The 60th Commission on the Status of Women was held at the UN in New York in March 2016. An Introduction to the Commission and the Agreed Conclusions can be found in the entry four below this one. The following is an analysis of the Commission’s work by the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women
Driving the Gender-Responsive Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Analysis report by Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women
Ms. Puri’s analysis includes praise for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s efforts to advance the cause of women during his time in office, citing the priority he has given to women’s equality and empowerment agendas, appointed the highest number of women leaders ever to UN positions, and oversaw the creation of UN Women. Ms. Puri quoted Mr. Ban’s saying, “Our new global force has made its mark” and credited him with coining “a new meaning of the term FGM – Finally Girls Matter!”
Ms. Puri hailed the Agreed Conclusions adopted at the end of the Commission as a “landmark set” of agreements, which “established detailed, progressive, value added and positive commitments and trajectory to effectively implement and monitor the progress of the historic gender equality compact contained in the entire 2030 Agenda in conjunction with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA).”
All discussions at the Commission, she notes, consistently drew connection between its priority theme of Women’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development and the 2030 Agenda, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In fact, Ms. Puri asserts, the work of the Commission clarified and strengthened the “full gender equality compact” at the heart of SDG 5, all six of its targets and three Means of Implements, without mentioning the Goal. She goes on to point out the correlations between the work for women’s equality with other Goals, notably SDG 1, Eradication of Poverty.
Some of the Concerns and Challenges Ms. Puri notes are the continued efforts of “fortunately a very small number of states” to raise objections to including “child, early and forced marriages, unpaid care work, feminists and women’s human rights defenders, youth, women’s human rights and forms of the family among others.”
She also points out the refusal by some Member States to “even entertain let alone negotiate on the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer) and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender identity) issues that some member states had put forward.” Some of these objectors cited Sharia as the guide for these issues. Another concern is disagreement by some Members, including developed nations, about how implementation will be determined and measured; some states want all authority at the national level, with no prescriptions from the Commission. Only “deft negotiations” produced an outcome document that all Member States would approve.
Finally, Ms. Puri announced that the sixty-first session of CSW in 2017 “will focus on Women’s economic empowerment and the changing world of work.” In preparation for that, work on “mitigation strategies on the reservations and political/cultural/religious aspects of some of the issues surrounding women’s human rights” will need the collaboration of many individuals, groups and Member States.