19 November 2020
While independent accountability has been central to a landmark decade of progress in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, under the mobilization of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) movement, it is currently under threat. The UN Secretary-General’s office is considering closing both the Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) and EWEC by the end of the year, without a clear transition plan to a new mechanism. While the aim is to shift EWEC and IAP functions from a global to country focus in line with UN reform, it is notable that the COVID-19 crisis only highlights an urgent continued need for global solidarity and cooperation.
Current and former IAP, independent Expert Review Group (iERG) co-chairs and IAP Members, call upon WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to establish an independent accountability panel for health-related SDGs and rights, focusing on those left behind, especially women, children and adolescents. They also call upon UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to ensure EWEC functions to assure the health and rights of women, children and adolescents get the highest level of political attention, investment and stakeholder commitment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Now is the time to promote and inclusive culture of accountability in order to connect commitment to progress in a justifiable and constructive way. Through the democratization of accountability, the global community is better equipped to reflect and respond to the voices and experiences of people, especially those left behind. Global solidarity is needed now more than ever to take decisive action, underpinned by the principles of accountability, to bring relief to and uplift the health of everyone. There is no time to lose.