Pacific Humanitarian Partnership Meeting Puts Focus on Women and Children in Disasters

Two hundred people involved in disaster response across the region are gathered in Suva for the annual Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meeting where the impact of disasters on women and children has been on the agenda today. The meeting was addressed by HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan on the role of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) programs in building resilience to disaster and climate change.

“Humanitarian crises put every woman and every child at grave risks. Women and children are 14 times more likely to die than men in disasters. Meeting the humanitarian and protection needs of women and children is therefore a critical priority for emergency managers and donors,” Princess Sarah said.

Princess Sarah is a global maternal and newborn health advocate who has championed the inclusion of humanitarian priorities in the UN Secretary General’s ‘Every Woman Every Child’ global strategy.

“The worst rates of preventable mortality and morbidity among women, adolescents and children occur in humanitarian settings, with 60 per cent of preventable maternal deaths and 53 per cent of under-five deaths taking place in settings of conflict, displacement and natural disasters. This is a critical consideration in a disaster-prone region like the Paciifc,” Princess Sarah said.

Recognising the real and potential impacts of climate vulnerability on health systems as an immediate challenge in the Pacific, Ministers from Pacific Islands Countries this week issued a Kaila for strengthening climate resilience. The Kaila highlights the imperative of RMNCAH interventions in building resilience to climate change and disaster.

“The Kaila is a call to ensure the Pacific’s voice is heard in global conversations on climate change and disaster,” Princess Sarah said.

Participants at the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific regional consultations earlier this year called for a greater commitment to incorporating the specific needs and strengths of women, into disaster responses.

“As we ramp up to the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May 2016, there is a keen commitment to ensuring the gender-related recommendations, including those on reproductive health, are turned into real action,” Sune Gudnitz, Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Regional Office for the Pacific said.

“The humanitarian work being done under the Every Woman Every Child Strategy is critical in boosting this momentum and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is keen to ensure this piece of work is reflected in the Secretary- General’s report and the summit outcomes,” he said.

“With a strong El Niño now threatening 11 Pacific countries and placing up to 4.7 million people at risk, these the health and safety of women and children must be a priority consideration for humanitarian partners over the months ahead.”

The PHP Meeting wraps up this afternoon. For more information on this year’s PHP agenda visit:

What is Every Woman Every Child?

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010, Every Woman Every Child is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world. The movement puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which presents a roadmap on how to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children. For more information about the Every Woman Every Child visit: