Participants at the Stakeholders' Forum on ‘Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,' organized by UN Women, called for a stand-alone gender equality goal and for integrating gender equality issues across all future goals in the post-2015 development agenda.
9 December 2013: Participants at the Stakeholders’ Forum on ‘Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,’ organized by UN Women, called for a stand-alone gender equality goal and for integrating gender equality issues across all future goals in the post-2015 development agenda.
The forum, which took place from 4-5 December 2013, reviewed progress for women and girls on all the MDGs and discussed lessons learned to accelerate MDG achievement for women and girls.
In her opening remarks, Lakshmi Puri, UN Women, recommended a transformative gender equality goal that: ends violence against women and girls, including changing attitudes and behavior; ensures equal access to opportunities and resources, including decent work, education, energy, health and water and sanitation access and control over land; and promotes voice, leadership and participation from household to international levels. She emphasized gender equality as a precondition for achieving child and maternal health goals and said progress on water and sanitation, among other issues, is critical to ensure women’s dignity, health and safety.
Six panels focused on: factors, policies and strategies that limited or facilitated MDG progress for women and girls; a comprehensive approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment; accountability and collaboration, including through women’s participation in designing policies; investments in gender equality and measuring progress; youth, women and older women’s perspectives on the MDGs; and the way forward.
On implementation, participants highlighted: impacts of macro-economic environments on gender equality; and barriers to progress, including climate change, conflicts, as well as weak institutions, governance and accountability systems.
Participants supported, inter alia: promoting a rights-based approach; involving communities, boys and men; mainstreaming gender across sectors, including climate change, transportation and water and sanitation; and ensuring voices of specific groups of girls, disabled women and rural women.
Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the UN, highlighted two lessons learned from the Arab region on fostering gender equality: focusing on education and awareness-raising; and closing the gaps between legislation and implementation. Reem Hassan, Minister of Social Development, Jordan, described Jordan’s merit-based judge selection process, which increased appointments of female judges. Clara Makungwa, Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development, Malawi, described Malawian gender equality efforts, including a law on increasing access to education for all.
Summarizing the first day, John Hendra, UN Women, noted strong support for a stand-alone gender equality goal and for integrating gender equality across goals, particularly on partnerships and sustainability. He said the MDGs did not address “structural drivers of gender inequality,” such as unpaid care work, violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights, which impeded progress on all goals.
Closing the forum, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, called for mutually-reinforcing processes, such as ensuring that reviews of the MDGs and Beijing+20 inform the post-2015 agenda. She said the events that converge in 2015 “represent the opportunity of a century,” and stressed investing in women will “create far reaching social and economic progress and freedom for all.”
The two-day forum brought together representatives from Member States, women’s organizations, youth and academia, with the aim of fostering common ground on issues to be addressed at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58), which will take place under the same theme. [UN Women Press Release] [Puri’s Statement] [Hendra’s Statement] [Mlambo-Ngcuka’s Statement] [UN Women Press Release on Panel]