“It’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world and to think about how you can start to make a difference, even when you’re a kid.”
The Women's Major Group presents its analysis and response to the United Nations Secretary-General's
The Women's Major Group presents its analysis and response to the United Nations Secretary-General's Report “Th
I have just returned from Colombia. A beautiful country, with an ugly decades old conflict.
The following short summary of the contents of the report was prepared by UN-NGLS:
Using the Rio+20 Conference outcomes as the cornerstone for the post-2015 process, the synthesis report brings together inputs from Member States, the entire UN system, experts, a cross-section of civil society, business and millions of people from around the world. It seeks a future free from poverty, built on human rights, equality and sustainability [para 18]. The report urges that now is not the time to succumb to political expediency, or to tolerate the lowest common denominators. The new threats that face us, and the new opportunities that present themselves, demand a high level of ambition and a truly participatory, responsive and transformational course of action [para 20].
The report spells out the necessary four components for a realistic yet ambitious outcome from the UN Summit on Sustainable Development:
An inspirational vision made plain in a declaration;
A practical plan for that declaration, laid out in an integrated set of goals, targets and indicators;
Adequate means to implement the plan and a renewed global partnership for development;
A framework to monitor and review implementation to ensure promises made become promises delivered.
To bring about a truly universal transformation of sustainable development, the Secretary-General's report makes a number of key recommendations, including the necessity to commit to a universal approach; to integrate sustainability in all activities; to address inequalities in all areas; to ensure that all actions respect and advance human rights; to address the drivers of climate change and its consequences; to base the analysis in credible data and evidence; to expand the global partnership for means of implementation to maximum effect; and to anchor the new compact in a renewed commitment to international solidarity.
The report identifies six essential elements to frame and reinforce sustainable development:
Dignity - to end poverty and fight inequalities; [para 67]
People - to ensure healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children; [para 69]
Prosperity - to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy; [para 72]
Planet - to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children; [para 75]
Justice - to promote safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions; [para 77]
Partnership - to catalyse global solidarity for sustainable development. [para 80]
The importance of enabling civil society participation is highlighted in the report
Several paragraphs in the report draw attention to the need to ensure strong participation of civil society, including:
para 78: An enabling environment under the rule of law must be secured for the free, active and meaningful engagement of civil society, and advocates reflecting the voices of women, minorities, LGBT groups, Indigenous Peoples, youth, adolescents and older persons.
para 123: We must establish effective modalities for multi-stakeholder cooperation and sharing the costs for Research, Development, Demonstration and Diffusion for new technologies across all stakeholders: public, private, civil society, philanthropic, and other sectors, inclusive of indigenous knowledge.
para 129: Executive institutions, parliaments and the judiciary will need the capacity to perform their functions in this endeavour. Also, institutions of civil society must have the capacity to perform their critical, independent role.
para 145: If we are to succeed the new agenda must become part of the contract between people, including civil society and responsible business, and their governments, national and local. [...] Empowered civil society actors, through action and advocacy, must rally to the cause, and contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.
para 149: National accountability: It would be built on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad multistakeholder participation, including national and local governments, parliaments, civil society, science, academia and business.
A call to action
"The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet," the Secretary-General states at the conclusion of Section 1 of the report. "I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfill their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength." [para 25]
The final report will be available in all six UN languages by 31 December 2014.
In early January 2015, the Secretary-General will formally present the report and further discuss it with Member States.
Read the Secretary-General's statement about the report here:
Watch a video of the Secretary-General's briefing about the report here.
For more information, please visit here.
Sally L. Kitch explores the crisis in contemporary Afghan women's lives by focusing on two remarkable Afghan professional women working on behalf of their Afghan sisters. Kitch's compelling narrative follows the stories of Judge Marzia Basel and Jamila Afghani from 2005 through 2013, providing an oft-ignored perspective on the personal and professional lives of Afghanistan's women. Contending with the complex dynamics of a society both undergoing and resisting change, Basel and Afghani speak candidly--and critically--of matters like international intervention and patriarchal Afghan culture, capturing the ways in which immense possibility alternates and vies with utter hopelessness. Strongly rooted in feminist theory and interdisciplinary historical and geopolitical analysis, Contested Terrain sheds new light on the struggle against the powerful forces that affect Afghan women's education, health, political participation, livelihoods, and quality of life. The book also suggests how a new dialogue might be started in which women from across geopolitical boundaries might find common cause for change and rewrite their collective stories.
