International Conference on Urban Heath (ICUH) 2015

British High Commissioner Robert W Gibson's speech at the closing of the 12th International Conference on Urban Health in Bangladesh.

Honourable State Minister, Mr Zaled Maleque, Mr Kazuhiko Higuchi, Mr Abdul Malek, Excellencies, Secretaries, Ladies and gentlemen

It gives me great honour to be here this evening at the closing of the 12th International Conference on Urban Health.

I gather that this has been a fantastic event with representation from across the globe. I am delighted that the UK was able to support it.

The UK recognises the special importance of urban areas and the need for action.

To address the challenges we work closely with our many partners here in Bangaldesh.

The UK provides in the region of $60 million to support service delivery on a number of initiatives in close partnership with our US Aid.

For example, in the last year, our partners provided four ante-natal care services to over 110,000 women in urban areas.

This is just the start.

We recognise that women and girls in urban slums have specific needs.

Our approach is to expand quality clinical and community outreach services to over two million women and girls by 2018.

Our ambition is to create the largest urban health referral system for the poor providing care from household to comprehensive facilities.

To achieve this extensive links are needed throughout the entire health system.

This include the Local Government Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and NGO’s.

This will not be possible without a multi-sectoral approach.

Strong partnerships are needed between UKAid and NGO’s, and between NGO’s and the Government of Bangladesh.

That work has already started.

But we all have a role in making this happen.

We all have to be accountable to ensure our actions are delivered.

Our Prime Minister David Cameron, has been very clear about the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The UK would prefer fewer, strong sustainable goals with urban issues mainstreamed across all the goals.

Alongside that there should be mechanisms to make governments accountable to their citizens so they can be held to account.

There is a long way to go. But the Dhaka Declaration announced this evening is the start of that process.

Reading it I was pleased to see the need to gain expertise regarding Climate Change was acknowledged.

We all know the potential consequences of climate change and especially the likely impact on urban environments.

That is why I am pleased that Bangladesh and the United Kingdom will be key partners in the forthcoming discussions on emissions and setting global targets.
There is a shared desire to negotiate a legally binding agreement.

This will go some way towards making the Dhaka Declaration a reality.

So, please consider how you can make the Dhaka Declaration a reality.
It will need everyone here today and many more to make impact quickly.

We should not allow roulette to be played with the health of people just because of where you live or who you are.

We should embrace the sustainable development goals and implement them across the urban environment.

We are all responsible. We are all accountable.

We need to work together.

On that note I would like to extend my thanks to the Honourable Minister of State for organising the first urban health coordinating committee last week.

I appreciate the presence of the two Secretaries from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

We offer our support to strengthen that coordination at national and local levels and look forward in working together to meet the challenge head on.

When over 1000 delegates attend an event to hear over 160 speakers, it demonstrates that this is an area of extreme importance.

Conferences such as these are not just about statistics but also great sharing, networking and learning opportunities.
They stimulate creativity and debate.

I hope that the debate and connectivity this week encourages action from you all.

Thank you.