I recently got a rare opportunity, through the World Youth Alliance, to engage in an interactive, global and multi-cultural learning experience, with global leaders from all over the world at the UN High Level plenary Summit for the 65th General Assembly in New York.
The UN MDG Review Summit was hosted at the United Nations in New York with the primary objective to accelerate progress towards
all the MDGs by 2015 by reviewing successes, lessons learnt, obstacles and gaps in achieving the MDGs. It also provided an opportunity to re-energize the global commitment to the achievement of these goals.
There were 6 plenary meetings and 6 interactive roundtables over the course of the three days and LOTS of side events and meetings.
I participated at the UN Summit for the very first time. They were Heads of States, CEOs and business leaders, Executive Directors of Global institutions and even musicians and celebrities all under one roof. Many issues were raised and among them what really came out was trying to come up with innovative ways by which we can accelerate the achievement of MDGs by 2015.
Based on our WYA Declaration on Maternal Health 2010, I was keen to see the developments and some of the issues that would be covered by the UN especially as concerns MDG goal 5 – Improving maternal health. This goal targets a three quarters reduction in the maternal mortality rate and universal access to reproductive health.
There was a lot of attention surrounding this goal at the Summit. This is because it is currently among the worst performing goals and surprisingly so as majority of the reasons that account for maternal mortality in developing nations are avoidable. Most of the solutions that came up in the forums were increment of funds towards family planning methods which I felt did not address the core issues.
High maternal death rates are indicative of social and medical failure. I believe they should have given more priority to investment in skilled birth attendants, access to health education, good nutrition and medicines, use of correct equipment and technologies, building new and improving the existing infrastructure such as roads and health care facilities.
This experience gave me a chance to contribute feasible solutions to global challenges by sharing and exchanging of ideas and experiences in an intellectual, global and cross-cultural setting.
I also gained knowledge on and increased capacity in problem solving, consensus building, and conflict resolution, through active lobbying and negotiation exercises at the Forums. I wrote an article for publishing to further expound on the maternal health issues covered at the Summit.
I would like to thank Rebecca Marchinda, Director of Advocacy and the whole WYA family for giving me this great opportunity to participate in the Summit.
Felogene Anumo, WYA Kenya