Skip to main content

setting goals on women's issues

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women in NY dedicated their monthly meeting in  November 2013 to updates on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Moderator,  Bani Dugal, Principal Representative, Baha’I International Community to the UN,  introduced the session by reminding us that there is much at stake for women in the post- 2015 development agenda, which will shape the UN and its policies for many years to come. We all must work to insure that this agenda includes safeguards to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Anita Nayar, chief, UN- NGLS (UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service), gave an overview of the intergovernmental process developed for setting an inclusive agenda.  A primer was developed and included reaching out to all stakeholders for inputs, dialogue and written reports before the priorities for Post-2015 are set. Consultations have been extensive featuring high level, regional, countrywide, civil society, and business meetings to name a few. She described the process in great detail and all the reports that have been drafted.

Lopa Banerjee, Chief of the Civil Society Section of UN Women, went on to give a history of the parallel tracks discussed prior to  setting the year 2000 development agenda when the MDGs and Beijing Platform for Action were on the table. Ultimately the MDGs got funded but NOT the BP4A. UN Women and all their constituency groups are determined NOT to let that happen again. Hence there is a strong push to have a stand-alone gender goal built into the Post-2015 Agenda.

The expert group which met in the Fall of 2013…  many months before CSW58… raised four key points:

1 MDG progress related specifically to women and girls has been slow and uneven. While education enrollment for women and girls is up, there are no quality controls built in. In addition there has been NO progress in maternal mortality goals.

2 The targets for women and girls were narrow and not at all ambitious.

3 MDG Goal #3 : PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN had no financing included and no evaluation process built in.

4 Post-2015 must bring back a human rights focus.

Why then must there be a stand-alone gender goal? First of all, we must address the structural causes of women’s lack of equality.  Some of the issues that must be considered are violence against women and girls, lack of access to financing, insuring voice in leadership and decision making in public institutions AND in the household. In addition a stand-alone goal is crucial to promoting and monitoring equality. They must get governments to commit to policy standards and to providing funding and the next few months of negotiation are an important window of opportunity. This goal would provide a blueprint for action and move the conversation out of the halls of the UN and back to the countries, the regions, and the grassroots.

UN Women will be holding a major two-day Stakeholders’ Forum in early December 2013, which will consist of five inter-active panel discussions and one closing session where participants from different institutional backgrounds and a range of experiences will engage in dialogue, highlight key areas for future work and commit to further action. Each panel will identify specific expectations for CSW58. Finally, each panelist is encouraged to present one concrete result/outcome for CSW58. A report from this Forum will be published on the web and contribute to the preparations for CSW58.

Madeleine Brecher, ICJW Representative to the UN/NY.