4 May 2015 // The 2015 meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will take place from 26 June - 8 July, in New York. The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development. The forum will debate the theme: "Strengthening integration, implementation and review - the HLPF after 2015". The International Disability Alliance (IDA) and CBM have prepared an official document to this third session of the HLPF, aimed at advancing the discussions on how best to review progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the overall post-2015 development agenda for persons with disabilities. This is an historic opportunity for the movement of the rights of persons with disabilities, as for the first time, persons with disabilities have been invited by the UN Secretariat to contribute to official documentation and to explore the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in the review and monitoring mechanism that will be established by the HLPF. The submission has been signed by more than 90 disability organisations. It will be translated into the UN languages and distributed to the member states.
27 April 2015 // In April 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the Guideline on Optimal Serum and Red Blood Cell Folate Concentrations in Women of Reproductive Age for Prevention of Neural Tube Defects. The guideline provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on blood folate concentrations in women of reproductive age to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in populations. It aims to help Member States and their partners in their efforts to make informed decisions on the appropriate nutrition actions to take to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular reduction of child mortality (MDG 4) and improvement of maternal health (MDG 5), through the establishment of appropriate threshold values for red blood cell folate concentrations at the population level.
23 April 2015 // On Saturday March 28, 2015, IF's Global Experts Panel held its second meeting, kindly hosted by Boston Children's Hospital. The aim of the meeting was to get better acquainted with each other's work, learn about IF and its Strategic Plan, and to establish a workplan. The panel also discussed the latest developments in the fields of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus treatment and in the area of prevention. Anne Molloy and Richard Finnell wrote a proposal to help the Bo Hjelt Foundation for Spina Bifida set research priorities with regard to the causes of Spina Bifida for the next 3 years. In 2015, the GEP will look into the possibilities of writing and publishing a Lancet Seminar or white paper on Spina Bifida. All panel members will be contributing to IF's next conference, eQuality, taking place in Italy, October 16-18, 2015, and the GEP will have its next meeting there.