Countdown’s Structure and Governance

The governance structure of CD2030 is based on a partnership model (see figure below), and includes a transparent decision making process with a Project Director having ultimate authority, and who is accountable to a Steering Committee. The governance and management structure optimizes:

  • Countdown’s ability to deliver on its work plan, which is prepared annually and reviewed by the Steering Committee, and serve a key accountability function at global, regional and national levels including strengthening country capacity to use data to track progress and make course corrections.
  • The establishment of regional collaborating centers of country institutions and individuals that will be supported by the CD2030 workgroups but will also retain some autonomy — which may increase over time — and ability to be responsive to country demands.
  • Funding flows that ensure independent operations, keep the transaction costs low, and minimize the burden of “compounding” overheads.
  • The coordination and high quality of the technical outputs through the operations of a Technical Review Group that will oversee and provide guidance to the Technical Working Groups, Profile Development Team, and Regional Collaborating Centers.

Steering Committee

CD2030 is guided by a Steering Committee of 10-12 members and a set of observers, composed of representatives of Countdown’s key partners including funders, academic institutions, UN agencies, civil society representatives, and representatives of the regional collaborating centers. The Steering Committee is responsible for overall management and strategic decisions related to the annual work plan. The Committee reviews progress on deliverables, and provides decision support to the Project Director on overall direction of the work plan including capitalizing on strategic opportunities, arbitrating disputes, and mobilizing resources as needed.

The Steering Committee convened a meeting on January 14-15, 2019. Please find the latest background documents from the meeting here.


CD2030 includes a small secretariat led by a Project Director who is accountable to the Steering Committee and serves as the lead voice of the project. A Technical Deputy Director reports to the Project Director and ensures all technical deliverables are met, supports the Technical Working Groups and the Regional Collaborating Centers, and facilitates CD2030 interactions and coordination with other related accountability efforts.

Technical Review Group

The CD2030 Technical Review Group oversees the technical work of Countdown, to ensure all analyses and products are of high quality and rigor, and that technical work continues to ‘innovate’ the field. The final decision-making on the technical content of CD2030 products will reside with the Technical Review Group to preserve the independence and technical integrity of Countdown analyses. The group includes representation from each of the Technical Working Groups (Coverage, Equity, and Drivers), the Profile Development Team, the Regional Network Initiative, and other technical experts in RMNCAH plus nutrition.

Technical Working Groups 

CD2030 includes three Technical Working Groups: Coverage, Equity and Drivers. Each TWG is led by two co-chairs: one based in a UN agency and one from an academic institution.

The TWGs are composed of representatives from across the RMNCAH plus nutrition continuum, and concerted efforts are made to include representation from institutions in the south and young researchers. All of the TWGs contribute to the global monitoring function of Countdown. Each aim to improve measurement through innovation, conduct secondary analyses on various RMNCAH and nutrition related topics, and provide technical assistance to the regional collaborating networks.

Profile Development Team

The Profile Development Team is based at UNICEF. The global database development and maintenance is a joint effort of UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA and others, in close collaboration with the CD Technical Review Group and Secretariat.

Regional Collaborating Networks

CD2030 is setting up Regional Collaborating Networks to build capacity in regions and within Countdown’s 81 priority countries for the collection, quality assessment, analysis, and use of data related to RMNCAH plus nutrition policies and programs. These networks include in-country technical institutions, government representatives, and civil society organizations, and are supported by the global Countdown. The main outputs are multi-country studies, country specific analyses, and communication materials that can be used to guide decision making in national planning processes.

The regional networks work closely with the CD2030 Secretariat, and they receive technical support from the Technical Working Groups. Representatives from the regional networks are members of the Technical Review Group, and have a seat on the Steering Committee.

Stakeholder Input

Through the technical review process associated with selection of the indicators tracked and reported in the country profiles, and through the global report writing process, the Countdown Secretariat solicits input from a broad spectrum of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition stakeholders.

The Lancet

In 2003, the Bellagio Lancet Child Survival Series helped raise global awareness of more than 10 million deaths occurring each year in children under age five, mainly from preventable conditions that rarely affect children in wealthy countries. In 2005 a second Lancet series focused on the approximately 4 million annual deaths among newborns. A common theme in these Lancet series was the call for a systematic mechanism to track progress in achieving high, sustainable, and equitable coverage with interventions proven to reduce child mortality. The development of Countdown to 2015 came in response to this call, and in subsequent years, The Lancet has published numerous articles presenting Countdown data and analysis, along with additional series and articles that highlight the importance of the continuum of care.