Written by Joann Lee
On 4 December 2014, the UN Secretary-General Synthesis Report on the post-2015 development agenda was released, which aimed to pull together input from all strands on post-2015. Although the Report affirms the 17 goals proposed by the General Assembly Open Working Group—including gender equality and peaceful societies—it frames them within the context of six “essential elements” that promote regressive standards in relation to existing international commitments by further weakening Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) issues such as gender, militarization, and conflict and diluting the overarching human rights framework. Overall, the consideration of peace and conflict in the Report is far from transformative as it fails to recognize the intricate connection of militarism with gender inequality and violence. The promotion of a violence prevention approach is necessary to address the major gap in the Millennium Development Goals on peace. Therefore, for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be truly transformative and ensure sustainable development, demilitarization, disarmament, and an integrated approach of gender issues and security reform are imperative.
UN Photo/Patricia Esteve
As negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda enter their final stage, member states must ensure a progressive, holistic approach: security reform processes must include gender-expertise planning and women's greater participation in decision making at all levels in peacebuilding, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, reconstruction and in the delivery of justice; strong financing requires that military spending be reduced and redirected to gender-equitable social spending; effective monitoring and implementation entails linking SDG reviews to existing human rights, disarmament and WPS agenda reporting mechanisms such as CEDAW, UPRs, WPS global reviews, and the Arms Trade Treaty; and true equality and development necessitates a human-rights based approach that strengthens existing human rights commitments, such as the Resolution on Women Human Rights Defenders, and identifies and addresses root causes of gender inequality. Therefore, we call upon member states and stakeholders to promote discussions to ensure true transformation and development during the upcoming negotiations in 2015, including UN PGA High-Level Thematic Debate in February, the Beijing+20 / Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March, the post-2015 negotiation sessions in March – May, the Intergovernmental negotiations in June – July, and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July.