatives to abortions.

"Our global health programs, including those for family planning, are consistent with the ICPD pronouncement that abortion is not a method of family planning and that programs should seek to provide women alternatives to abortion," the US statement read by Valerie Huber, the US special representative for global women's health said.

Huber said the US is committed to promoting a healthy understanding of child spacing and non-coercive family planning to help couples either achieve or prevent pregnancy.

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