Go to: http://www.go.illinois.edu/F14KITCH for more information.
The following short summary of the contents of the report was prepared by UN-NGLS:
For December, in which Chad has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Afghanistan, DR
On 19 November 2014, the Security Council held an open debate on threats to international peace and security caused b
Expert Group Meeting: Envisioning women's rights in the post-2015 context
Go to: http://www.go.illinois.edu/F14KITCH for more information.
This paper from Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 addresses concerns that the sex of individuals is being used as a signifier to designate people as militants in drone strike targeting decisions and post-strike analysis of casualties.
The immense social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change and loss of essential ecosystems are becoming clear. Their effects are already being felt in floods, droughts, and devastated landscapes and livelihoods. Among those most affected are the women and girls, given the precariousness of their livelihoods, the burden of securing shelter, food, water and fuel that largely falls on them, and the constraints on their access to land and natural resources. As the global community grapples with the challenges of sustainable development and the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2014 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development asserts the central role of gender equality. It charts the rationale and the actions necessary to achieve sustainable development.
Linking gender equality with sustainable development is important for several reasons. It is a moral and ethical imperative. Efforts to achieve a just and sustainable future cannot ignore the rights, dignity and capabilities of half the world's population. To be effective, policy actions for sustainability must redress the disproportionate impact on women and girls of economic, social and environmental shocks and stresses. Finally, women's knowledge, agency and collective action has huge potential to improve resource productivity, enhance ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and to create more sustainable, low-carbon food, energy, water and health systems. Failure to capitalize on this would be a missed opportunity. Women should not be viewed as victims, but as central actors in moving towards sustainability.
The World Survey does not attempt to cover the exceedingly wide range of aspects of sustainable development. It identifies a select range of issues that are fundamental to women's lives and are strategic for achieving gender equality and sustainability. It analyses patterns of growth, employment generation and the role of public goods; food production, distribution and consumption; population dynamics and women's bodily integrity; and water, sanitation and energy.
Three criteria are employed to assess the likelihood of policy actions achieving gender equality. Do they support women's capabilities and their enjoyment of rights? Do they reduce, rather than increase, women's unpaid care work? And do they embrace women's equal and meaningful participation as actors, leaders and decision-makers?
The World Survey 2014 is a serious and thoughtful contribution to our understanding of how gender equality relates to sustainable development. This is a resource that strengthens the hands of policy actors in different parts of the world – whether in government, civil society, international agencies, or the private sector. It is my firm hope that it will lead to policies and actions that enhance gender equality and the full enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights.
The World Survey will be presented to the General Assembly in October 2014.
This report is based on interviews with more than 46 witnesses and victims of Boko Haram abductions in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states, including with girls who escaped the April 2014 abduction of 276 girls from Chibok secondary school. Their statements suggest that the Nigerian government has failed to adequately protect women and girls from a myriad of abuses, provide them with effective support and mental health and medical care after captivity, ensure access to safe schools, or investigate and prosecute those responsible for the abuses.
For November, in which Australia has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Darfur, Gu
On October 28, 2014, the Security Council held its annual open debate on Women, Peace and Security w
The General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Members States on ways and means of promoti
This paper from Reaching Critical Will and Article 36 addresses concerns that the sex of individuals is being used as
ISIS: Sexual abuse and violence in Iraq
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced”
The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 14th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 1325 (2000). The expected theme of the open debate is forcibly displaced women. Open debate statements and any outcome should address the full spectrum of the women, peace and security agenda as it relates to the impacts, challenges and agency of forcibly displaced women. It is important to ensure the full and equal participation and consultation with refugees and IDP women. Any discussion on the challenges faced by women IDPs and refugees should be linked to the necessity of advancing women's participation in peace, political, and security processes to address the myriad issues affecting them and ensure lasting conflict mitigation and/or resolution.
Policy and research on the role of firearms in women's lives usually stress women as victims of gun violence. Around the world, firearms are used in roughly 40 per cent of the estimated 66,000 annual homicides with female victims. Guns are even more commonly used to injure, intimidate, and coerce women (Alvazzi del Frate, 2011, pp. 117, 131-132).
