Reviewing Goal 5 at HLPF!

SDG 5SDG 5 – ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’  is one of the goals to be reviewed during this session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).  The Women’s Major Group is a recognized entity contributing to the HLPF.  Good Shepherd is a member of this group.   Earlier this group prepared a  POSITION PAPER

Do read the executive summary – two pages ‘ Gender inequality (SDG 5) is one of the most pervasive inequalities, evidenced by numbers of women living in poverty (SDG 1); discriminatory laws/policies targeting women, including
unequal inheritance or criminalization of abortion (SDGs 2, 3); predominant unsustainable industrial agriculture/fisheries models pushing out small farmers and artisanal fisher people, majority of whom are women (SDGs 2, 14); and reduction/elimination of essential services and infrastructure women and girls rely on, such as education/health services and social protection (SDGs 3, 9).”  The paper looks at 5 issues – Women’s Human Rights, Meaningful Participation, Civil Society Space, Finance and Accountability.

How does this compare with the the thematic review of SDG 5?   Link to Thematic Review     I attended this two day review in June – Expert Group Meeting on Strategies to Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls through the Gender-responsive Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development     I added my piece to the discussion – as various forms of violence were raised but not human trafficking.  See towards the end marker 2.52.40

See the other Webcasts:  Part 1; Part 2 above; Part 3  Reviewing these Webcasts will give you some idea of the complex and multi-faceted issues that affect women and girls and how important it is to connect the dots and see the inter-linkages across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and in particular SDG 1, 2, 3, 5, 9,14 and 17 as being reviewed this year.

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The side event for the Women’s Major Group:

WMG Side Event

Zonta presents:

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There is a very interesting website Women Thrive  hosting a National SDG Advocacy Scorecard Results.  The score card is in English and French

 

What was achieved at CSW 61?

CSW61_ClosingSession_Mar2017__RB_0460_675x450 (002)(Closing of the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.                   Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown)

UN Women sees the Agreed Conclusion as a Roadmap to women’s full and equal participation in the economy Press Release

The Commission on the Status of Women 61st session ended on Friday afternoon March 24th with Agreed Conclusion – a consensus document on ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.’ This in itself is an achievement.  The document is not yet published and was presented on Friday as an informal paper in English only. The negotiation of this document is an arduous work (the Australian delegated noted it was 107 hours of discussion) and its accomplishment is the result of long hours of discussion and negotiation, into the early hours of the morning each day of the second week.  A good overview of the situation can be had by listening to the UN TV  Webcast of the closing session.  It is about one and a half hours.  By listening to the webcast you will see how issues that affect  women and girls is highly political and fraught with all sorts of qualifications captured in the phrases such as according to ‘national laws’; ‘social norms’ does not enjoy global consensus   …. and the terms ‘sexuality’ is not acknowledged in national law or jurisdiction by a large number of member states nor in International law; express reservations on all principles that are not in accordance with the spirit of Islamic law. Another expression was that anything in the text of the agreed conclusion not in line with national laws is null and void and not applicable.  The Australian delegate noted that the discussion and link between SRHR and economic empowerment was profitable in coming to a process of understanding.  The Holy See interpreted the concept of ‘gender’ as being grounded in a person’s male or female biological sex, not in social constructions

The EU was largely disappointed with the outcome which it saw as an interpretation of the outcome rather than an negotiated outcome. Three issues were noted – limiting of the  space of CSO’s and NGO’s; the link between women’s economic empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) could be stronger by better references to the human rights component essential to gender equality; and emphasis on national policy space limited ambition and some language reflects the stereotypical role of women and girls and does not contribute to their empowerment and independence.  Despite this the EU will continue to work more to build consensus.

Here is the link to the US explanation of Position on Agreed Conclusions at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The person who chaired the negotiations is Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), Vice-Chair (African States Group)   In her address she mentioned the main pillars towards women’s economic empowerment – education, legal measures, socio-economic measures, giving voice to women, achieving financial independence.  The document is 20 pages long and will be published in all 6 languages of the United Nations.  Seven pages use the following words to introduce paragraphs: reaffirms (6 times), reiterates, (2) recognizes, (16) emphasizes, acknowledges, (3) takes note, strongly condemns, expresses it concern, (5) reiterates its concern, recalls, (2) welcomes, and urges.

Reaffirms – the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action will make a crucial contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to women’s economic empowerment; commitments to gender equality and the empowernment of all  women and girls made at relevant UN summits and conferences; that the promotion and protection of, and respect for, the human rights and fundamental freedom of all women and girls,  including the right to development , which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and iterated, are crucial for women’s economic empowerment…; that the realization of the right to education, as well as to access to quality and inclusive education, contributes to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; the importance of significant increased investment to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and and girls.

