As with many of the SDGs, Goal 6 has significant implications within the borders of Canada. The requirement to ensure universal and equal access to drinking water and sanitation resonates most loudly for indigenous communities. As of July 2015, Health Canada reported 133 drinking water advisories in 93 First Nations communities.
When men accompany their partners to prenatal visits and attend at birthing, the women report a much more positive experience, according to our commissioned study, Men Matter. When men share in the housework and rearrange certain duties or workloads to accommodate their pregnant or breastfeeding partners, the couple's relationship strengthens and the household becomes a happier place.
In September, I take up my new responsibilities in Geneva, Switzerland as Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament. The UN reflects the dreams and aspirations of not just Canadians but of the world. My new role will allow me to address global challenges from a different perspective than I've had at Plan Canada, but as I prepare to leave I reflect on a few proud accomplishments that bolster my confidence and hope for the future.
In the coming months, a unique alignment of global events has the potential to fuse together leadership, partnership, commitment, and action for nutrition that could change the lives of millions. The opportunity is right in front of us if we are courageous enough to seize it.
Millions of women in the Philippines could become the economic market that Canada wants and live freer, more prosperous lives if they were given access to healthcare with the autonomy to decide how many children to have, when to have them, and how to have them safely.
Canada made a concerted effort to end malaria deaths in this country a century ago and is now supporting efforts to do the same around the world as part of leadership on MNCH. I'm optimistic that the discussion around 'no missed opportunities' will help move us much more quickly towards a world free of preventable deaths among women and children and one free of diseases like malaria.
2015 promises to be a transformative year on the international development front and is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on a noteworthy milestone. The United Nations enters its 70th year -- and like some 70-year-olds, the beleaguered UN has found new vigour and relevance in people's lives, with Canada playing a role in some noteworthy accomplishments.
I recently travelled more than 6,500 kilometres to see our tax dollars at work. What I saw were lives being saved for less than the cost of a cup of takeout coffee. All Canadians should be proud.
Some six million children under the age of five die every year and there are still nearly 300,000 maternal deaths annually. It all comes down to the political will and necessary funds to make it happen. Canada is a recognized leader in both. In May, Canada committed a further $3.5 billion over five years to help eliminate these unnecessary deaths.
The officials revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was about to announce that Canada would renew its five-year $2.85-billion commitment to saving the lives of mothers, babies, and children who die needlessly from preventable causes around the world every year. After we digested that, there were lots of smiles in the room.