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President Kaljulaid is the Global Advocate of the United Nations Secretary-General for EWEC

 

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid was appointed the first Global Advocate of the United Nations Secretary-General for Every Woman Every Child  (EWEC) on June 28, 2021.  

In her role as the Global Advocate for EWEC, Kersti Kaljulaid will dedicate her efforts to help every woman and every child survive, thrive and transform. She will focus on 3 ambitious goals: reducing maternal mortality, increasing nutrition security, and enhancing innovation and the use of digital solutions. President Kaljulaid brings her leadership experience as the President of Estonia, the most digital country in the world, to these areas.  

 

(1) Reduce maternal mortality
Every day in 2017, approximately 810 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Although the maternal mortality ratio (MMR, number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) has dropped by about 38% worldwide between 2000 and 2017, every woman lost to preventable and solvable reasons behind maternal mortality should be unacceptable. 94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries and the causes include complications of unsafe abortions, postpartum bleeding or infections, but also indirect causes affecting pregnancies like malaria, anemia or HIV/AIDS.

To prevent even more maternal deaths, Mrs Kaljulaid will stand for providing safe and accessible services, both medical and humanitarian, and education for girls and women all over the world.

 

(2) Increase nutrition security
The world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. Year 2020 estimates were that nearly 690 million people are hungry, or 8.9% of the world population – up by 10 million people in one year and by nearly 60 million in five years. An estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019.

Mrs Kaljulaid will closely follow the situation of children, adolescents and women, especially mothers. We need to make sure that whatever the situation in the world or a specific region, clean and safe food, rich in essential vitamins and minerals, reaches the most vulnerable.

 

(3) Enhance innovation and the use of digital solutions 
The pandemic has highlighted the importance and possibilities of digitalization, but also amplified the digital gap in most countries and at different levels. In some regions, important services became inaccessible due to restrictions. In other regions, there was a lack of access to digital services even before the pandemic.

In Estonia, 99% of government services run online, such as e-school, e-health and the population registry. Mrs Kaljulaid will facilitate the sharing of the Estonian experience and contacts to help advance the use of digital solutions worldwide.

As the world is still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, minimizing the negative impact of COVID-19 on women and children will be a wide-cutting prirority for the Global Advocate. 

All of the previous pillars have been affected by the pandemic: there has been decreased access to services, including the interruption in routine vaccinations; the rate of child marriages has increased; many children and families have lost access to food. Also, there are persisting digital divides in the world between regions and within countries, which were even more highlighted during the pandemic. This needs to be taken into account when offering and identifying solutions.

 

Background
Every Woman Every Child was launched in 2010 by former UN Secretary-General H.E. Ban Ki-moon to catalyze a political movement to advance the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents everywhere. Kersti Kaljulaid was the co-chair to the High-Level Steering Group for EWEC for two years (2018-2020). During her tenure, president Kaljulaid raised awareness of the efforts people globally are making, often working without any institutional support.

Since the launch of Every Woman Every Child a decade ago, for example, more than 1 billion children have been vaccinated, 25 million child marriages were prevented, maternal deaths worldwide dropped by 35 per cent since 2000, with the most significant declines occurring from 2010. These important advances would not have been as successful – or perhaps not attained at all – in the absence of dedicated, focused work through the Every Women Every Child partnership, including its landmark Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health is needed today more than ever because it is an essential guiding force, through its emphasis on accelerating progress and reducing inequities among the vulnerable and poor, for creating more resilient societies.

By playing a central role in highlighting the world’s collective accountability for the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents, the strategy will help lead the global charge to ‘build back better’ from the depths of the COVID-19 destruction.