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AWID and WEDO First Reflections on the President of the General Assembly's Special Event towards achieving the MDGs

"Despite all the expectation, the event was a missed opportunity" concluded AWID and WEDO in reference to the Special Event organized by the President of the GA on 25 September that fell short of meaningful political discussion and was weak on mentioning women's rights as a priority for a post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

New York, 26thSeptember 2013

Despite all the expectation, the event organized by the President of the GA towards achieving the MDGs that took place on 25 September at the UN was a missed opportunity. The afternoon session was poorly attended and roundtables seemed more of a round of statements. For us, the event did not provide an opportunity to have a meaningful political discussion, even if it was interesting to listen to diverse positions.

Many countries recognized the unfinished business of the MDGs, but little mention of the context of persisting multiple crises. What concerns us still is the lack of clarity as to how, and if, the post-2015 and post Rio+20 process will merge.

Only a few speakers referenced women’s rights specifically. Even more rare was the reference to women’s autonomy -including economic but also sexual and bodily autonomy- linked to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHRs).

WEDO and AWID mentioned the following points, which we reiterate as essential components for any post-2015 agenda:

  • Use a human rights framework and put women’s rights, gender equality and justice at the centre: this means addressing patriarchal power structures at play in the public and private spheres.

  • Women’s empowerment must include all dimensions of women’s autonomy including economic, political, sexual, reproductive autonomy and freedom from all forms of violence.

  • Sustainable development must also include advancement on key areas such as education across the life cycle; peace and security; health (including SRHRs); and meaningful participation of girls and women of all ages in decision-making.

  • Climate change and environmental instability must be addressed as visible symptoms of unsustainable production and consumption patterns and of prevalent short-term thinking that exacerbate existing inequalities.

  • The reform of International Financial Institutions and corporate accountability must be addressed along with the promotion of binding regulatory mechanisms for public-private partnerships.

  • The current neo-liberal economic model must be transformed to address the emerging challenges. This requires reformulating economic policy-making and indicators to reflect the value of people and planet.

  • Meaningful inclusion needs to be genuine with furnished, dedicated and valued space for diverse voices and movements, reaffirming existing Human Rights instruments and mechanisms for accountability.

Any global development partnership must involve women and feminist organizations, including from grassroots to international level that are, and will be, key partners in definition, innovation, implementation and monitoring of the post-2015 agenda. Meaningful participation requires resources and clear mechanisms of participation.

In solidarity,

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). Both WEDO and AWID are members of the Women's Major Group and the Post-2015 Women's Coalition.