Although women own and use guns, or live in households where firearms are present, firearms policy and research tend to focus on the role of and effects on men, who are the majority of firearm owners worldwide (Alvazzi del Frate, 2014, p. 2).
While relevant data is scarce, it reveals a substantial gap between male and female civilian firearm owners and users. As shown in this Research Note, women account for a smaller proportion of gun owners than men, and they are not as aware of or not as willing to acknowledge the presence of firearms in homes and communities.
Bridging this gender gap will help shed light on perceptions of and attitudes towards firearms, which could help to inform the agenda for women, peace, and security as well as the development of comprehensive and efficient safety policies. By showing what can be said with relative certainty, this Research Note establishes a baseline for systematic analysis and careful policy-making.
ISIS: Sexual abuse and violence in Iraq
After leading attacks in Syria, the armed jihadist group Islamic State (better known as ISIS or IS) has captured international attention in recent months for its bloody offensive and rapid rise in northern Iraq. One of the features of its modus operandi has been the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, which has been widely denounced by the UN, human rights organisations and local women's groups. ISIS has been accused of perpetrating savage acts of sexual violence against thousands of people, the vast majority of them women and adolescents of both sexes, including mass kidnappings and rape, the forced marriage of women and girls to the group's combatants, situations of sexual slavery and the sale and purchase of women considered war trophies, among other practices.
The minorities of Iraq have been the main victims of this violence. According to a joint statement by the UN Secretary-General's special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, and the special envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, by mid-August around 1,500 people from Yazidi and Christian communities had been forced into sexual slavery. A recent report by Amnesty International detailing the persecution of the minorities of Iraq by ISIS described some forms of abuse to which the group is subjecting women and girls, noting that some of its victims that have been raped or forced to marry their captors have committed suicide. According to various analysts, the group is deliberately using sexual violence as a strategy to instil terror, strengthen its control, destabilise conquered communities and stigmatise the female victims of abuse in a context where women are considered the repository of collective honour.
In addition to sexual violence, the women of Iraq have suffered (and in many cases continue to suffer) from othereffects of the advance of ISIS. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes in search of shelter, exposing themselves to situations of extreme vulnerability and even dying of hunger and thirst, as happened to the Yazidi population that fled to Sinjar Mountain in August. In the territory where the armed jihadist group has established control, it has imposed a strict code of behaviour and dress that does not allow women to leave home unaccompanied by a man from their family and forces them to fully cover themselves in public places. Those that do not comply with these restrictions risk being publicly beaten. Cases have also been reported of women forced to convert to Islam. In addition, evidence suggests that ISIS has executed many women, including one accused of adultery, two others that had been candidates in the recent elections in Iraq and the lawyer and women's rights activist Sameera Salihal-Nuaimi, who was tortured and executed in public after criticising ISIS for destroying heritage in Mosul. The United Nations has received information on the summary trials and executions of women and has warned that educated and professional women are especially likely to suffer violence at the hands of the group.
Given this situation, Iraqi women's organisations have called on the international community to take action against ISIS. The Iraqi Women Network (IWN), which brings together 90 women's groups, made a special appeal to the UN Security Council, the CEDAW Committee and the Human Rights Council to act to secure the condemnation of the barbaric practices of ISIS, which may be classified as crimes of genocide. Specifically, the IWN requested the creation of an international committee to investigate the situation of women in territories controlled by ISIS, the adoption of measures to free women and children held by the armed group, the protection of displaced women and their families, the provision of urgent humanitarian aid and medical assistance to the victims of ISIS and the protection of witnesses to abuse.
Meanwhile, women have also organised and demonstrated locally. In different cities around the country, including several in the province of Anbar where ISIS has consolidated its position, groups such as the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) are working to provide shelter, food and medical attention to women that have been raped or that have fled their homes due to the violence of ISIS. With no intention to understate the seriousness of the jihadist group's crimes, some voices have stressed that violence against women in Iraq did not begin or end with ISIS, but lies along a continuum that has characterised the turbulent post-invasion scene in the country. Thus, they have drawn attention to the hypocrisy of some authorities that now warn about ISIS but did not act to stop gender violence over the last decade despite continued complaints by Iraqi women's organisations.
[Please see PDF on top right for other articles, including "Forced Displacement in Syria" and "Subcommittee on gender in the peace negotiations in Colombia".]
In 2009, women from different ethnic, political, social and religious backgrounds, sexual orientations and identities came together in order to reinforce women's demands for peace in Turkey and the Middle East, and to struggle against warmongering policies. They thus formed the Women for Peace Initiative.
The activities of the Initiative may be summarized as follows: We focus on working against racism, discrimination and war, as well as spreading the demand for peace across different parts of the society. We try to ensure women's equal participation both as observers and as active parties in peace talks/negotiation processes being carried out in order to resolve conflicts. We pressures those in power to put into effect international agreements, methods, tools and procedures that would enable and support the equal participation and representation of women and other marginalized populations in said processes.
The Women for Peace Initiative also carries out activities regarding the negotiation process that began between the State of Turkey and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) in January 2013. The Initiative produced and published a report based on the contacts and observations it made throughout the year 2013, with both the parties of the war, and with those who have been affected by this war in different ways, as well as the sections of society that have been victimized. Attached you may find the English and Kurdish versions of the "Report on the Process of Resolution" prepared by the Women for Peace Initiative.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is publishing this report, Are We Listening? Acting on our Commitments to Women and Girls Affected by the Syrian Conflict, to do more than bear witness to the suffering of Syrian women and girls caught in a protracted regional conflict.
Policy and research on the role of firearms in women's lives usually stress women as victims of gun violence.
The Security Council is expected to hold an open debate to mark the 14th anniversary of the adoption of resolution 13
2015 will be a significant year, encompassing the adoption of the post-2015 development framework, the 15th anniversa
The inter‐governmental negotiations of the Post‐2015 Development Agenda is entering a critical stage.
Infographic of Select Quotes on Gender Equality
For October, in which Argentina has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Haiti, Iraq
The General Debate of the 69th session of the General Assembly was held on 24 -30 September 2014.
On 24 September 2014, forty-eight speakers, predominantly heads of state, unanimously adopted SCR 2178 in a summit pr
VOICES FROM UKRAINE: CIVIL SOCIETY AS A DRIVER FOR PEACE
With the Pacific region having one of the lowest numbers of women in parliament and local government the scheduled el
World leaders come to the UN this week to dialogue, to debate and to decide policy.
For September, in which the United States has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Middle East, South Sudan, and Sudan. The MAP also provides recommendations on counterterrorism, and the ongoing implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
As a network of peacebuilding organizations, constituted regionally and with a global reach, GPPAC's position on the post-2015 process is based on a shared concern over the unfinished aspects of the MDGs and the economic policies that have caused or exacerbated human displacement, human insecurity and conflict. Through their practice, GPPAC member organizations have actively engaged in building locallybased mechanisms for mediating social tensions, generating early warning and supporting early action, and empowering socially excluded groups such as women, youth, minorities, displaced persons and the poor.
GPPAC's network is committed to the pursuit of equality and dignity for all, and firmly believes that the realization of peaceful and stable societies goes hand-in-hand with the establishment of a more just international economic system. The mutual dependency between sustainable economic growth and peace is well established,i and for progress to be made in either issue, it is vital that the post-2015 agenda reflects the values of both. Countries with higher levels of peace tend to experience faster economic growth with higher levels of social harmony and be more resilient to external shocks, whether they are economic, geopolitical or natural disasters.ii
As peacebuilding organizations, we are pleased to see that efforts have been made to put people at the centre of sustainable development and to strive for a more just, equitable and inclusive world, including for those living under foreign occupation. We particularly welcome the inclusion of a Peace Goal and gender justice in the Outcome Document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and the tackling of several driving factors of conflict throughout the document, as highlighted below. However, the document as it is now, does not go far enough.
VOICES FROM UKRAINE: CIVIL SOCIETY AS A DRIVER FOR PEACE
This report provides context and analysis on the current political and security landscape in Ukraine. It examines the relationship between women and men in conflict and provides an in-depth analysis of civil society. The report concludes with several recommendations for the situation.
