CSW 57: From needs to rights post 2015

CSW 57: From needs to rights post 2015

Date: March 6, 2013
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New York, 6 March: Women from across the globe participating in the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW) 57 are demanding a Post 2015 Development Agenda that is all-inclusive, shaped and grounded in human rights.

Speaking at an NGO event in New York this week representatives from the Post-2015 women’s coalition called for the adoption of a development framework that places gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment at its core.

“The new development agenda must outline specific strategies to eliminate gender-based inequalities in all areas of concern to women, whether social development, health including sexual and reproductive health, economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security” reads one of the demands by the Post -2015 Women’s Coalition.

“Inequality must be understood and addressed from an intersectional approach, recognizing the ways in which multiple factors – including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and disability – can increase and compound discrimination and marginalization,” they add.

The groups are calling for a new development agenda that includes specific strategies to eliminate gender based inequalities in all areas of concern to women, whether social development, health – including sexual and reproductive health, economic development, environmental sustainability, peace and security.

The demands arise from consultations that have been taking place globally both at governmental and civil society levels since 2012 as the life span of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws to an end in 2015.

In Africa women’s groups meeting in Monrovia late last year recognised the significant advances made towards the achievement of the MDG’s. But they decried limited focus on the qualitative aspects of gender equality and women’s rights. They noted with concern the exclusion of critical development factors such as human capabilities, climate change and peace and security. Most importantly, they expressed their concern that the current framework has failed to effectively address horizontal and vertical inequalities within and across Africa.

Gender Links in its capacity as the secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol Alliance facilitated a cyber-dialogue on the post 2015 Agenda as part of the 16 Days of activism against Gender Based violence where it came out that there is very little information on the MDGs at grass root level.

A participant in the cyber dialogue from Swaziland bemoaned the lack of knowledge on the MDGS by local communities, “It Is important to interrogate whether most people at grassroots level even know what the MDG’s are about before we get into a discussion about the post 2015 Agenda.”

The country deliberations currently taking place come at a good time since the SADC Gender Protocol has become enforceable.

“The protocol enters into force ¡ following ratification by two-thirds of SADC member states. This advances the regional law from being a stated intention to actual application. The objectives of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development are to provide for the empowerment of women, eliminate discrimination, and achieve gender quality and equity through gender-responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects”, reads a communique issued after the annual meeting of ministers responsible for gender and women affairs in the region.

The MDG’s do not have a specific goal on ending gender violence. Targets mainly concern political participation and education – two areas globally in which women are doing relatively well. NGOs say that post 2015 it can’t be business as usual. They want the basic needs approach of the MDGs to be replaced by a rights- based framework.

Lucia Makamure is Alliance and Partnership officer at Gender Links. This article is part of GL’s special coverage of CSW 57.

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