As one of the two major review mechanisms for the implementation of Agenda 2030, Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) is prepared by member states to describe and evaluate their progress on achieving the 17 SDGs. VNR lab today brought Ghana, the United Kingdom, and Denmark to the table to share their experiences on engaging policymakers in utilizing SDG-related data, systematically cooperating with the civil society especially to create mutual benefits and integrating data sources to identify specific community needs. While countries have improved in generating data to measure SDGs, challenges remain as decision-makers are slow in response.
Mr. Kumar discussed the use of data in promoting the rights of women and children. Ms. Gilmore stressed the need to aid women who do not have the ability to make choices. Credible data is needed to enable legislation and utilize resources. Ms. Helkena stated that 70% of women living in the Marshall Islands have reported experiencing an act of sexual violence. Ms. Summers represented the Guttmacher Institute and presented a comprehensive report that analyzes the costs and benefits of investing in sexual and reproductive rights. She explained that enormous benefits follow from greater investment in women’s health and medicine. Each dollar invested in contraception reduces the cost of pregnancy and HIV care by $1.50. Further, the $39 billion needed for such an investment only amounts to $25 per capita. Princess Zeid highlighted that women are unable to participate when they, or their children, are ill. Discussions within the developing community have demonstrated a desire to include women and adolescents.
Conflict-related violence has been increasing since 2007, and women and children are 14 times more likely to die in the resulting circumstances. Ms. Gilmore addressed the need to address infant mortality–60% of infant deaths that take place in developing countries are preventable. She focused on desegregating society and understanding the difference between urban and rural communities, questioning where multidimensional health risk assessment fits into overall development planning.
Mr. Heeke discussed unconventional data sources, like social media, that are being used today. Ms. Helkena discussed social norms and budget allocations, focusing on mobilizing the public through parliamentary champions. Ms. Winegar highlighted the need to link data to stories and anecdotes to relate to the public and evoke action.
Meeting: Using data to promote policy change and advance sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
Date & Location: 18 March 2015, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Moderator Mr. Raj Kumar, President & Editor-in-Chief Devex; HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Advocate, maternal and newborn health; Molly Helkena, Assistant Secretary Ministry of Internal Affairs Marshal Islands; Kate Gilmore, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, UNFPA; Dr. Cynthia Summers, Vice President for Public Education, the Guttmacher Institute; Stefan Heeke, Executive Director SumAll.org, Adjunct Professor Columbia University SIPA; Chrysula Winegar, Global Mom Challenge
Written by WIT Representative: Ellie Guner
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey