Report delivered by Erika Forster-Vannini, Speaker, Council of States, Switzerland
The women Speakers of parliament concluded their Sixth meeting held on 16 and 17 July in the Swiss Parliament by adopting the Bern Initiative for Global Parliamentary Action on Maternal and Child Health, an eight-point plan for action to:
- Advocate the development or strengthening of gender-equitable national health action plans addressing family planning, skilled care during delivery, and emergency care;
- Review and, where required, enact legislation ensuring that the national legislative framework is aligned with international treaties, does not discriminate against women and girls, ensures their effective access to care, protects women from all forms of gender-based violence and children from abuse, violence and neglect;
- Hold debates and dialogues in parliament on women’s and children’s health alongside the discussions on the budget;
- Commission reports on the impact the budget will have on the achievement of MDGs 4 and 5 and introduce gender-sensitive budgeting;
- Advocate fulfillment of international official development aid commitments and ensure that all official international aid is provided through the national budget adopted by parliament;
- Monitor the implementation of the budget from the perspective of MDGs 4 and 5;
- Undertake visits to facilities in the country and hold public hearings in parliament with the participation of women and children to assess the impact of health legislation, policies and budgets; and
- Promote women’s empowerment by all means.
I strongly encourage all of you to join me and all the women Speakers in taking action for women’s and children’s health and in implementing the Bern initiative in its 8 points of action.
Full text of the Bern Initiative for Global Parliamentary Action on Maternal and Child Health [PDF]