Thursday, March 1, 2012

Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women 2

Thank you Chair for the invitation to make an intervention in this rich debate on behalf of Hivos, a Dutch development agency. I am speaking also on behalf of the other Dutch NGO’s with ECOSOC accreditation attending this 56th CSW, which in their turn represent many other women’s rights organizations at home.

To start I would like to recall our excitement in 2008 that the M word, Money, was on the CSW agenda. Gender equality requires money and investments and so Money Matters indeed.

The Agreed Conclusions of CSW 52, finalised behind closed doors in the night after the closing ceremony, did not meet our expectations at all.

Women’s rights organizations in the Netherlands and Europe, having been present at the CSW 52, issued a statement, expressing their deep concerns that there were no meaningful commitments in the Agreed Conclusions related to financing for gender equality. No concrete targets and timetables and no strong mechanisms for effective tracking and monitoring of financial resources spent on gender equality.

Instead of scaling up resources to support the work of crucial gender equality stakeholders, the Agreed Conclusions of CSW 52 had been distracted by the renegotiations around the language of earlier agreed commitments. And in some aspects even weakening those earlier agreed commitments, amongst others by the addition of "bearing in mind national priorities" with respect to the recommended following actions.

Now that we are reviewing the Agreed Conclusions we can see that this escape route of the national priorities is widely used. In the crisis of the last years more and more governments are tiptoeing away from their commitments.

We are noting moreover the consequences of the fact that the Agreed Conclusions failed to address the need for adequate resources and a diversity of funding mechanisms to support the indispensable role of women’s organizations as the driving force of the agenda of gender equality and empowerment of women at all levels. More and more women’s rights organizations face severe budget cuts, forcing them to scale down or even to close down.

In that respect I would like to ask Ms Alpizar whether she could elaborate a bit about the financial resources of the LBT-rights based organizations. In the Netherlands we notice a shift with regard to government’s subsidies from women’s rights organizations to (single issue) LGBT-organizations.

Ms Patti ONeill I would like to ask whether she could provide us with an informed guess about the trend in funding since 2010, especially with respect of the support for the women’s rights organisations.

Ms Jeni Klugman rightfully concluded her written paper with the observation that addressing deep seated structural inequalities take time. She pleaded to counsel patience both within organisations as to the broader audience. We would say: yes changes do not happen overnight, and since we did not start yesterday and since we have lost precious time and money, do you agree that we need to counsel the sense of urgency alongside the patience for the tangible results and deep seated changes?

Thank you very much.

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