Girls and Women at the Heart of the Discussion Throughout UNGA and CGI

By: Brittany Tatum, Women Deliver

Looking back at 11 intense days of the United Nations General Assembly and The Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, one thing is very clear: The health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women was at the center of more discussions than ever before.

Women Deliver and many valued partners carried the torch and made sure that one message was heard – and seen - loud and clear at countless events throughout the week: Girls and women are drivers of change and need to be placed at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This past week, Women Deliver representatives and some Young Leaders made their way from UN Assembly Halls to high-level receptions, all to ensure that girl’s, women’s, and young people’s voices were part of the conversation during these these pivotal two weeks of discussions

The Next Generation of Development: Integrated Investments for Youth

Women Deliver kicked off UNGA by co-hosting an event with FHI 360, Johnson & Johnson, and Devex. The event brought together more than 150 influencers and leaders to examine how strategically-integrated investments in health, education, and economic opportunities for youth can accelerate progress on the post-2015 global development agenda.

This event boasted a number of high-level representatives such as Executive Director of the African Institute for Development Policy, Eliya Zulu, Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, U.S. Special Coordinator for the UN post-2015 development agenda, Tony Pipa, Chairman of the Uganda National Planning Authority, Kisamba-Mugerwa, and Women Deliver Young Leader, Dakshitha Wickremarathne. At Women Deliver we’ve continuously said “Nothing about us, without us” which is why Dakshitha’s voice was so vital at this particular event.

At the event Devex had a chance to ask Women Deliver’s Katja Iversen a quick question on what we have to do to see change:


Clinton Global Initiative and Young People

Women Deliver is an adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and it felt so good to hear and see that they have listened to our advice to focus on girls and women health and rights AND on include young people much more prominently  in the programme.  Women Deliver Young Leader from Kenya, Catherine Nyambura spoke on a panel called: “Talking About Sex: Breaking Down the Stigma Around Sexual and Reproductive Health.” Panelists discussed the various challenges that service providers and beneficiaries face in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and reducing stigma and discrimination. They also explored strategies and opportunities to normalize sexual health conversations and break down negative perceptions.

“It’s not just talking about sex, it is about empowering a nation” was just one of the powerful statements spoken by Nyambura during the session.

CGI also featured actress Jessica Biel who presented the new #ThenWhoWill campaign by Women Deliver’s partner Women Care Global and Saundra Pellitier, EVOFEM, a Women Deliver Board member.


New Global Strategy on Women’s Children’s and Adolescent’s Health

Many, many months of hard work for numerous partners, including Women Deliver, came to a conclusion when the new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health was launched at a high level event at the UN on 26th September. Women Deliver was present and our CEO one of the 17 Global Health Leaders featured in the accompanying social media campaign





How Will Today's Young Leaders Achieve the Global Goals? Round-Robin Networking Sessions with Inspiring #YouthVoices

On Sunday, 27 September, Joannes Paulus and another youth advocate closed the “Walking Together for Girls and Women” event, hosted by Johnson & Johnson, the MDG Health Alliance, and the International Confederation of Midwives. Their panel was moderated by Femi Oke and focused on what young people can do to improve access to maternal, newborn, and child health.

Also on Sunday, Young Leaders Inaam Abuelsoud and Delaine Powerful joined youth advocates from Advocates for Youth, Let Girls Lead, GYCA, White Ribbon Alliance, Save the Children, and Global Health Corps. The roundtable format of the event allowed for rich discussions on each young person’s work and expertise. The event opened with PMNCH's Exectuive Director Robin Gorna speaking on the importance of youth engagement for the SDGs. "We can't walk forward with the Susatinable Development Goals without having young people right at the center" was just one of many point Robin touched open in her dynamic keynote speech. After the keynote nine young people took the stage to give their lightning talks which ranged from SRHR in the United States, to health concerns in Sierra Leone. 

To watch the livestream of the event please click here

The Women Deliver 2016 Conference on the big stage

At the opening of UN Women’s Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action the morning of 27 September the Prime Minister of Denmark invited the 86 participating Heads of State to join him at the Women Deliver 2016 Conference in Copenhagen, which will be the largest conference on the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women for more than a decade. He reiterated the invitation in Denmark’s official General Assembly speech, where he said: “Denmark is honoured to host the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen in May 2016. I hope that many of you will join us.”

Women Deliver – and Not Only Babies

To cap off the week, Women Deliver, The Danish Mission, and UN Women came together at The Yale Club to discuss implementing the SDGs so that they matter most for girls and women. The event began with opening remarks by Jill Sheffield, followed by a key note by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary in which she said: “We must strive to create a world where a girl has the same chance to survive & thrive as a boy.” Afterwards, Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo, Women Deliver Young Leader Catherine Nyambura, Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection of Ghana, Nana Oye Lithur, and Women Deliver CEO, Katja Iversen engaged in a lively panel discussion addressing questions such as: “What will be necessary to implement the SDGs so they matter most for girls and women?” and “What will your specific role be?”

Many impactful and inspiring words were said that morning but one that broadly resonated with attendees came from Catherine Nyambura: “There is no issue to controversial to talk about if it affects human beings,” said in response to a question from an attendee who inquired about how young leaders can use their voices to effectively make change.

The event ended with closing words from Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Kristian Jensen, where he talked about the importance of fighting for gender equality, and said: “You can't win with half the team on the bench,” a statement that truly resonated with all, espeically since he was holding a soccer ball that had all 17 of the SDGs on it. 

Other Events:

Jill’s Op-Ed in Thomson Reuters

Women Deliver president Jill Sheffield published an op-ed on Thomson Reuters about the importance of revisiting past lessons in order to successfully deliver for girls and women. In the op-ed Sheffield stated: “Far more work must go into getting more leaders to understand the evidence for investing in girls and women. The change we seek depends on greater action, partnership and collaboration from leaders of all kinds, from young people to CEOs.”

Young Leaders Take UNGA 

Throughout the entire week the Young Leaders were prominently featured. This truly shows that this new set of goals is theirs, and without them none of them will be achieved. They were featured on Girls’ Globe and The Daily Delivery and we’re also present at a number of high-level events throughout the week.



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