High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to Contribute to SDGs
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of a High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment, which aims to mobilize concrete action on gender equality and provide specific recommendations for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).

The Panel is supported by the UK and the World Bank Group.

United Nations21 January 2016: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of a High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, which aims to mobilize concrete action on gender equality and provide specific recommendations for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all). The Panel is supported by the UK and the World Bank Group.

Ban announced the Panel at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on 21 January 2016. The Panel’s Co-Chairs are Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica, and Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO of IKEA Switzerland. The panel will include a gender and equality actors, economic experts, academics, trade union leaders, business and government representatives from all regions, the UN notes.

Ban said progress on gender equality was insufficient through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment and full inclusion in economic activity remain in place. In order to achieve the SDGs, which are even more ambitious than the MDGs, he said “we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.”

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, if women in every country play an identical role to men in markets, as much as US$28 trillion will be added to the global economy by 2025. UN Women notes, however, that women continue to earn less, have fewer assets, bear the burden of unpaid work and care, and have their work concentrated largely in vulnerable and low-paying activities.

UN Women said the new Panel will promote women’s leadership in driving sustainable and inclusive economic development, and recommend key actions that can be taken by governments, the private sector, the UN system and other stakeholders, as well as policy directives needed to achieve the SDGs’ targets and indicator.

The High-Level Panel will hold its inaugural meeting during the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 60) in March 2016. A series of regional consultative meetings will also convene, and the Panel’s first report with action-oriented recommendations is expected to be issued in September 2016. UN Women will host the Panel’s independent secretariat. [UN Women Press Release] [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Story on CSW 60 Preparations]


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