The Health of Women, Children and Adolescents is at the Heart of Transforming our World: Empowering Accountability
Our five-year mandate as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Independent Accountability Panel concluded on 31 March 2021. The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, kindly asked us to prepare a final reflections report. The brief was to summarize our learnings since 2016, and from a decade of EWEC accountability for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, and to offer our reflections and recommendations on the IAP’s transition to an integrated health and SDG accountability mechanisms. The resulting report is entitled ‘The Health of Women, Children and Adolescents is at the Heart of Transforming our World: Empowering Accountability.’
By far the most important lesson is that accountability is about people. Not merely as the ‘end receivers’, but as the first consideration and as essential contributors and partners. Our most lasting achievement will probably be our accountability framework, which we evolved by continually gathering and evaluating evidence, and by stress testing ideas and assumptions about the best way to do accountability. Our overarching recommendation is to Institutionalize an Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) for health across the SDGs as a priority focus of the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) reviews at country, regional and global levels.
We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the many people and organizations who have supported and contributed to our work since 2016. In particular, we would like to thank the DSG for inviting us to produce the final reflections report, and PMNCH and WHO for their support and for continuing to host the IAP during the transition period. Under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, WHO, with the H6, will be taking forward the transition, so please check their websites for further developments on accountability, and they will keep partners updated. Thanks also to all EWEC and UN partners for their close engagement and contributions to the IAP.
Most importantly, we thank all the women, children and adolescents whose interests we aim to serve and whose voices and experiences have guided our thinking. It is to them that we are all ultimately accountable.
Our final reflections report is divided into three sections:
- Lessons on accountability for health and SDGs – establishing the right foundation for accountability, a framework that supports accountability and an enabling environment. We include a checklist for accountability best practice.
- Cracking the nut: where and how accountability has had an impact in countries – we highlight two country case studies to illustrate how accountability improves country implementation and impact.
- Independent review adds rigour to the accountability system – detailing our recommendation to Institutionalize an Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) for health across the SDGs as a priority focus of the annual High-level Political Forum, with six action points to summarize how the IRM would operate, including the hosting by WHO with H6 for global health leadership, co-convened with UNDESA for HLPF and ECOSOC review.
The final IAP 2021 report, web annexes and resources can be accessed at the links below: