Tag Archives: SDGs

PRESS RELEASE: An Appeal to African Leaders: Support Gender Equality in the Sustainable Development Goals Without Reservations

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24th September 2015

For Immediate Release

On the eve of the adoption of the landmark Post-2015 Development Agenda over 140 advocates for the rights of women and girls in Africa are urging their leaders to support targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Indeed, these targets are already in line with existing African commitments that guarantee universal access to a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health services.

The two targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals call on governments to:

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes;

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

In a Statement titled African Women & Girls Call on their Governments to Support Gender Equality in Totality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, advocates note that throughout the negotiation process some African governments have spoken out against inclusion of these targets. This despite all 54 member states of the African Union having adopted and implemented progressive regional commitments on the right to sexual and reproductive health. [1]

Ms. Dinah Musindarwezo of FEMNET said, “We are urging our Heads of State and Government to stand in solidarity with the millions of African women and girls affected by poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and explicitly support the SRHR targets 3.7 and 5.6 in the Post-2015 Development Agenda without any reservation.”

 

For more information please contact:

On behalf of SOAWR: Kavinya Makau, kmakau@equalitynow.org and/or Naisola Likimani – likimanin@ipas.org

On behalf of FEMNET:, Dinah Musindarwezo director@femnet.or.ke and/or Rachel Kagoiya: library@femnet.or.ke

[1] Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2006); The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) popularly known as ‘Maputo Protocol’; the Common Africa Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 development agenda
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On Making Promises to Women & Girls: It’s Time for Authentic Realization

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The Africa We Want

Recent headlines have been bleak for women and girls in the developing world: the Islamic State runs a system of sex slaves for its recruits; terrorists in Nigeria kidnap girls to marry their soldiers; women can be shot for going to school or splashed with acid if their in-laws don’t like their dowries. Amid these and other grim reports is the heartening news of an international agreement to do better for women and girls worldwide: the United Nations’ new 2030 Development Agenda.

Agreed upon by UN member States in early August and set for formal UN adoption next month, the 2030 Agenda emerged from more than two years of difficult negotiations on pledges that member countries will make to build upon the Millennium Development Goals, which expire this year. The MDGs guided real investments that made serious progress against poverty, but women’s needs and interests got short shrift. The new framework of 17 goals and 169 targets has the promise of being truly transformative for women and girls around the world.

It addresses gender equality much more robustly than the MDGs did and recognizes achieving gender equality as a goal in itself and not just a means to achieving other development goals. Crucially, it recognizes the issue as cutting across every economic and social question and as central to ending poverty due to the gendered dynamics of poverty. Governments have made lofty commitments: to end sex discrimination, gender-based violence, child marriages and female genital mutilation; to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health care services; to protect women’s and girls’ reproductive rights; to recognize and value the burdens of unpaid care work on women and girls; to expand women’s economic opportunities and ensure their rights to resources; and to ensure equal access to education, eliminating gender disparities in schools.

It is a tall agenda, not to say a visionary dream, for millions of women and girls worldwide. But if these fine words translate into any serious action by the 193 UN member countries, the prioritization of women’s rights will ensure that inequalities are at least addressed, if not ended. That alone would be progress.

In Africa, however, we remain concerned that a lack of political will may undermine if not block the redistribution of wealth, power, resources and opportunities that is key to the process. We worry, for example, that during the 2030 Agenda negotiations, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon consistently called for removal of language on gender equality, reproductive rights, recognition of human rights and non-discrimination for all. We remain hopeful and encouraged by the majority of African Governments that saw the need for gender equality and women’s rights and joined other progressive states across the globe to support the gender equality agenda. We are inspired by the strong voices of African women and girls that constantly held their governments accountable and pushed for an ambitious transformative agenda from the beginning of the consultations and negotiations to the last hour of the negotiations.

This and similar foot-dragging elsewhere fly in the face of the January 2014 agreement by African heads of state on the Common African Position, which said “No person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities.” The heads of state specifically highlighted the critical links among gender equality, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and Africa’s structural transformation.

Other agreements with similar terms promising action for women include the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; The International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and The Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases.

