What do you want the future to be?

It's an investment in the world's economic future—and its security. And all of us are needed to make a difference.

Sep 25, 2013 | Our Perspectives Archive

Seven million children will die this year of causes that can be prevented. Their three biggest killers: malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea.

Three hundred thousand women will die this year from complications during pregnancy and delivery that also can be prevented.
“In the 21st century, these deaths are unacceptable, and in the 21st century, we can do something about it,” says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
This is why the Secretary-General launched a global effort called “Every Woman Every Child.” Its goal is to encourage government, business and civil society to work together to save the lives of women and children. Partnership is essential because, as the Secretary-General explains, no single institution and no single country, no matter how powerful, can do this on its own.
To hear how they might get involved, 200 philanthropists from around the world gathered at J.P. Morgan headquarters in New York on May 17, 2013, at the Every Woman Every Child: Taking Action Summit. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke along with 16 other leading experts in this movement to raise awareness and save lives.
What the philanthropists learned is that significant progress has been made; that experts know what more needs to be done; and that the challenge now is to marshal resources and collective will.
Progress since 1990 has been dramatic:
  • Deaths of children under age five have declined more than 40% 
  • Maternal deaths worldwide have dropped by 47%
  • The end of pediatric AIDS is now in sight
Every effort matters. As Dina Dublon told her fellow philanthropists at the Summit: “A small difference to a very big problem is still a big difference to the people you affect.” Ms. Dublon is a board member of the charity, Global Fund for Women,  as well as on the boards of Microsoft, Pepsico and Accenture. 
 "Funding matters, but it is not simply a matter of throwing money at the issue. The poorest countries in the world have been able to cut their child death toll in half even as their GDPs remained low," said Dr. Nicholas K. Alipui, Director of UNICEF Programs.
Innovative thinking is required. Chelsea Clinton described her efforts at the Clinton Foundation to help bring down the cost of medicines to treat diarrhea and thereby increase access. “People are dying. We can help save them. Because we can, we should.”
Indeed, all the Summit speakers described being driven by the very real possibility of changing the future for the better—if an effort is made.   
A philanthropist‘s role is to act as a catalyst. “We philanthropists can make more of a difference,” said Jamie Cooper Hohn, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (UK), one of the largest private foundations in the world, who called on her fellow philanthropists to see their philanthropy as an investment.  
As Ms. Clinton put it: “This is not charity, it is an investment in our world’s economic future—and its security.”
To see videos of these and other speakers at the 2010 Taking Action Summit, and to read excerpts of their talks, visit the Every Woman Every Child: Taking Action website.    
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