CSW 63 featured discussions on gender equality and the SDGs as part of its review theme on ‘women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development'.
In the set of agreed conclusions, the Commission recognizes progress made in women’s and girls’ access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure.
23 March 2019: The 63rd session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women (CSW 63) agreed on a set of conclusions on social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. These topics are all critical in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Beijing Platform for Action.
CSW 63 convened from 11-22 March 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The session focused on the priority theme of ‘social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.’ Nearly 2,000 Member State delegates and 86 ministers attended CSW 63 alongside 5,000 representatives from civil society organizations around the world.
CSW 63 featured discussions on gender equality and the SDGs as part of its review theme on ‘women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development,’ including on SDG 1 (end poverty), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). A panel on women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development featured presentations from Algeria, Cabo Verde, Honduras, Panama, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia. Honduras explained that it has mainstreamed gender equity in education, employment and health policies. Panama shared municipal-level poverty reduction projects and national-level initiatives for the SDGs, including development of a national strategy to remove barriers to women’s participation. Saudi Arabia highlighted efforts on gender-responsive data collection.
In the set of agreed conclusions, the Commission recognizes progress made in women’s and girls’ access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure. The Commission welcomes increased coverage of social protection, improved women’s and girl’s access to essential health services, and increased numbers of girls in school. At the same time, the Commission stresses the need to tackle remaining gender gaps and biases in social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure, and it expresses concern about persistent poverty and rising inequalities.
The Commission calls for greater coordination and policy coherence across sectors to ensure that social protection, public services and infrastructure policies complement each other’s objectives, functions and financing to harness synergies and avoid trade-offs in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The conclusions further support: recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work by ensuring access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions; and guaranteeing the availability of safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, including for menstrual hygiene, in homes, schools, refugee camps and other public places.
The set of agreed conclusions address a number of other topics related to the priority theme and gender equality, including: the need for gender-responsive approaches to the design and implementation of social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure; the need for tailored policy and institutional responses to address discrimination; and the importance of accelerated investments and greater financing from all sources to leave no woman or girl behind. Conclusions further address: strengthening the normative, legal and institutional environment; addressing gender gaps and biases in social protection; transforming public services for gender equality and women’s empowerment; making infrastructure investment work for women and girls; mobilizing resources, strengthening accountability and improving evidence.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the agreed conclusions “pave the way for governments to engage and invest differently; involving women in policy dialogue, and targeting initiatives that go to the heart of the largest barriers to the empowerment and voice of women and girls.”
According to PassBlue, negotiations on the conclusions were very contentious, with delegates debating terms including “family,” “gender” and “sexual health.”
A strategy launched by several UN and NGO partners aims to accelerate the repeal or revision of discriminatory laws in 100 countries by 2023.
Numerous side events convened throughout CSW 63. An interactive session on gender statistics highlighted the importance of data disaggregation to ensure no one is left behind. Speakers also called for enhancing availability of gender statistics and their use. CSW Vice Chair Mohammed Marzooq (Iraq) stressed that “significant gaps in gender statistics remain,” observing that information is available for less than 25% of the indicators required to monitor gender-specific elements of the 2030 Agenda. Panelists also shared their experiences in promoting data disaggregation and use.
UN Women, the African Union (AU), the Interparliamentary Union (IPU), Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Secretaría General Ibero-Americana, and other UN and NGO partners launched a multi-stakeholder strategy on equality in law. The document titled, ‘Equality in Law for Women and Girls by 2030: A Multistakeholder Strategy for Accelerated Action,’ focuses on six thematic areas: comprehensive reforms; economic empowerment; minimum age of marriage provisions; ending gender discrimination in nationality laws; addressing discriminatory rape laws; and promoting equality in family relations. It aims to accelerate the repeal or revision of discriminatory laws in 100 countries by 2023.
UN Women also launched guidance for integrating gender into infrastructure development in Asia and the Pacific. [UN Press Release on Outcome] [UN Women Press Release on Outcome] [UN Meeting Coverage of Panel on Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development] [UN Meeting Coverage of Panel on Priority Theme] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on CSW 63 Opening] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Gender Statistics]