UNICEF Canada responds to the launch of the Global Financing Facility at Financing for Development Conference and Canada's new commitment of $56 million to saving lives

Jul 13, 2015, 11:21 ET from UNICEF Canada

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 13, 2015 /CNW/ - UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley comments on the launch of the Global Financing Facility (GFF), Canada's new commitment of $40 million for the GFF and an additional $16 million for the establishment of a global Centre of Excellence for strengthening civil registration and vital statistics. David Morley is in Addis Ababa where he is a member of the official Canadian Delegation at the Financing for Development Conference:

"The Financing for Development Conference is setting the course for how to improve the state of the world over the next 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals are the "what"; this conference is the "how". And with the launch of the Global Financing Facility, a critical step has been taken to ensuring an effective financing plan is in place that will realize our collective global goals.

As an established global leader on child and maternal health and on accountability, Canada's $200 million commitment last fall to the Global Financing Facility, along with $600 million from Norway, helped kick start this new initiative that will channel finances to programs that are ending preventable deaths and strengthening national health systems in countries where children are most vulnerable. 

At today's official launch of the Global Financial Facility in Addis, new commitments were made, including an additional $40 million from Canada to strengthen critical front-line health systems and reduce malaria-related child deaths. These funds, along with commitments today from Japan, the United States and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bring the total commitments to the Global Financing Facility to more than one billion dollars—giving this initiative a strong start towards continuing to save the lives of the world's most vulnerable children and mothers.

We know from the data on child and maternal deaths, the most vulnerable and hardest to reach are those children and mothers who are marginalized, in fragile states, fleeing conflict or so remote that they are not yet being reached with life-saving health services.

Canada's commitment today of $16 million to establish a global Centre of Excellence for civil registration and vital statistics is a critical step to tracking every birth, death, cause of death and marriage—information that makes investments in saving lives specific, targeted and effective.

UNICEF Canada is very encouraged by the GFF's goal of universal registration of every pregnancy, every birth and every woman's, child's and adolescent's death by 2030 and working to ensure that these systems are self-financed by individual countries by 2030.

These vital statistics are critical for programming effectively to save lives. Nearly 230 million children under the age of five have never been registered—which means that one third of all children under five in the world do not officially exist. They are invisible.

Canada must continue to be a champion for children by leveraging its influence within the global community to ensure that funding goes to reaching the places in the world where children and mothers are still dying at alarming rates, where progress has been slow and risks backsliding. Reaching the most vulnerable children and mothers who are being left out of life-saving programs must be central, not only in the Sustainable Development Goals, but also in the critical financing frameworks being set up to achieve them.

It's unimaginable, but every year one million babies take their first and last breath on the day they are born. To end these tragedies, the GFF must put an emphasis on saving the lives of newborns—arguably the world's most vulnerable.

The GFF recognizes that there are many emerging economies anticipated to become middle-income over the next decade, however, these countries still have vulnerable children and mothers who are at risk and need to be reached. All efforts, including the GFF, should ensure to sustain support of saving the lives of the most vulnerable children and mothers."

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.