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UK hails ‘unprecedented’ summit plan commitment to save 16 million women and children

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the UK Government has shifted its development focus to put women and children at the heart of its policies.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK government hailed as ‘unprecedented’ the international commitment to saving the lives of more than 16 million women and children made today at the UN MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Summit.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today confirmed that the UK would double the number of maternal, newborn and children’s lives saved by 2015.

He said that UK aid will save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth, save 250,000 newborn babies and enable 10 million couples to access modern methods of family planning. The UK Government has shifted its development focus to put women and children at the heart of its policies.

Speaking at the close of the Summit at the UN in New York, ministers made clear that UK leadership had put saving women’s and children’s lives firmly on the agenda and that the UK’s contribution had helped secure wider international action.

They said that after months of concerted effort and negotiation between the UK and the UN to mobilise action, the international community had stepped up to the plate, committing to results on an unprecedented scale.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Development starts with healthy mothers and children, without whom we will never build strong societies.

“Britain has for months been making the argument that the world must make a step change in its efforts on maternal health. Today the world showed that it had finally heard that message.

“This is an unprecedented commitment.”

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

“It is a source of international shame that every year a third of a million women die in pregnancy and childbirth, and that 25,000 children die of preventable diseases every single day.

“This extraordinary commitment means we now have the global will to right this injustice - and five years to make today’s pledge a reality. For the sake of millions around the world, we must not fail.”

Andrew Mitchell added that the last five years of the MDGs were the time to focus on results, with all nations held to account for the pledges they had made.

He said:

“We welcome the General Assembly’s agreement to review progress annually made against commitments agreed at this Summit. The UK will stand up to that test but the Millennium Development Goals must be a priority for each and every nation present in this room.”

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Published 22 September 2010