On behalf of UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General Lakshmi Puri, please see attached an analysis report of the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that took place this March. The CSW assumed particular significance this year not only as it celebrated its milestone sixtieth session, but also for setting high standards for driving the implementation of the historic “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and the full realization of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, throughout their lifecycle and in all their diversity.
The Agreed Conclusions adopted by a hard won consensus on the priority theme of “Women’s Empowerment and the link to Sustainable development” conveyed the strong commitment of Member states to prioritize the historic gender equality compact contained in the 2030 Agenda in conjunction with the Beijing Platform for Action and to propel their full, effective and accelerated implementation, going beyond the affirmations of the 2030 Agenda, SDG 5 and other SDGs in every respect.
Moreover, the Commission stressed the urgency and the criticality of systematic mainstreaming and the integration of gender perspectives in the implementation of the entire 2030 Agenda, of all SDGs and targets and in respect of all government policies and programs at all levels. It asked that governments develop cohesive Sustainable Development Strategies to gender equality and the empowerment of women (GEWE).
Most importantly, it defined a roadmap for the gender-responsive, human rights-based, inclusive and indivisible implementation, data and indicators, follow-up and review of the first ever universal and comprehensive sustainable development agenda at the global, regional and national levels, which would leave no woman and girl behind. There was a specific commitment to address the needs and agency of women and girls that face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, marginalization and vulnerability.
The Agreed Conclusions are of profound importance to our mission and work as they land and capture, recommit and put into action and give a strong impetus and focus to the historic normative confluence, value and richness of the GEWE commitments of 2015 – from the Political Declaration on the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and UNSC Resolution 2242, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change along with the UN Women and Government of China co-organized Global Leaders’ Meeting of 27 September 2015.
Calling for all hands and actors on the deck, the Commission identifies concrete actions to accelerate progress and achieve gender equality by 2030, invoking the responsibility of governments as duty bearers,while outlining areas for greater collaboration between national governments and CSOs, women’s organizations, feminist groups and youth-led organizations, faith-based organizations, employer organizations, trade unions, the media, the UN system, international and regional organizations, and socially responsible private sector.
It establishes ground breaking parameters for engaging men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change, and allies in the gender responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It commits to adopt and transform laws, policies and measures and equally vows to change social norms that breed and perpetuate discrimination and violence.
The Commission also signalled an unprecedented strategic pact to engage, partner, support and resource civil society including the women’s movement and youth led organizations in an open, inclusive and transparent manner and to promote a safe and enabling environment for them, given their major role in the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Twice within that pact, reference to feminists and to women’s human rights defenders were secured, constituting a big win too. This must be used to expand the democratic space for holding governments accountable.
The annual session of CSW is always one of the largest and most engaging intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations and a premier global forum for policy dialogue and consensus building on gender equality with a unique and impressive public profile. This year a record number of representatives of governments, UN entities, civil society, academia, and the private sector participated in a symphony of policy, intellectual and experiential churning, advocacy and activism with UN Women animating many of these.
In total, over 120 government ministers and deputy or vice ministers, 1,825 senior officials and parliamentarians, and more than 4,000 civil society representatives gave voice to a range of issues crucial to women and girls of all backgrounds and sectors through meetings, side events – 197 on site and some 450 offsite – and numerous other activities.
UN Women co-hosted and participated in many of these side events and engaged extensively with civil society, private sector, other stakeholders and their events. Our engagement with civil society was robust and we used our convening power to give intergovernmental platforms to them to dialogue with and influence governments at different points on key issues.
We organized the first ever Youth CSW Forum and took our Youth and Gender Equality Strategy and its LEAPs Framework into the CSW. ED’s dialogue with the Prime Minister of Canada – a youth and gender equality icon, was a high point in advocacy as was the launch of a Global Coalition on Equal Pay initiative. The SG’s High level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment held its first meeting and consultations with CSW participants.
As the implementation of the 2030 Agenda rolls out country by country, region by region, and at the global level, UN Women will work with civil society and member states to advocate, generate knowledge, help set and transform norms- political and social and related processes, drive programs and build strategic partnerships with governments, CSOs and private sector and engage youth and men and boys and mobilize and coordinate key UN entities.
Warm regards and best wishes,
UN Women Civil Society Section