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Inside the 71st UN General Assembly

By Farida Ismail 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, meets with Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia. (Photo: UN Photo/Kim Haughton)

The United Nations General Assembly's 71st session (UNGA 71) general debate took place 20-26 September 2016. The debate provided an opportunity for world leaders and civil society organisations to evaluate progress one year on from adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the context of other milestones including the three 2015 peace and security reviews.

Spotlighting examples of persistent inequality around the globe and highlighting failures to move the Sustainable Development Agenda forward, world leaders participating in the general debate nevertheless expressed optimism that efforts to promote equitable growth, peace and prosperity would prevail. In this vein, world leaders focused on the promotion and protection of human rights and the urgent need for concerted efforts to resolve conflicts and eradicate terrorism.

WILPF PeaceWomen's analysis of the statements at the general debate reveals that there is much more work to be done to build adequate political will and commitment to gender equality and holistic understanding and implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Out of a total of 197 statements, 109 statements (56 percent) contained references to women and gender. Many of these were focused on gender equality and women’s rights issues at the centre of the SDGs. Even though some countries, including Sweden, Costa Rica and Croatia, have highlighted the necessity of including women in peace processes, their voices were in the minority.

Read the full WILPF UNGA71 Report here.

Find detailed summaries of events and main highlights from UNGA71 here.