IPU/Countdown Special Session at the 120th IPU Assembly

7 April 2009
Special Session of Countdown to 2015 – Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival at the 120th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

7 April 2009

ADDIS ABABA – Some 1200 parliamentarians from 154 countries have been asked to represent and create legislation to save the lives of millions of mothers and children who die needlessly each year.
This message came from the Ethiopian Minister of Health and Co-Chair of The Partnership, Dr Tedros Adhanom at a joint Special Session of the Countdown to 2015 at the 120th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Countdown actions at the IPU also included speaking to the IPU Women’s Committee and a special tour of local health facilities with Parliamentarians.
The Countdown to 2015 Initiative tracks coverage levels for health interventions proven to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. It calls on governments and development partners to be accountable, identifies knowledge gaps and proposes new actions to reach the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.

Links between the Countdown initiative and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

The Countdown 2008 Conference took place in conjunction with the 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 13-18 April.
At the end of the Countdown Conference 2008, all participants — including Parliamentarians — signed a statement of commitment to continue working on MNCH issues. In addition, the Speaker of the House of the Ethiopian Parliament (host country of the 120th IPU Assembly) committed to continue this work during the 2009 Assembly in Addis (5-10 April).

Planned agenda

The following high-level addresses highlighted maternal, newborn and child health at the 120th IPU Assembly Plenary session on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 from 12:00 H to 13:00 H.

 High-level Speakers

  • Dr Tedros Adhanom – Minister of Health, Ethiopia and Co-chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
  • Dr Nicholas Alipui – UNICEF director of Programmes – on behalf of Countdown Partners
With the speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, Mr Teshome Toga chairing the session, the following presentations brought country actions to the discussions.


Speaker: Hon. Jean Kapata, Caucus Chairperson and member of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare Country Countdown and the recently created Parliamentary Caucus on Children highlighted findings from the recent IPU/SIDA (&PMNCH) mission to Zambia, which focused on the analysis and role of the Parliament in the oversight of ODA, especially for maternal and child health.
Speaker: Senator Barbara Contini
Sen Contini presented the process followed in Italy by a group of 10 women parliamentarians (led by Sen Rossana Boldi) to develop and present a draft bill in Parliament. The draft bill presents the case for increased international aid from Italy, particularly targeting MNCH.
The two case studies were followed by a debate and interventions from the floor.

More information will follow on the IPU/Countdown Special Session at the 120th IPU Assembly.

Inter-Parliamentary Union web site