Members States Fail to Deliver Strong Commitments to Global Agenda at the 60th Commission on the Status of Women
In what was the first test to demonstrate their commitments to implementing the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Member States failed to deliver strong and ambitious pledges at this year’s 60th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
While Member States welcomed the Commission’s work on women and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted unanimously last September by all UN Member States, many lacked political will to push issues forward and commit to the robust agenda. As a result, governments delivered a mix bag of commitments in the outcome document of this year’s Commission, omitting support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, among other issues.
The priority theme for this year’s gathering was women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Discussions by governments focused on creating a conducive environment for gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda. But in almost every area, from data disaggregation to the recognition of various forms of the family, previous commitments by Member States were chipped away.
Advocates for Youth was actively engaged at this year’s Commission, bringing together a delegation of three young women, who are members of Advocates’ International Youth Leadership Council. Council members championed key advocacy issues including adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights, including comprehensive sexuality education; recognition of the human rights of all people, without distinction of any kind, including young people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and gender expressions; and access to safe and legal abortion.
Recognizing that adolescent girls are the true experts in understanding and responding to the critical issues that shape their daily lives, Advocates was proud to partner with the Coalition for Adolescent Girls on a side event titled “Listen. Learn. Engage. Strategies and Tools for Meaningful Adolescent Girl Engagement.” Attendees engage adolescent girls in an interactive conversation to promote intergenerational dialogue between adolescent girls and the adults who work with them.
In addition, seeking to highlight how advancing young people’s access to safe and legal abortion must be made a priority for reproductive health and rights, in accordance with the new goal focused on health and gender equality, Ipas and Advocates for Youth hosted a standing room audience for “No More Barriers: Access to Safe Abortion Care for Young People in the 2030 Agenda.”
Advocates welcomes Member State’s inclusion of a health paragraph in the outcome document including language on “universally accessible and available quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health-care services commodities, information and education” and “the right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality.” We further applaud efforts to strip the outcome document of national sovereignty language that diminish the reach and impact of commitments made at CSW.
As we look toward the upcoming 49th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) and the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, we call on governments to affirm that sustainable development is only possible with the full recognition of women and girls’ human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights. The development agenda must move to recognize that comprehensive sexuality education is critical to sustainable development, and that in order to ensure that no one is left behind, it must also recognize and affirm different forms of family.
About the Commission on the Status of Women— CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Since 1946, it has been instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.