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III. Coalition Demands
I. History of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
On December 31, 2015, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — a set of 8 goals adopted in 2000 to address global issues such as poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality, and access to water and sanitation — came to an end, with uneven progress toward achieving the goals.
The process to develop the post-2015 development agenda began three years before the MDGs expired. In 2012, during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (or Rio+20), Member States launched process to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post-2015 development agenda. After Rio+20, the UN System, Member States, civil society organizations and other stakeholders worked together through various processes to develop the post-2015 development agenda.
The post-2015 development agenda consisted of two processes coming out of the 2010 MDG Summit and the 2012 Rio+20 outcome documents. The MDG Summit requested the Secretary-General to initiate thinking on the global development agenda beyond 2015, while the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development initiated an inclusive process to develop a set of sustainable development goals through the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These processes were envisaged to be closely linked and ultimately converged in one global development agenda beyond 2015, with sustainable development at its core.
Advocacy around the post-2015 development agenda presented an opportunity for women’s rights and social justice organizations to help shape a development framework that could transform the lives of women and marginalized populations. The Post-2015 Women’s Coalition actively engaged with Member States, UN agencies, and other civil society organizations and stakeholders at each of the seven sessions of intergovernmental negotiations that took place from January to August 2015. (Find briefs on each of the sessions here.)
In September 2015, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, the 193 Member States adopted the post-2015 development agenda, including the 17 SDGs, with an outcome document titled “Transforming Our World, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” (Read the Coalition’s Response to the outcome document here.) The post-2015 development agenda, formerly adopted and now known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, builds on the MDGs in order to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
In the context of the SDGs and other processes, women’s rights advocates and social justice organizations continue to seek to highlight the nexus between gender equality, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and development, demonstrating how progress towards equality can lead to greater social, ecological and economic justice. These linkages are now widely recognized and feminist leadership and active participation are necessary to ensure that progress continues as governments implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
II. United Nations Processes
A number of UN processes were undertaken to define a road map for the 2030 Agenda. They include:
- The Secretary General’s High-level panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda convened by the UN Secretary General (SG), which was formed to guide the SG and the UN in shaping the post-2015 development agenda. The High-Level Panel submitted its report containing recommendations to the Secretary-General in May 2013.
- Global thematic consultations (World We Want web platform and My World global survey) organized by the UN Development Group (UNDG) were held. A total of 11 thematic consultations dealt with topics identified to be of particular importance to the post-2015 discussions, including: conflict and fragility; environmental sustainability; economic growth and employment; education; food security and nutrition; governance; health; inequalities; and population dynamics; and water and energy. In addition, national consultations in 88 countries were organized.
- The Secretary-General established the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. Chaired by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme, the team brought together the efforts of more than 60 UN agencies and international organizations.
- The post Rio+20 process led by governments, established the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals through decision 67/555 of the General Assembly. Beginning March 2013, the Open Working Group convened eight sessions under the facilitation of the Permanent Missions of Hungary and Kenya. These sessions dealt with issues ranging from infrastructure development to environmental protection to energy availability, and most notably women’s rights, equality and empowerment in the eighth session.
- An Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, consisting of 30 experts nominated by regional groups began meeting in August 2013. This Committee developed a report proposing options for an effective sustainable financing strategy in August 2014.
- A High Level Political Forum on sustainable development provides leadership and reviews progress on sustainable development. This Forum replaces the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
- The UN regional commissions held a series of consultations exploring the regional dimension of monitoring and accountability.
- The General Assembly hosted dialogues on technology facilitation, including four workshops on the subject of the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies in developing countries, and four one-day structured dialogues to consider possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism. A Technology Facilitation Mechanism, established by Paragraph 123 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and Paragraph 70 of the Post-2015 Development Agenda Outcome Document, was launched at the UN Summit in order to support the SDGs.
- The President of the General Assembly also organised six high-level events and thematic dialogues throughout the first half of 2014. These events focused on water sanitation and sustainable energy; women, the young and civil society; partnership; stable and peaceful societies; North-South, South-South, Triangular Cooperation and ICT; and human rights and the rule of law. A high-level stocktaking event in September 2014 served to bring the findings from these events together to provide inputs into the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” (December 2014), which outlined a vision for Member States to consider carrying forward in negotiations leading up to the UN Sustainable Development Summit.
- Finally, Member States participated in seven sessions of Intergovernmental Negotiations, co-facilitated by the Ambassadors from Kenya and Ireland, from January to August 2015.
Discussions that affected the 2030 Agenda also took place in other UN spaces, including the 20-year reviews of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD+20); the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (Beijing+20); as well as within the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Climate Summit.
III. Transforming the Global Development Agenda
During the initial stages in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Post-2015 Women’s Coalition made the following demands:
Be explicitly shaped by, and grounded in, human rights, including the principles of equality and nondiscrimination.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) , and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (CPR) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) among other international human rights instruments as well as international consensus documents, including the Declaration on the Right to Development, the Vienna Declaration on Human Rights, the ICPD Programme of Action, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, provide a clear normative framework for promoting and protecting women’s human rights and addressing gender inequality. They should form the non-negotiable basis of any post-2015 development framework.
Place gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment at its core.
The new development agenda must outline specific strategies to eliminate gender-based inequalities in all areas of concern to women, whether social development, health including sexual and reproductive health, economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security. Inequality must be understood and addressed from an intersectional approach, recognizing the ways in which multiple factors – including race, ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability – can increase and compound discrimination and marginalization.
Address the structural factors that perpetuate crisis, inequality, insecurity and human rights violations.
In the wake of the financial crisis, which has had a disproportionate and particular impact on women, feminists and others have proposed transforming policy responses and rethinking the mainstream development model to promote greater equality, equity, security and sustainability. To this end, a post 2015 framework must ensure that macroeconomic policies and the international financial system work to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
Be developed with the meaningful and substantive participation and leadership of women.
Women’s organizations and social justice groups working for gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment should be fully supported to meaningfully engage – at all levels of consultation. Grassroots women leaders from community-based organizations are key stakeholders in the development of a post 2015 development agenda and should be enabled to negotiate for their own development priorities throughout this process.
Ensure that economic interests are not allowed to override the greater aim of respecting human rights and promoting sustainable development through clear regulations.
Global partnerships should take into account the national capacities of states and not entrench inequalities through neoliberal reforms that leave countries struggling to meet their development objectives.
Ensure strong mechanisms for accountability within countries and at the international level.
Accountability should be universal, holding both northern and southern governments to account for their commitments to gender equality and women’s human rights. Robust financing for development is crucial. To this end, northern countries must be accountable to their ODA commitments, allocating 0.7% of GDP to development cooperation.
For more information on the development of the new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, please visit this website.