Strongly condemens – violence against women and girls in all its forms in public and private spaces, including harassment in the world of work, including sexual harassment, and sexual and gender based violence, domestic violence, trafficking in persons and femicide, among others, as well as harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and recognizes these are major impediments to the achievement of women’s economic empowerment, social and economic development…

Expresses it’s concern – about the continuing significant gender gaps on labour force participation and leadership, wages, income, pension and social protection and access to economic and productive resources; structural barriers  including discriminatory laws and policies, gender stereotypes and negative social norms, unequal working conditions as well as about the growing high incidence of informal and non-standard forms of employment in many regions; occupational segregation; that the feminization of poverty persists; over the persistently low wages earned by women workers;

Reiterates it’s concern – over the challenge climate change poses to the achievement of sustainable development and that women and girls are often disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

The document is divided into the following sections:

  • Strengthening normative and legal frameworks
  • Strengthening education, training and skill development
  • Implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment
  • Addressing the growing informality of work and mobility of women workers
  • Managing technological and digital change for women’s economic empowerment
  • Strengthening women’s collective voice, leadership and decision making
  • Strengthening private sector role in women’s economic empowerment

The text was revised a number of time in the lead up to the opening of CSW 61 and during the formal negotiations of the two weeks.  In the initial text presented by the CSW61 Bureau there was a strong call for implementation of national floors of social protection – here is the reference:    (m) Establish universal social protection floors, in line with ILO Social Protection Floors recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), as part of national social protection systems to ensure access to social protection for all, including workers outside the formal economy, and progressively achieve higher levels of protection in line with ILO social security standards; (Based on E/CN.6/2017/3, para 49 (o))”  but this reference to ILO R 202 has not remained in the final version.

There are a number of references to social protection systems, social protection and pensions, social protection policies and in one instance including floors and ‘extending social protection and wages that allow for an adequate standard of living’… ‘without reductions in labour and social protections.’

w. Optimize fiscal expenditure for gender-responsive social protection and care infrastructure, such as equitable, quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education, child care, elder care, heath care, care and social services for persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV and AIDS, which meet the needs of both caregivers and those in need of care, hearing in mind that social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality, supporting inclusive growth and gender equality;

x.  Work towards establishing or strengthening inclusive and gender-responsive social protection systems, including floors, to ensure full access to social protection for all without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to progressively achieve higher levels of protections including facilitating the transition form informal to formal work;

Argentina speaking on behalf of Latin American countries did reference social protection as important to women’s economic empowerment.

See UN Meeting Coverage and Press Releases

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Youth leaders address the opening meeting of the 61st Session of the                        Commission on the Status of Women

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On The Brink of CSW61!

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The Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session will open officially on Monday morning March 13th at  10.00 am in the UN General Assembly Hall. The NGO’s will start with Consultation Day on Sunday March 12 from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 in the afternoon.  Already participants are beginning to arrive delegates from the various member states and groups of women from all over the world.  8,600 people have pre-registered to attend – a record number.  Yesterday afternoon the Chair of the Commission H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), gave a final briefing to NGO outlining what is planned.  Of particular interest to me was information on the current status of the outcome document.  The first reading is completed.  Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), is the chair for the negotiations.  This first reading was based on the compilation text of February 28   We are awaiting a new version based on the first reading.

This years’ CSW  is breaking new ground addressing the issue of women’s unpaid care work.  It was noted that there is a lot of similar language and common ground  in a document that went from 6 pages to over 70 pages.

During the briefing I made two observations: one in relation to social protection and the second about girls.  There are over 31 references to social protection systems but only two times is there reference to  social protection floors.  We need implementation of social protection floors as a tool towards women’s economic empowerment as social protection systems are tied to employment.  I asked that this be noted in the ongoing negotiations.  Secondly, there are multiple references to girls but always tagged to women … ‘girls and women’ or ‘women and girls’ but there is no stand alone paragraph on empowering girls through education as the surest way of empowering the women of the future.

There are many references to ending trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation .. noting that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labour, services and other forms of exploitation, and recognizing the link between migration and trafficking in persons.

