CITIZENS’ HEARING REPORT LAUNCHES IN NYC AND AROUND THE WORLD
WRA, Citizens Post
September 25, 2015NEW YORK CITY (White Ribbon Alliance) - Groundbreaking CITIZENS’ HEARING REPORT makes community voices heard by global leaders in New York and many countries.
Today, on the day of the UN summit to adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals, a Citizens’ Hearings Report will be launched by White Ribbon Alliance, World Vision, Save the Children and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The report says citizens must be actively involved in government policy making if efforts to end preventable maternal and child deaths are to succeed.
The report outlines recommendations from thousands of people, including children, in 19 countries in Africa and Asia, who travelled from rural areas and cities to take part in these remarkable democratic and open dialogues with local and national politicians, health workers and media. Citizens asked questions and spoke, leaders listened and responded to the upsurge of demand for involvement and accountability for their countries’ health services to women, children and adolescents.
“For leaders to be accountable, health policies should be coming from us, citizens, and then submitted to government leaders, and not otherwise,” says Msagati from Tanzania.
The report includes a Call to Action from citizens addressed to leaders to:
1. Reflect citizens’ voices on the priority policies and actions needed for progress on women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health;
2. Establish robust, participatory accountability mechanisms at local and national levels;
3. Support the call for independent, participatory accountability mechanisms at the global level.
“The most exciting moment was when for the first time in the history of WHO and its Assembly, a civil-society-led forum was held to strengthen political accountability for global health, and specifically for women’s and children’s health. It was an historic moment. It built on National Citizens’ Hearings held in 20 countries in which civil society assumed a legitimate place in shaping the future of health.” Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, Lancet.
There have been huge advances in health and wellbeing during the lifespan of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, millions of women and children have been bypassed by progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 and on current trends 4 million children and 200,000 women will die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in 2030. For the Sustainable Development Goals to succeed people must be at the centre of decision-making and delivery.
The Citizens’ Hearings build momentum just as the world launches a new set of development targets, the Sustainable Development Goals, at the UN General Assembly in New York. At the same time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announces his second and updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. And they come now because we have seen that global, national and community targets will only be met and sustained when citizens’ voices are heard from the start, and when citizens are involved in every step of turning promises into action.