This guest blog was written by Megan Wilson-Jones, Policy Advocacy Officer (Child Health & Vaccines) at RESULTS UK
RESULTS UK is an international NGO that uses advocacy and campaigning to bring an end to extreme poverty. We seek to make change in the world by utilising a combination of Grassroots advocacy, Parliamentary advocacy, and Policy advocacy to create the public and political will to end poverty.
“…improving the health of women and children is not only the right thing to do, it’s also one of the smartest investments we can make to reduce poverty and improve well-being” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 13th July 2015
International UN conferences bring with them the hope and expectation that while world leaders and issue experts gather in a room together that something significant will be decided, and following this we will progress towards a better world.
This week Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is playing host to one of these conferences – the Third International Financing for Development Conference. The meeting will see political leaders, government officials, non-government representatives and the private sector negotiate and agree on how to finance and support the implementation of the next 15 years of development, the post-2015 agenda.
Yesterday on the first day of the conference, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon officially launched the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Women Every Child. The GFF aims to “accelerate efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths” by mobilising both domestic and international resources, improving the coordination of these funds and reducing inefficiencies in health spending over time. As such, the facility will form a key vehicle for financing the proposed healthy lives Sustainable Development Goal, and the revised Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health, helping to bring an end to extreme poverty by 2030.
The event highlighted that while great progress has been made over the last 15 years, there are many lessons that can be learnt, most important of which is that we cannot deliver an end to preventable maternal and child deaths without sufficient funding. The GFF aims to fill this funding gap and help women and children to build a sustainable future.
During the launch, it was announced that US$12 billion in domestic, international, public and private funding has already been aligned to support the investment plans over the next 5 years of the four front-runner countries; Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. A number of donors, including the Gates Foundation, Canada, Japan and the USA, also made new commitments to the GFF totalling US$214 million. This is in addition to existing pledges of US $800 million from the governments of Norway and Canada.
Together these commitments are helping to close the US$33.3 billion annual funding gap for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, however significantly more funds are needed to reach all 62 high-burden countries eligible to benefit from the GFF. As such, the GFF is aiming to mobilise additional resources through innovative financing approaches, including utilising the private sector. A new partnership between the GFF and the International Bank for reconstruction and Development (IBRD) was announced at the launch event, as a way to raise finances by issuing bonds on capital markets which are expected to mobilise between $3 and $5 for every $1 invested in the GFF. Innovative financing such as this is what makes the GFF particularly exciting and represents a move away from traditional models of development aid into a new paradigm of more sustainable, country-owned and results-driven approach to achieving improvements in the lives of women and children around the world.