June 22 – UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – Strategic Plan, 2011-2013

On Monday June 27 UN Women will present their first Strategic Plan to the Executive Board for approval.  This strategic plan, 2011-2013, sets out the vision, mission and priorities of the organization in supporting Member States and the United Nations system. The mission statement of UN-Women reads “grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the composite entity will work for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, the composite entity will lead and coordinate United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide strong and coherent leadership in support of Member States’ priorities and efforts, building effective partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors.” (A/64/588, para. 5).

The strategic plan will be reviewed in 2013.  The plan contains three interrelated components: (a) a development results framework, (b) a management results framework, and (c) an integrated resources framework.

The plan has outlines 6 goals (1) to increase women’s leadership and participation in all areas that affect their lives; (2) to increase women’s access to economic empowerment and opportunities, especially for those who are most excluded; (3) to prevent violence against women and girls and expand access to survivor services;  (4) to increase women’s leadership in peace and security and humanitarian response; (5) to strengthen the responsiveness of plans and budgets to gender equality at all levels. (6) The sixth goal involves support for a comprehensive set of global norms, policies and standards on gender equality and women’s empowerment that is dynamic, responds to new and emerging issues, challenges and opportunities and provides a firm basis for action by Governments and other stakeholders at all levels.  The complete document is available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=UNW/2011/9    

I invite you to become familiar with these 6 goals and to consider which ones you are addressing in your ministry – women’s and girl’s leadership and participation; women’s and girl’s economic empowerment; preventing violence against women and girls.  Is your ministry in a conflict or post conflict zone?  Has your government implemented gender sensitive budgeting?  One main focus of UN Women is to support UN Member States – that is your government.  Are women’s rights at the center of your your national plans?

June 20 – Preparation for The Commission on the Status of Women – 56th Session February 27 – March 9, 2012

The theme for the Commission on the Status of Women, February 27 – March 9, 2012 is ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.’  A preparatory expert panel on the priority theme was held during the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Thursday, 24 February 2011.  You can read the various presentations at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/55sess.htm#panel2012 or view the webcast.  These presentations are entry points into the theme. 
In the Moderator’s summary the following is stated in paragraph No 2 “It is estimated that 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty live in rural areas.  The large disparities in wellbeing that exist between urban and rural residents throughout the world are a consistent cause of concern.  They affect the opportunities, resources and services available to women and girls in rural areas in significant ways.” 
Paragraph 11 calls for promoting rural women’s equal access to resources and social protection measures. “Providing women with equal access to production resources, assets and markets – in law and in practice – is key to their economic empowerment and to overall rural development and economic growth.  Specific policies to reduce gender inequality in access to all productive resources, including land, financial services, agricultural inputs, technology, education, training and information are needed.  In addition, social protection measures should be developed that take into account rural women’s needs.”
Good Shepherd will be preparing a statement for the Commission over the next few months and I would like to invite you to share your experiences and opinions as to what should be in the statement. One policy that GSIJP Office will be actively promoting towards the empowerment of rural women will be implementation of ‘The Social Protection Floor’ at national level. You can take a first step in supporting this initiative by signing on to the campaign at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/signature-campaign-social-protection-floor.html   
Can we around the world, present in 72 countries move to take a ‘corporate stance’ on ‘The Social Protection Floor’?  How can you facilitate all the members in your networks to sign on to the campaign?  Signing the campaign is a first step.  The second step is to lobby at national level for the introduction and implementation of ‘The Social Protection Floor’ in your country.  To do so you may need to build your knowledge base about the Social Protection Floor.  What questions do you have about it?  Submit your comments, ideas and suggestions in the space below.

The Social Protection Floor

Here at United Nations in New York many aspects are coming together around a common theme – POVERTY ERADICATION.  Already some of you have been involved and contributed to a consultation on the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Right.  The Commission for Social Development will have it annual session February 1-10, 2012 with the priority theme of ‘Poverty Eradication.’   The Commission for the Status of Women will have its annual session February 27 – March 9, 2012 with the theme of ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.’  From June 4-6, 2012 the RIO+20 Conference will take place and while it has two themes the first will focus on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.  There is a particularly good website for this conference where you can find a lot of helpful material.   http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?menu=14       
The big theme is POVERTY ERADICATION and it has many components: a human rights dimension, effective global and national policies, rural women, the green economy, and sustainable development.  These are the issues that we can glean from the themes of the various conferences.  Each is multifaceted and complex but in a sense they all address our congregational directives seeking to address systemic and structural injustices through the United Nations. 

Outcome documents, resolutions and conventions from the United Nations are only effective if awareness is created about them and they are translated into national legislations and become part of national planning, have budget allocations, are implemented and followed up with monitoring and evaluation at national level.

The NGO Committee for Social Development is launching a signature campaign around a poverty eradication policy called the Social Protection Floor Initiative. This is a joint UN effort coordinated by the International Labour Organizations (ILO) and the World Health Organizations (WHO) and supported by numerous UN agencies, international NGO’s, development banks and other partners. A short explanation of the key elements of the Social Protection Floor and the opportunity to sign on the campaign can be accessed at   http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/signature-campaign-social-protection-floor.html

I am sure there are may question that you would like to ask?  Why not take this opportunity to ask them by using the response box below.  Consider the following questions and share with us your ideas.
What is your understanding of the Social Protection Floor?  Does your government talk of the Social Protection Floor?  What one thing can you do to promote the Social Protection Floor?

Some interesting reading about The Social Protection Floor is posted on the ILO site  http://www.ilo.org/Search3/search.do?searchWhat=The+Social+Protection+Floor&locale=en_US