Isn’t it time for governments to live up to these promises? We call on African leaders to integrate them and the related parts of the 2030 Agenda into their domestic political processes and policies and – most importantly – to allocate adequate and sufficient resources (financial, technical and human). Such concrete steps won’t stop extremists and terrorists from continued abuses of women’s human rights, but they will build a stronger foundation for the millions of people who are not extremists and wish only peace and economic security for themselves and their families.

This is why we welcome the 2030 Development Agenda. With a real commitment, it has the potential to transform Africa and the world by realizing women’s and girls’ rights and the achievement of gender equality.

The author, Dinah Musindarwezo is the Executive Director of FEMNET (the African Women’s Development and Communication Network), a pan-African membership organization working to advance women’s rights and amplify African women’s voices across Africa since its inception in 1988. Dinah Musindarwezo is a feminist who is passionate about advocating for gender equality and human rights for all. Connect with Dinah at director@femnet.or.ke and/or @DinahRwiza.

STATEMENT: African Women & Girls Call on their Governments to Support Gender Equality in Totality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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Kindly add your Organization’s Name and Country to Endorse this Statement

African Heads of State and Government will join their counterparts in New York from 25th to 27th September 2015, to adopt the Post-2015 development agenda currently titled Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals in a landmark Summit that crowns several years of consultations and negotiations.

As advocates for the rights of women and girls in Africa, we noted with concern that during the negotiation phase several governments, including some African governments, expressed reservations on goals and targets related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The African continent has some of the most progressive and inclusive regional instruments on sexual and reproductive health and rights, adopted by all 54 member states of the African Union (AU). These include The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2006) which aims to achieve universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services by 2015; The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) popularly known as ‘Maputo Protocol’ which contains explicit provisions on the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and the Common Africa Position (CAP) developed through wide consultation of different African stakeholders and adopted by the African Heads of State and Government as its united position on the Post-2015 development agenda. Further information on the specific provisions of the above instruments are annexed to this Statement.

Under the leadership and mechanisms of the AU, these instruments have been implemented to various degrees in individual member states, with increasing emphasis on monitoring and accountability.

In the recent concluded African Union Summit in June 2015, convened under the theme “Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa Agenda 2063”, African Heads of State and Government, re-stated their commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights by resolving to “ensure that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights of African women are implemented and mutually accounted for in the existing commitments to women’s reproductive health and rights, as adopted by the African Heads of State in the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol) in 2003, and the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in 2006.”

Based on the regional commitments above and various national commitments at constitutional, legal and policy level, Africa has made commitments in line with the two key targets on SRHR in the Sustainable Development Goals, namely:

3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes;

5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

We therefore urge our Heads of State and Government to stand in solidarity with the millions of African women and girls affected by poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and explicitly support the SRHR targets 3.7 and 5.6 in the Post-2015 development agenda without any reservation.

We pledge our support to working with you to make these targets a reality.

………………………………………………………………………………
Statement Prepared by:-

SOAWR – Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (www.soawr.org)
A Coalition of 46 organizations drawn from 24 AU states to advance ratification, domestication and implementation of the AU Women’s Rights Protocol as read together with national, regional and international legal frameworks that advance the rights of girls and women in Africa. Equality Now’s Africa Regional Office serves as the SOAWR coalition secretariat and is committed to ending discrimination against girls and women. Contact on behalf of SOAWR, Kavinya Makau, kmakau@equalitynow.org and Naisola Likimani – nlikimani@gmail.com

FEMNET – African Women’s Development and Communication Network (www.femnet.co)
A women’s rights network of 503 African women’s rights organizations and individual gender advocates based in 43 African countries. Contact on behalf of FEMNET, Dinah Musindarwezo director@femnet.or.ke and/or Rachel Kagoiya: library@femnet.or.ke

Click here to Endorse the Statement

Read the Full STATEMENT here

African Women’s Position on the New Development Agenda

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African Women’s Position on the New Development Agenda

United Nations – Sunday, 2 August 2015, 193 governments agreed to a historic agenda for global sustainable development to be carried out over the next 15 years, which will be formally adopted by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in September. African women joined other women’s rights activists in applauding the new “2030 Agenda” for having the promise of being truly transformative for women and girls around the world.

