Progress on commitments,
action and accountability

Concrete commitments, collective action and mutual accountability (for results, resources and rights) are all needed to harness the power of partnership and to achieve the objectives of the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents‘ Health (EWEC Global Strategy). Implementation is country-led and supported by EWEC partners, aligned to drive collective action. This chapter presents an overview of the commitments pledged, the actions taken and the efforts made at the country, regional and global levels to ensure mutual accountability.

International law obliges States to uphold the human rights of their citizens, including the right to health; governments have collective responsibility for doing this. Gender, equity and human rights are critical enablers required to achieve the EWEC Global Strategy’s objectives. Yet, as a recent report noted, gross violations of human rights are reported from every region of the world, and women, children and adolescents are disproportionately affected.123



All women, children and adolescents, everywhere, should be able to fully exercise their rights and be treated with dignity and respect. Every Woman Every Child is committed to making this a reality, where human rights underpin all efforts for health and well-being.

H.E. Ms Tarja Halonen

Former President of Finland
Alternate Co-Chair of the High-Level Steering Group for Every Woman Every Child

Box 1.

Leading the realization of human rights to health and through health

The High-Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents released its report in 2017: the first of its kind to be presented to the World Health Assembly and the Human Rights Council.124 The report cautions that failure to promote and protect the health and human rights of women, children and adolescents will hinder efforts to achieve the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Working Group report calls for leadership at the highest levels for the realization of human rights to health and through health. In nine recommendations, all actors – especially governments – are called upon to reaffirm their commitment to the universal values of health, dignity and human rights for all and to champion the cause of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and rights through action, advocacy and activism, including to:

  1. Uphold the right to health in national law

  2. Establish a rights-based approach to health financing and universal health coverage

  3. Address human rights as determinants of health

  4. Remove social, gender and cultural norms that prevent the realization of rights

  5. Enable people to claim their rights

  6. Empower and protect those who advocate for rights

  7. Ensure accountability to the people, for the people

  8. Collect rights-sensitive data

  9. Report systematically on health and human rights.

The report and its recommendations were presented to the 70th World Health Assembly and at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council. Over 100 Member States and dozens of civil society organizations contributed to the discussion, providing examples of a rights-based approach to health. Strong cross-regional statements were made in support of the report, with many Member States calling for a joint programme of work between WHO and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to strengthen capacity in countries to implement and monitor the Working Group’s recommendations.

Progress on commitments,
action and accountability
Download 243 KB