Draft Agreed Conclusion as of March 21

Adopted by consensus just after midnight. Click here for the text              Good Shepherd Statement Click here

How does the text compare with recommendations made to the Commission in the written statement submitted by Good Shepherd?   Acceleration in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved now by:

  • Reallocating resources;
  • Cutting down on military expenditures and redirecting them to the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Addressing the debt issue. (According to data from the World Bank, in 2010 alone, developing countries paid out $184 billion on debt service, or about three times the annual resources required for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals);
  • Implementing and allocating a financial transaction tax for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • Honouring official development assistance already pledged but not paid;
  • Implementing the full spectrum of girls’ and women’s human rights according to international human rights mechanisms and agreements, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime;
  • Implementing Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009), 1960 (2011) and 2106 (2013) on preventing all forms of violence against girls and women;
  • Implementing International Labour Organization recommendation No. 202 on national floors of social protection, the Declaration on the Right to Development and the Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights;
  •  Implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

With regard to reallocating resources we made 4 suggestions – two sources were referred to and two were not.  There is no mention of cutting down on military expenditures and no reference to the potential sources of revenue that can be gained from Financial Transaction Tax.   The agreed conclusions make reference to debt and official development assistance (ODA)

There are 4 references to debt.  Paragraph 21 The Commission expresses deep concern about ‘indebtedness’ in some countries and widespread fiscal strains that pose challenges for global economic recovery…  Paragraph 22 recognize that the long-term sustainability of debt depends on (my interpretation) business as usual model – ‘export prospects of debtor countries’ and ‘sustainable debt management’.  There is no hint of any structural transformation nor any mention of Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Paragraph 17 states that ODA remains inadequate to the task. Further austerity measures have impacted women and girls negatively. Paragraph 23 The Commission recognizes significant underinvestment  in gender equality and the empowerment of women  … that limits progress on the MDG’s for girls and women of all ages.  …It stresses that the available resources, through domestic resource mobilization and ODA, and their allocation remain a concern and are often inadequate to the task. Paragraph 25 has references to national machineries for the advancement of women and the need to endow these machineries  with the necessary human and sufficient financial resources to enable them to function effectively.

Under the heading ‘Maximizing investment in gender equality and the empowerment of women’ on page 21 (v) reads increase and ensure the effectiveness of financial resources across all sectors to achieve gender equality … through mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including domestic resource mobilization and allocation and increased priority to gender equality in ODA, and the creation of voluntary innovative financing mechanisms, as appropriate. Finally (z) reads increase resources and support for grassroots, local, national, regional and global women’s and civil society organizations to advance and promote gender equality.  What support are your receiving from your government to operate services promoting gender equality?

The weakness in all these references in the agreed conclusions is that no concrete funding has been identified for implementation of any aspects of the MDG’s.

The second set of recommendations concern girls’ and women’s Human Rights.  In the draft of February 4th, 2014 there was no mention of the Convention on the Rights of the Child nor the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, Especially Women and Children.  I am happy to see them in the agreed conclusion.   The full list of Security Council Resolutions were names including the latest one 2122 (2013) that was passed after submission of the statement.  The Commission also added relevant Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict. Of course, CEDAW and  the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remain central to gender equality.  However during the negotiations some member states were invoking ‘sovereignty’ at national level in relation to the implementation of women and girls human rights?

Lastly, while ILO Recommendation 202 on national floors of social protection was not named there are six references to social protection. In paragraph 10 (MDG 1) notes the lack of access of people living in poverty to social protection and pensions.  Paragraph 12 (MDG 3) notes insufficient social protection and insurance coverage for women.  In the section under Realizing women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights (g) social protection is named as a way of addressing the multiple and intersecting factors contributing to the disproportionate impact of poverty on women and girls over their life cycle.   In (n) universal social protection is promoted and (o) prioritizes social protection policies  and lastly (r) that in crises funding for essential services and social protection systems be promoted.

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