 

 

Day of the Girl 2016 at UNICEF

UNICEF sponsored an event on October 11th and I am happy to be able to share with you.  Livestream   After the opening addresses by Mr Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF and Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director and Under Secretary General of UNFPA there are two amazing girl ambassadors from Africa

satta-3– Satta Sheriff from Liberia (in the picture with me) and Rebeca Gyumi from Tanzania.  Do listen to them!   Satta is a member of the Children’s Parliament in Liberia while Rebeca lobbied her Government to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age of marriage in Tanzania to 18 years in July of this year.  Suman Shakya spoke about a new way of collecting data in Nepal and Karen Peterson from the USA was promoting STEM subjects for girls.

 

Watch and sing along with the Global Girls Film

Prayer Service for the International Day of the Girl October 11, 2016

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Building a New Humanity through Universal Values
Prayer Service for the International Day of the Girl Child
prepared by Sister Taskila Nicholas, Province of Central East India/Nepal    English   Spanish  French
Join in solidarity with girls in India and Nepal.  Think of the girls who are refugees and migrants.  Remember girls who are trafficked and prostituted.
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https-cdn-evbuc-com-images-23846713-125948501937-1-original October 11, 2016 at the United Nations in New York  3.00 -5.00 p.m.

  Global Day of Action  Good Shepherd are Partners

Global Day of Action #GlobalDayofAction9am-5pm Twitter Chat Schedule ET
9-10am – UN Women @UN_Women #GirlsTakeover #IDG2016
10-11am – #BuildOn Build On @buildOn
11am-12pm – #TeamGirl @wagggs_world
12:30-2pm – Girl Scouts of the USA @girlscouts
3-5pm – Working Group on Girls #GirlsSpkOut @NGOWGG

Global Day of Action Partners:
UN Women @UN_Women
Plan International @PlanGlobal
PROGRESS @PROGRESSCMU
Girl Scouts @girlscouts
Girls Coalition @GirlsSWPA
Build On @buildOn
Working Group on Girls @NGOWGG
Loretto Community @LorettoattheUN
Dominican Leadership Academy @dlcngoun
Salvation Army @SalvationArmyUS
School Sisters of Notre Dame @School_sisters
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd @GSIJP @winifreddoherty
Anglican Council of Churches @ACOffice

In solidarity with our Mission Partners in Syria and Lebanon – English/Spanish/French

georgette-2These days at the United Nations we are discussing much about the situation of Refugees and Migrants in preparation for the High Level Summit for Refugees and Migrants taking place on 19 September, 2016.  I want to ask you to join me in solidarity with our sisters and mission partners in Syria and Lebanon in what is a desperate situation for them and their people.  Sr. Georgette Tannoury, our NGO Regional Designate for ESCWA (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) prepared the following Powerpoint. Let us be in solidarity with them and indeed with all refugee and migrant peoples throughout the world.   Open Powerpoint

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En estos días, en las Naciones Unidas, estamos discutiendo mucho sobre la situación de los Refugiados y de los Migrantes en preparación para la Cumbre de Alto Nivel que se llevará a cabo el 19 de septiembre de 2016.  Deseo pedirles que se unan a mí en la solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y compañeras de misión en Siria y Líbano en lo que es una situación desesperada para ellas y su gente.  La Hna Goergette Tannoury, designada regional de nuestra ONG para la CESPAO (Comisión Económica y Social para Asia Occidental) preparó el Powerpoint que sigue. Tomemos posición junto a ellas y, por supuesto, con todas las personas refugiadas y migrantes en todo el mundo.        Abra Powerpoint

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Ces jours-ci à l’ONU nous discutons beaucoup sur la situation des réfugiés et des migrants pendant la préparation du Sommet de haut niveau pour les réfugiés et migrants qui a lieu le 19 Septembre 2016. Je veux vous demander de vous joindre à moi, en solidarité avec nos sœurs et partenaires de la mission en Syrie et au Liban, dans ce qui est une situation désespérée pour eux et leur peuple. Sr Georgette Tannoury, notre désignée régionale ONG pour la CESAO (Commission économique et sociale pour l’Asie occidentale) a préparé le Powerpoint suivant. Soyons solidaires avec eux, avec tous les réfugiés et populations migrantes dans le monde entier.   Ouvrez Powerpoint

 

 

Girls Ambassadors from Ireland share their stories and experiences #childrenfirst

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Minahil and Natasha from Zimbabwe and Pakistan  shared their experiences and called for action.  Minahil and Natsha  arrived in Ireland some years ago and are passionate advocates for refugee children around the world. Listen to the interview.

They also spoke at the Vigil on Sunday evening.

Good Friends and ardent child activists were present.  Captured in the crowd was Leymah Gbowee who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.   She addressed the people gathered towards the end of the vigil.