The PeaceWomen Report to the High-Level Political Forum is attached. Read the Overview below, or read the entire report attached.
On 11-20 July 2016, the UN Division for Sustainable Development Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) facilitated the first annual High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF). The forum is the the annual accountability mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Agenda 2030), and aims to evaluate progress toward successful implementation. This year prioritised the theme “Ensuring No One Is Left Behind.” The HLPF serves as a participatory forum gathering Member States, United Nations entities, and major civil society stakeholders to monitor progress and share best practices on Agenda 2030.
The 2016 HLPF served as the first event to analyse progress, review challenges, and share good practices in the implementation of the Agenda 2030, which was adopted in 2015 following the expiration of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The two-week HLPF included several key plenary sessions to address these goals, including a session entitled “Ensuring that No One is Left Behind: Creating Peaceful and More Inclusive Societies and Empowering Women and Girls” and a session entitled “Ensuring that No One is Left Behind: Challenges of Countries in Special Situations.” It also included submission of National Voluntary Reviews from 22 Member States.
As part of our work to strengthen conflict prevention and promote accountability on gender equality and peace, the WILPF/ PeaceWomen Programme monitored the forum for gender and conflict issues, focusing specifically on SDG 5 (empowering women and girls) and SDG 16 (stable and peaceful societies). We also leveraged this space to build momentum on strengthening accountability and financing of gender equality and peace through a two-day workshop and follow-up side side event on Women, Peace and Security Financing.
While the HLPF shared good practices and key gaps in implementation, it lacked a strong and consistent gender or militarism perspective and had significant gaps in terms of inclusiveness of processes. WILPF’s coalition, the Women’s Major Group, in a recent report on the HLPF, “express[ed] grave concern... that the annual review process to hold governments accountable to their commitments to the 2030 Agenda failed to address key obstacles.” The WMG noted that civil society was only seriously consulted from early stages in two of the 22 National Voluntary Reviews, and added that the time allocated for civil society comments during the two-day National Voluntary Review sessions proved restrictive. Without the opportunity for meaningful exchange between civil society and Member States, accountability and transparency on Agenda 2030 will suffer. The WMG also expressed “disappointment with the very weak Ministerial Declaration adopted at the conclusion of the meeting,” noting that it failed to move past empty or redundant rhetoric to actionable policy commitments.
So where do we stand after Year One? Unfortunately, we are off to a to a rocky start in implementing Agenda 2030 on issues of gender equality and stable and peaceful societies. WILPF reminds states that there can be no development without disarmament and women’s full and equal participation and rights. Leaving no one behind also requires substantively inclusive processes. It is critical moving forward that Member States and the United Nations include civil society in more than mere “tokenistic consultation,” as called for by Ms. Nurgul Djanaeva of Kyrgyz Forum of Women NGOs. Looking ahead, the path is clear: sustainable development requires more democratic inclusion and strengthened support for civil society, as well as political will, financing, and action that ensures that Goals 5 and 16 are not neglected. This report outlines key messages and gaps in the 2016 HLPF on gender and peace issues, with the intent of strengthening accountability on peace and human rights for women moving forward.