By J C Suresh
TORONTO | NEW YORK (IDN) - UN member states committed themselves to the gender-responsive implementation of Agenda 2030 as the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) concluded on March 24 agreeing on a set conclusions, calling for stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing.
The Commission recognized women’s vital role as agents of development. It acknowledged that progress on the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of Agenda 2030 will not be possible without gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The conclusions agreed at CSW60 urge a comprehensive approach to implementing all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets through thorough integration of gender perspectives across all government policies and programmes. Eliminating all forms of gender-based discrimination depends on effective laws and policies and the removal of any statutes still permitting discrimination. Temporary special measures may be required to guarantee that women and girls can obtain justice for human rights violations.
Five targets if Goal 5 of the SDGs are:
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.
The Commission endorsed significantly increased investment to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Funds should be mobilized from all sources, domestic and international, ranging from fulfilling official development assistance commitments to combatting illicit financial flows that shortchange public resources for gender equality, the Commission resolved.
With humanitarian crises and other emergencies disproportionately affecting women and girls, the Commission underlined the imperative of empowering women in leadership and decision-making in all aspects of responding to and recovering from crisis. On the eve of the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24 in Istanbul, it emphasized prioritizing women’s and girls’ needs in humanitarian action and upholding their rights in all emergency situations. Every humanitarian response should take measures to address sexual and gender-based violence.
In his opening remarks at the launch of the Report for World Humanitarian Summit, titled ‘One Humanity: Shared Responsibility’, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on February 9, 2016: “We must also empower and protect women and girls. . . Education in protracted crises must also be given priority. No child or adolescent should be denied an education because they are in a crisis situation or because of a lack of funds.”
Members of the Commission united behind ensuring women’s equal participation in leadership at all levels of decision-making in the public and private spheres, encompassing governments, businesses and other institutions, and across all areas of sustainable development. Depending on different circumstances, this may involve establishing temporary special measures, setting and achieving concrete benchmarks and removing barriers to women’s participation.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka welcomed the agreement and the commitment of UN Member States to make the 2030 Agenda, adopted in September 2015, a reality in countries around the world. She said: “Countries gave gender inequality an expiry date: 2030. Now it is time to get to work. These agreed conclusions entrench and start the implementation of a gender-responsive agenda 2030 with which we have the best possibility to leave no one behind.”
Growing global commitment was already in evidence with a record number of more than 80 government ministers from around the world attending the Commission, UN Women said in a media release. Around 4,100 non-governmental representatives from more than 540 organizations participated as well, the highest number ever for one of the Commission’s regular annual meetings.
Given the major contributions to Agenda 2030 of civil society, including women’s and community-based organizations, feminist groups, human rights defenders and girls’ and youth-led organizations, the Commission welcomed open engagement and cooperation with them in gender-responsive implementation. It emphasized fully engaging with men and boys as agents of change and allies in the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.
To guide systematic progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the 2030 Agenda, the Commission stressed enhanced national statistical capacity and the systematic design, collection and sharing of high-quality, reliable and timely data disaggregated by sex, age and income. Members also agreed to bolster the role of national mechanisms for women and girls in championing their equality and empowerment.
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 March 2016]
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Photo: Closing plenary of CSW60 | Credit: UN Women