2015 represents an important moment for gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights. It is twenty years since the landmark Beijing Conference on Women and fifteen years since the ground-breaking United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted. In light of these key milestones and as the post-2015 development framework is agreed and implemented, three UK Networks – WIDE+ member GADN, GAPS and the UK SRHR network have come together to assess progress.
Over the last two decades there have been many new commitments and increasing political rhetoric on gender equality and the realisation of rights for women and girls, but limited real progress in achieving either. In the report, Turning Promises to Progress, the networks conclude that this is, in part, because the underlying causes of gender equality have not been addressed and there was insufficient political will to make the changes needed on the ground. Detailed recommendations for concrete action to turn rhetoric into change are outlined throughout the report.
A copy of Turning Promises into Progress can be found on GADN websites: www.gadnetwork.org/turning-promises-into-progress and www.gaps-uk.org/2015-report. Attached is a copy of the Summary Briefing. For a printed briefing, please contact: info[at]gadnetwork.org.
The Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development (WWG on FfD) of which WIDE+ is a member, has reviewed the paper for the new Aid Effectiveness Agenda that will be decided upon in Addis Ababa, in July of this year.
The Women’s Major Group acknowledges the Co-facilitators proposed “Elements Paper for Declaration Discussion”, but feels the content and structure need a stronger focus on the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the declaration must prioritize human rights, gender equality and the full realization of women’s and girl’s human rights, ending inequalities, and achieving environmental sustainability, peaceful societies, accountability and justice through a profound transformation of the current neoliberal economic model of development.
Regulatory cooperation is the ultimate tool to prevent or weaken future public interest standards for citizens, workers, consumers, and the environment. This is the key message from the statement signed by around 170 civil society organizations on regulatory cooperation in the negotiations on TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a neo-liberal trade agreement) between the EU and the US.
The latest leaked European Commission position on the regulatory cooperation chapter of the TTIP negotiations has further heightened the concerns from all CSOs. The Commission proposes a system that can only result in further barriers to developing public interest standards as these would need to be ‘trade and investment’ proof. It also gives unprecedented influence to business lobby groups to stop any new regulation that would impact on trade and investment. The proposal strongly prioritizes trade and investment over the public interest. The system would give enormous power to a small group of unelected officials to stop and weaken regulations and standards even before democratically elected bodies, such as parliaments, would have a say over them, thus undermining our democratic system.
The Commission calls for more “compatibility” between laws on both sides of the Atlantic and a “pro-competitive regulatory environment”. Compatibility is going to lead to “downward harmonisation”, as demonstrated by a July 2014 report for the European Parliament. The Commission text suggests that any new law would need to be justified by new facts or scientific evidence if requested by a company or government. The Commission proposal also reflects industry’s demand to create a Regulatory Cooperation Body to facilitate an early information system of consultations and influence over the development of new laws. Furthermore, according to the Commission proposal, US and EU businesses would have a greater say on most laws in Brussels, in EU capitals, in Washington and in US states. The Commission seems to have largely conceded to the demand of business lobby groups to essentially co-write legislation.
Not only would regulatory cooperation erode democratic principles, it could also constitute a gradual attack on the precautionary principle, slowly but widely opening doors to GMOs, nanomaterials and endocrine disruptors . For these reasons, we urge the negotiators to remove regulatory cooperation from the TTIP negotiations.
The full statement can be found at (also in French, German, Greek and Spanish): http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/02/statement-169-civil-society-organisations-regulatory-cooperation-eu-us
WIDE+ supports statement on recognising women’s rights in UNHRC Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Living in Rural Areas.
From 2 to 6 February, 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Working Group on the Rights of Peasants and People living in Rural Areas met during their Second Session.
PWESCR (the Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) in India along with several civil society organizations (including WIDE+) welcomes the work of this Working Group on the Rights of Peasants and People Living in Rural Areas. In their statement for the Second Session they provide further information about the realities and challenges faced by rural women to realise their human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights. And they request the Working Group to explicitly recognise these rights as central to the overall well-being of rural women belonging to all diversity.
To read the statement: Statement for WG on right of peasants
For more about the UNHRC Working Group:
From 3 to 7 November, 2014 the UN regional meeting for Europe and Central Asia was held in preparation to the next Commission of the Status of Women will focus on 2015: 20 years after the Beijing Platform for Action. The official meeting and NGO forum reviewed the position of women’s rights in the region.
Karat’s statement addressed main challenges & key emerging issues in the implementation of the Beijing platform for action in Central Eastern Europe & Central Asia. Karat Coalition was conceived at the Beijing conference. Kinga Lohmann, director of Karat coalition, mentioned three main concerns facing women’s rights in the region:
*The serious attack of ultraconservative circles and some Churches on the principle of gender equality;
*The simultaneous weakening of institutional mechanisms for women’s rights and gender equality;
*The continued presence and reemergence of militarism, nationalism and armed conflict in our region with serious repercussions on women’s human rights.
The statement also asked to show more active solidarity with Ukrainian women, not only from people of the Central Eastern Europe & Central Asia region but from all over the world. This solidarity has to also involve women from other parts of the world (particularly the rest of Europe and U.S).
To read the full statement: http://www.karat.org/category/karats-statements/
The Gender and Development Network (GADN), a WIDE+ member, published in the second part of 2014 a briefing paper on unpaid care. While it suggests that the current wording of the proposed target could be improved, the recognition of unpaid care in this global development agenda would in itself represent an important advance, and therefore our main concern is to preserve its inclusion. http://www.gadnetwork.org/storage/gadn-responses-and-briefings/GADN%20Unpaid%20Care%20briefing.pdf
They also published a briefing paper UNGA Review event on the all to action on violence against women and girls in emergencies (see http://www.gadnetwork.org).