The High-Level Task Force for the ICPD welcomes the Agreed Conclusions of the 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), adopted by Member States on March 21. They call for “gender equality, the empowerment of women and the human rights of women and girls to be reflected as a stand-alone goal and to be integrated through targets and indicators into all goals of any new development framework.”
Members of the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD served on their national delegations and advocated for this and other Task Force priorities, many of which are reflected in the final outcome document.
The Agreed Conclusions recognize the slow progress made toward gender equality and maternal health within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the persistent high number of preventable maternal deaths, the increasing number of women living with HIV, shortfalls and inequities in access to sexual and reproductive health, and the vulnerabilities faced by adolescent girls and young women.
Task Force Member Gita Sen speaks at the High-level Round Table on challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
The document reflects a holistic approach to women’s social, economic, civil and political rights, with calls for removing all discriminatory and punitive legal measures and ensuring justice and accountability for violations of their human rights. It calls for closing gender gaps in education and for comprehensive education on human sexuality; protections of women’s inheritance and property rights; reducing the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work; and eliminating harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, honour crimes, and child, early and forced marriage. It calls for measures to prevent and eliminate the pandemic of violence against women and girls, including universal access to services for all victims and survivors.
Importantly, the Conclusions recognize the human rights of all women to have control over and decide freely on matters related to their sexuality free from coercion, discrimination and violence; and calls for universal access to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services for women and adolescent girls that include modern methods of contraception, emergency contraception, maternal health care, treatment for unsafe abortion complications, safe abortion services, and services and supports related to sexually transmitted infections and HIV and AIDS.
The outcome document recognizes the important contributions of civil society, especially community-based, women’s, feminist and youth groups, as well as of women human rights defenders, and for increased domestic and international resources for achieving gender equality.
Task Force Members Bience Gawanas, Lambert Grijns and Alessandra Nilo served on their delegations. As a discussant on a High-level Round Table of the official programme, Member Gita Sen spoke out on key issues that should be included in the Post-2015 agenda – watch her intervention here.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was among the five panelists at the Task Force CSW event, Fulfilling the Promise of Gender Equality: Women, Girls and the Post-2015 Agenda. She also represented the Task Force at the high-level event on Gender-Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV/AIDS in the Post-2015 agenda, alongside the Executive Directors of UN Women and UNAIDS, and Gender Ministers of Ghana and Malawi.