Around 300 people gathered on Tuesday morning in the very hot church center chapel to learn more about the Post 2015 agenda developments. The international community and states realize that the Millennium Development Goals, The MDG’s, are coming to an end in 2015. Consultations, conferences, and negotiations are already taking place, to shape the new global development agenda. The MDG’s were, as one speaker expressed it, drafted by a few white men in a basement. They did not address many women’s concerns. It is important women’s rights and gender equality are not overlooked in the new agenda, but will be at the core of the new agenda.
The process of the development of the post 2015 agenda is complicated and not yet completely clear. This makes it even more important for the women’s rights movement to organizes to be able to effectively impact the discussions. The panelist gave us some tips on how to influence the debate.
One of the suggestions was to make sure the women’s movement is in close touch with their own government. You have make sure your government takes the position that gender equality and human rights are core overarching themes of the post 2015 agenda. Dutch civil society in fact had a good meeting with our ministry of foreign affairs recently to brainstorm on our strategy for 2015. Civil society shared the message that gender equality and human rights, including sexual health and right should be at the core of the new agenda. (For more information see, http://www.wo-men.nl/post-2015-what-is-the-future-we-want/ NB the information is in Dutch but google translate should make it possible to understand the main points.)
One form of established organizing is through the Post-2015 women’s coalition, a group of New York based NGO’s who have formed a network. They have just launched a website at http://www.post2015women.com/ and encourage all to join the debate on the website and to support their advocacy efforts and to suggest actions to be taken.
The UN will relaunch their website http://www.worldwewant2015.org/ on the 7th of March. On this website, you can find information about all the ongoing 11 thematic consultations and also give input on the themes.
The panelists stressed that is very important in this debate that the women’s movement does not allow itself to get played against each other. States may suggest in the negotiations that they cannot tackle all problems. So they may suggest to make e.g. violence against women a priority goal. But tell the women’s movement that means they cannot make sexual health and rights a priority. Women’s rights organizations should not be willing to accept such bargaining with our concerns.
It is very important that women have a seat at the table in the discussions around all the themes. We know gender in-equality affect all levels of life and need to be able to bring that knowledge into all the debates and themes.
States like to set goals that are measurable. One of the panelist shared an important quote from Navi Pillay, the UN High commissioner on human rights: “In the past we have treasured what we can measure. In the future we should identify what we treasure and then find out how to measure it.”
In the new development agenda “Women don’t just want micro finance, we need macro finance.” Our needs have to be at the center of the new development agenda and it is only through engaging with the development process that we can make sure this happens.
Loeky Droesen is policy advisor at RutgersWPF, board member of the Women Peacemakers Program and freelance consultant at Rights for Change