UN Launches Global Strategy for Women’s Health

Friday, October 2, 2015

Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, supported by commitments from governments, international organizations, the private sector, foundations, research and academic institutions, and other key civil society partners, including Ipas. It outlines ambitious yet achievable targets that offer a roadmap to ending preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents, including through women’s and girls’ access to safe abortion care.

The strategy calls for a two-thirds reduction in maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion and other causes. This target and others were drawn from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was also adopted by governments last week.  Governments have agreed to 17 global sustainable development goals to eradicate poverty, take urgent action on climate change, and promote health and gender equality among other goals for global cooperation over the next 15 years.

Leading up to the UN General Assembly meeting, Ipas, along with other partners, advocated at national, regional and global levels for the inclusion of safe abortion and sexual and reproductive health and rights in these key framework documents.

“We are pleased that collective advocacy resulted in inclusion of safe abortion and postabortion care in the Global Strategy,” says Barbara Crane, Executive Vice President for Technical Leadership and Advocacy at Ipas. “We also welcome the call for universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services in the SDGs’ 2030 targets.”

Internationally agreed definitions of reproductive health and guidelines for rights-based and evidence-based interventions include safe abortion in these services.

“Women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights is central to the achievement of health for all, as well as gender equality,” Crane says. “The challenge ahead is to translate these inspiring goals into action.”