Currently, Member States, the UN system, civil society organizations, academia, private sector and businesses, research institutions and other stakeholders around the world are engaged in various processes to negotiate a new global framework for sustainable development - the post-2015 development agenda. Cognizant of the pitfalls of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the lack of focus on realizing women's rights in the goal of promoting gender equality and women's empowerment, it is essential that the future development agenda be explicitly shaped by, and grounded in human rights, economic justice, peace and environmental sustainability to ensure gender equality, the realization of women's rights and women's empowerment.
• Ratification (as necessary) and Implementation of existing international commitments on gender equality, women's and girls' rights and empowerment, including CEDAW, ICESCR, ICCPR, Beijing Platform for Action, UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), and require application on the basis of non-retrogression, progressive realization, and common but differentiated responsibilities as overarching principles;
• Human rights accountability for non-State actors, including through the review of international financial institutions and other private sector entities and transnational corporations by human rights entities such as the Universal Periodic Review, Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States, CEDAW and its Optional Protocol and other international and regional human rights mechanisms;
• Financing for human rights and gender equality, which requires gender budgeting throughout the proposed goals, targets and indicators with dedicated gender equality funding. Critical to this is prioritization of public financing, reforms in taxation, reduction of military budgeting and spending and identification and utilization of other mechanisms to secure resources for the diversity of actors engaged in development, human rights and peace work, especially women's organizations and movements;
• Reform the current economic system, in a way that development agenda and economic polices recognize women as workers, agents of economic growth, as well as their traditional skills and knowledge for livelihoods for ensuring food security for all. Reforms should also include commitments on provision of universal social security to all, guarantee individual access, control, ownership and management of productive resources for sustainable livelihoods for women, and ensure gender sensitized and accountable development initiatives, policies and programmes;
• Reform of international financial regulatory systems, which should reflect the needs of people at their center; develop policies and implement concrete initiatives, such as gender budgeting, and set goals with the recognition that women and men do not share the same realities and experience economic crises differently;
• Substantive change to tax systems, to ensure that corporations make significant contributions to sustainable development and the communities that sustain them, and are informed by the different realities and experiences of women and men, i.e., tax policies that support families and women's workforce participation;
• Full and equal participation of women at all levels within public and private institutions, through recognition, redistribution and reduction of the unequal burdens women face because of unpaid care work as well as strengthened mechanisms with adequate funding for the participation, mobilization and creation of an enabling environment for women-led civil society;
• Create a global partnership, which ensures the provision of commensurate safeguards for the protection and promotion of human rights above private sector interests, particularly in the area of natural resources, land and water grabs;
• Ending militarism, ensuring freedom from gender-based violence and discrimination, which are critical to the achievement of sustainable development, must be addressed through identifying links between military spending, the prevalence of small arms, impunity, and violence against Women Human Rights Defenders.
Achieving gender equality requires examining root causes of inequality and finding ways to overcome them. One cause of inequality is militarism. Excessive global military spending feeds into a vicious cycle of societal instability, creating an unsuitable environment to pursue gender equality. We get what we pay for. An overtly strong military presence creates insecurity. Thus demilitarisation and disarmament are essential components for achieving gender equality.
To address this situation, legislation needs to be changed, as well as social attitudes and norms. For this, there needs to be serious political and financial commitment. While vast sums are spent on militaries, weapons, and waging war, funding gaps still remain in crucial areas such as women's economic empowerment, family planning, Women, Peace and Security, and women's participation and leadership. In 2013 the world's total military expenditure was estimated to be 1.747 trillion USD. It is difficult to put an exact number on the cost of achieving gender equality, as many different aspects need to be factored in.
Some conservative estimates assume that funding gender equality, as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), would cost only a small fraction of the world's military spending.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is publishing this report, Are We Listening?
Currently, Member States, the UN system, civil society organizations, academia, private sector and businesses, resear
In 2009, women from different ethnic, political, social and religious backgrounds, sexual orientations and identities
As a network of peacebuilding organizations, constituted regionally and with a global reach, GPPAC's position on the
On 8 September 2014 the UN Security Council held an open debate on Children and Armed Conflict.
For September, in which the United States has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in
For September, in which the United States has the presidency, the MAP provides recommendations on the situations in A