The new agenda includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework of 17 goals and 169 targets that build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire this year. Gender equality is addressed much more robustly than the MDGs did and recognize the issue as crosscutting.

The “2030 Agenda” includes significant victories for women and girls. Governments have committed to:

  • End discrimination and gender-based violence
  • End child marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health care services and education for all
  • Protect women’s and girls’ reproductive rights
  • Recognize and value the burdens of unpaid care work on women and girls
  • Expand women’s economic opportunities and ensure their rights to resources
  • Eliminate gender disparities in schools and ensure equal access to education

Gender equality, human rights and the empowerment of women and girls remains a critical driver to the achievement of the sustainable development goals. The prioritization of women’s rights will ensure that spatial, political, social and economic inequalities are addressed. Furthermore, the redistribution of wealth, power, opportunities and resources is critical for addressing prevalent inequalities between men and women, within and between countries. Although we have registered substantial gains in securing gender equality in the Post-2015 development framework, the lack of political will from some of the African Member states to safeguard gender equality and the human rights of women and girls throughout the Post-2015 development process remains of great concern to African women.

We are deeply concerned that Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon consistently called for removal of language on gender equality, reproductive rights, recognition of human rights and non-discrimination for all. In January 2014, the African Heads of States adopted the Common African Position (CAP) on Post-2015 articulating the continent’s priorities in the Post-2015 development agenda. The Common African Position has strong commitments to ensure that “No person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities.” African Heads of State specifically highlighted the inextricable link between gender equality, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and Africa’s structural transformation.

As we come to a close of what has been a protracted process and enter a new phase of implementation of the “2030 Agenda”, its follow up and review; we call on African leaders to demonstrate political will in implementing the “2030 Agenda” through domesticating at national level and allocation of adequate resources. In line with the commitment to gender equality within the African Union, we call upon them to implement progressive regional and global agreements such as; The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; The International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) and The Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related Infectious diseases. This will play a critical complementary enabling role for the new Development Agenda in the realization of women’s and girls’ rights and the achievement of gender equality.

For more information please contact:

Post 2015 Processes – Opportunity for Kenyan Women?

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By Felogene Anumo

The High Level Panel recently presented to the UN Secretary General a report with recommendations of what they envisage for the Post 2015 framework.

The next stage of handing over the process to the UN Open Working Group and Member States leading up to the September Special Session on the MDGs requires vigilance and active engagement. Civil society organizations need to galvanize people to sign on and own this framework to ensure that the text does not get watered down. Women especially stand a lot to gain including especially with the inclusion of a stand-alone gender goal as well as disaggregated indicators in other goals. Eliminating violence against women and ending child marriage are included as indicators and the panel has gone beyond previous commitments to recommend universal access to contraception and sexual and reproductive health rights.

Kenya is a Co-chair to the Intergovernmental UN Open Working Group tasked with the formulation of the global sustainable development goals (SDGs). This presents an excellent opportunity for Kenya CSOs to lobby and advocate for a progressive agenda. The SDGs will be an integral part of the post 2015 UN development agenda that will be applicable to all member states.

In as far as the Kenyan women movement, there has not been a consolidated voice around the post 2015 development framework. As such it is important to:

1.    Deliberate on progress towards meeting the MDGs, including critical issues facing Kenyan women that the MDGs inadequately addressed or failed to address

2.    Consolidate feedback from the Kenyan women’s effective engagement in the sub-national consultation on the post-2015 framework organized by the Ministry of Planning

3.      Develop consensus on key recommendations for women’s rights in relation to Kenya’s development that should be mainstreamed into the national position prior to the September Special Session on the MDGs

Other issues that should be addressed will include creating awareness, involvement and ownership of the process among the general populace and addressing the issue of domestication development agendas through grassroots and community engagement at this early stage.

Felogene Anumo is a consultant with FEMNET in the Advocacy Department.
Connect with her – fganumo@gmail.com or @felogene