Women Deliver 2016: the Third-i take-aways

+ 01/07/2016

From 16 – 19 May, the Third-i team attended the triennial Women Deliver conference. The fourth edition was held in Copenhagen and left us with many ideas and information that we’ll definitely apply to our work!

For Third-i, the conference was a busy period, as we focused on our work around the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality, which took part of the European and Central Asian Caucus. Third-i also worked on a stakeholder dinner on

In the meantime, we handpicked our favourite topics that definitely got our attention in Copenhagen:

1. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a lot was achieved but more is to come.

The SDGs were one of the most frequent topics at Women Deliver that spilled over into most discussions. And while the SDGs definitely seem to be a step in the right direction, their successful and effective implementation will be the key to achieving greater success than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals.

One of the key elements of the new SDGs is their enshrined universality, as well as the recognition that each sub-goal is interconnected with the rest. And if there is one thing that we will definitely remember from this edition of the conference, it is the huge role that women and girls play, not just for achieving gender equality and improved maternal health, but also for tackling climate change and global poverty, improving innovation and justice, and leading towards a more sustainable world.

Interested to know more? Check out the A Girls’ and Women’s Lens on the SDGs and Making the SDGs Work for Girls and Women: Regional Perspectives plenary sessions from Women Deliver 2016.

2. Youth is ready to provide the solution – but needs your support as well!

We are left in awe of all the young advocates that we had the chance to see speak at the conference. The reality is that, despite the image of the spoiled Millennial, young people can and should be the driving force for a change. Youth is the subject of the SDGs, especially in terms of making their health a priority, but they must also be empowered to take charge themselves.

Interested to know more? Check out the iDeliver: Be Girl Innovations, the Inspire Interview: Yemurai Nyoni and the Young Midwives Take The Lead – From the WD2016 Midwives Preconference sessions from the conference.

3. Europe: Not just a donor.

The SDGs and their enshrined universality also allowed to unveil the numerous problems Europe is facing when it comes to access to maternal healthcare, gender equality, employment rights and motherhood. Indeed, Europe is facing different challenges but those must not remain untackled or the continent risks to remain stagnated when it comes to fulfilling their share of the SDGs.

The Women Deliver conference shone a light on the topic, particularly with the Central Asia and Eastern Europe Caucus. To know more about the main organisers, check out this link.

4. Contraception: unmet need meets information gaps.

Contraception is one of the essential things that both men and women should have access to if they want it: did you know that spending $1 for contraceptive services reduces the cost of pregnancy related care by $1.47? (Read more about that here)

The conference brought to light all the different contraceptive products that women (and men) already have at their fingertips – ranging from the female condom, to IUDs to new non-hormonal gels. If only there weren’t all these practical barriers to access, all over the world to different extents.

We also spoke about the future of contraception, for women AND men.

Unfortunately, the men in the were left with little hope that there will be any choice for them in the near future besides from very short-term (condoms) to very long-term (vasectomy). We believe a shift in culture, research and policy at local, national and international level is necessary to keep pushing this topic.

5. In the end, improving the global status quo of women will only take place if different stakeholders work together.

It may be the stakeholder engagement aficionados in us, but we were absolutely thrilled to see so many different groups, actively participating and committing to a common cause. It was great to connect with so many people and we intend to maintain this momentum. The spirit of the conference definitely convinced us that there is a lot of will to achieve an improvement, and as a team, we do like to live and work by the motto ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way!’

If you want to keep the momentum after Women Deliver 2016, do keep this useful 10-step guide at your desk!

Interested to know more? Some useful infographics on women and sustainable development

Connect with us via engage@third-i.eu

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Learn more about the Third-i team and our work on maternal health and others on our website

Some impressions from Women Deliver: