March 10, 2010
Ambassador-at-Large Melanne Verveer Global Women’s Issues United States Department of State Washington, DC
We, the undersigned representatives of women’s, youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations would like to express our concerns on an important issue of mutual interest.
The 54th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women commemorates the 15 year review of the Beijing Platform for Action. A few days before the Conference ends, the Commission tabled a resolution on maternal mortality and morbidity. Member States must adopt a strong resolution that comprehensively reflects the needs of the 529,000 women dying annually due to pregnancy and childbirth-related causes and the over 15 million women suffering from complications, including severe morbidities and lifelong conditions.
Negotiations are currently underway for the resolution, tabled by the United States Government and other cosponsors, titled “Eliminating Maternal Mortality and Morbidity through the Empowerment of Women”. Any international initiative that seeks to eliminate maternal mortality and morbidity through the empowerment of women, adolescents and girls must address the root causes of gender inequality, violence against women, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, and promotion and protection of their human rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights.