Mother and child in Mali. U.K. Foreign Minister William Hague and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim have announced pledges and funding mechanisms to advance the rights and health of women and children. Photo by: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Women and children shared the spotlight at the 67th session of the U.N. General Assemblyon Tuesday, (Sept. 25). Among the announcements: new money to protect them from sexual violence.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague pledged 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) for the Office of the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The money will be used to support the work of U.N. experts addressing sexual violence in conflict-afflicted countries such as South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The U.N. advocacy group works with governments and various parties on issues surrounding conflict-related sexual violence and develops training manuals for countries’ national security forces to boost their capacity to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

Hague, who spoke at a side event on “Preventing Sexual and Gender-based Crimes in Conflict and Securing Justice for Survivors,” urged other leaders to “do the same.”

“Pledges can be made today,” he said. “They don’t all have to be for a £1 Million, but they can be.”

Hague also pledged to use the United Kingdom’s presidency of the G-8 next year to press world leaders for new commitments to tackle “this silent scourge of war.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, meanwhile, announced a new special funding mechanism aimed at boosting financial support for the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals at the Every Woman, Every Child event.

The mechanism would enable donors to scale up funding for maternal and child health. Details, however, have yet to be fleshed out.

“We will be talking with our IDA shareholders and other interested donors and partners in the coming weeks to agree on the best way to do this, together,” Kim said, who also identified the bank’s work to achieve “better outcomes” for money spent on health: increasing focus on maternal health, designing innovative programs linking financing to results, and helping countries put in place strong health systems.

“What will it take for all women and children [to] live healthy lives?” Kim asked at the end of his speech. Share your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #whatwillittake or leave a comment below.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.