Structure and Governance

UNFPA/Peter BruyneelCountdown to 2015 is a global, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration of academics, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations, with The Lancet as a key partner.  Countdown’s management structure has been designed to retain its supra-institutional quality, to enable transparent and effective decision-making, to facilitate efficient implantation of the Countdown workplan, and to harmonize managerial responsibilities among all partners. Based on structural decisions taken in 2011, Countdown’s structure is composed of the following groups: 

Countdown Consultative Group

The Consultative Group brings together more than 70 individuals and institutions from academia, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations.   Membership in the Consultative group is open to interested individuals and institutions with time to commit to Countdown activities.

Coordinating Committee

The Coordinating Committee is governed by two co-chairs, who are responsible for overall decision making and for providing strategic input and guidance to the Countdown workplan.  The Countdown co-chairs and sub-groups are accountable to the Coordinating Committee, whose approximately 20 members include representation from all the Countdown sub-groups. 

Leadership Sub-Group

The Leadership Sub-Group (LSG) has executive responsibility for all Countdown activities, including budgeting and fundraising. The LSG, which consists of the two co-chairs, Countdown’s technical focal point,  and representatives of the Scientific Review Group, Communications and Events Group, Country-Level Group, Profile Development Group, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).

Scientific Review Group

The Scientific Review Group (SRG) ensuring the scientific rigor and quality of all Countdown products. With membership including representatives from each of the Technical Working Groups and the Profile Development Group, the SRG reviews Countdown reports, profiles, articles, web materials, and other products in order to ensure their technical accuracy, provides direction and oversight for cross-cutting research, and engages with partners and stakeholders to identify opportunities for research and to promote the use of resulting evidence.

Profile Development Group

The Profile Development Group is responsible for development of the Countdown country profiles, ensuring that information presented is technically accurate and contains the most recent available data. Its work is conducted by the Statistics & Monitoring Section of UNICEF, working in close collaboration with each of the Technical Working Groups and with DevInfo.

Technical Working Groups

Countdown has four technical working groups (TWGs), focusing on Coverage, Equity, Health Systems and Policies, and Financing.  Each technical working group is populated by technical experts representative of the continuum of care, and is open to interested individuals with technical expertise and time available to commit to the work.  Each technical working group is led by two elected co-chairs, at least one of whom is from an academic institution; all TWG co-chairs are members of the Countdown Coordinating Committee, and one from each TWG serves on the SRG.   

Each technical working group develops and conducts analyses and write-ups for the Countdown report, profiles, and articles for publication; participates with other TWGs in cross-cutting research activities; and supports and facilitates country-level engagement.  

Communication and Events Group

The Communication and Events (C&E) Group works to promote the use of Countdown data and analysis by policy makers at the global, regional, and national levels. Co-chaired by Family Care International and PMNCH and with membership from a number of key international non-governmental organizations that focus on global health advocacy, the C&E Group organizes Countdown conferences and Countdown participation in key global, regional, and national events that offer advocacy opportunities, coordinates the Countdown website and production of Countdown publications, supports the development and dissemination of key Countdown messages and the distribution of Countdown products, and coordinates with the SRG on development of advocacy-related materials.

Country-level Working Group

The Country-level Working Group supports countries in utilizing Countdown data, methodological approaches, reports, and conferences as a means of catalyzing national progress and ensuring accountability. Working in close collaboration with the C&E Group, the TWGs, and the PMNCH Secretariat, this working group works to ensure the availability and utilization of Countdown tools and resources to assist countries in stimulating progress on the health-related MDGs and ensuring that governments and other stakeholders are held accountable for fulfillment of their commitments.

The Countdown Secretariat, which provides administrative and managerial support, is hosted by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).