GNA Special Correspondent, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Courtesy: Women DeliverKuala Lumpur, May 31 GNA - Women Deliver 2013 has ended with a call for continued investments in girls and women in the lead-up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline and beyond.
Women Deliver; President Jill Sheffield, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Co-Chair, Melinda Gates acknowledged the role played by young people and presented the first-ever śWomen Deliver Rising Star Awardsť to three ladies.
The recipients were Senator Pia S. Cayetano, the youngest woman elected in the history of the Philippine Senate. She was joined by Imane Khachani, a Moroccan who had extensive experience in sexual and reproductive health research and advocacy. South Africa™s Remmy Shawa, who worked to promote gender equality in Africa, also won an award.
Ms Sheffield was positive that śwe know, when girls and women survive, all of us thriveť.
She acknowledged the contributions of all who in diverse ways made the conference a success and pledged to continue with the fight for women™s health.
The conference, organised by Women Deliver, attracted 4,500 leaders and advocates representing more than 2,500 organisations from149 countries.
The conference, which was the decade™s largest meeting, featured more than 100 sessions with meetings with some renowned world™s leading voices on girls™ and women™s issues, including Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chelsea Clinton, Board Member of the Clinton Foundation.
Other speakers were Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Foundation (UNFPA); Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Malaysian Prime Minister Honorable Dato™ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, Helen Clark, former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, African Women™s Development Fund Chief Executive Officer, Theo Sawa and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
The conference focused on themes including the economic and social benefits of investing in girls and women, how to achieve the goal of reaching 120 million more women with voluntary family planning services by 2020, and the need to place girls and women at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.
Organisations such as the World Bank, the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organisation used the occasion to release major new research and reports focused on the benefits of investing in girls and women.
The first women Deliver conference was held in London in October 2007 and was accredited with putting MDG 5 on the international agenda.
The second Women Deliver Conference was held in June 2010 in Washington DC where participants were critical in showing that investing in girls and women was not only the right thing to do, but was also good for the economy and good for the society.
It highlighted the unmet needs for contraception and looked at how to ensure that women are stigma-free to afford family planning services.
The conference developed an action plan for ensuring that girls and women are prioritised in the new development framework.
Ghanaian delegations who attend the conference included the Acting Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Gloria Quansah Asare, Professor Fred Sai, Former Presidential Advisor on Population and Reproductive Health Issues and HIV and AIDS, and co-chair of Women Deliver, civil society groups, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, former Director General of Ghana Health Service and representatives from UNFPA, and Ghana and Path, Ghana.