NEW YORK (April 11, 2014) — From 10th to 21st March, WEDO and partners took part in the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) at UN Headquarters in New York.

Focused on challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, this CSW was of particular significance in relation to ongoing processes to review the MDGs, set to expire in 2015, and to frame the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda.

Working with a team of advocates as part of WEDO’s joint initiative under WECF’s global program “Empower Women – Benefit (for) All”(EWA), and alongside an incredible group of feminist and women’s human rights activists, the CSW58 saw strong mobilization for progressive language on issues ranging from macro-economics, finance, trade, climate change, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDs, gender-based violence, and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).

Some crucially important aspects of this advocacy were reflected in the Agreed Conclusions, including calls for a ‘stand-alone goal’ on gender equality and integration of gender across all goals, targets and indicators of any new development agenda. Particular to WEDO’s agenda at the CSW58 was strong language on climate change, both in recognition to the threat it poses to the implementation of MDGs and any future development agenda, and calling for the “integration of a gender perspective in environmental and climate change policies”, both of which are important to ensure the interlinkages between climate change and gender equality are reflected in the post-2015 development agenda and the new climate change agreement.

However, there were many obstacles faced across the two weeks, including in recognition of human rights obligations and in challenging current unsustainable global economic, trade and governance structures. AWID has written a very good overview of the CSW58 Agreed Conclusions, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly as well as some missed opportunities to move forward progressive language. AWID also provides a host of updates and resources on their website. This includes links to a number of important statements which WEDO and partners signed-on to during the session including:

Climate Change in the CSW58 Agreed Conclusions

As highlighted in WEDO’s statement to the CSW58 in October 2013, the priority for this session was to  highlight the crucial need for a transformative and sustainable development agenda that moves beyond the limited and siloed agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and promotes actions that address the intersectionality of the incredible challenges facing people and the planet.

Over two weeks of advocacy, the EWA team members and other allies produced a series of factsheets and technical language recommendations for Governments and partners, on climate change, disasters, as well as women’s access to natural and productive resources. The resulted in agreed conclusions containing strong language on climate change (paras. 25, 34 and in the operative paragraph tt), such as:

B. Strengthening the enabling environment for gender equality and the empowerment of women

(tt) Promote the integration of a gender perspective in environmental and climate change policies and strengthen mechanisms and provide adequate resources to ensure women’s full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels on environmental issues, in particular on strategies and policies related to the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events and slow onset impacts, including drought, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and loss of biodiversity on the lives of women and girls; and ensure a comprehensive approach to address the hardships faced by women and girls by integrating their specific needs into humanitarian response to natural disasters and into the planning, delivery and monitoring of disaster risk reduction policies to address natural disasters and climate change, and ensuring sustainable natural resources management;

In addition, there were several important references to women’s access to natural and productive resources (such as land and water and sanitation, in paras. 28, and operative paras k, dd, gg, aa, & rr).

A compilation of key text on environment and climate change can be found here.

In addition to advocacy through technical language and factsheets, on March 19th, the EWA program hosted a side event entitled ‘Sustainable Solutions to Ending Climate Chaos – how to make 2015 mean something!’ Later that evening, WEDO hosted a mobilization meeting at its offices to discuss key moments for advocacy throughout 2014- to ensure climate change is high on the feminist, human rights and social justice agenda- with partners and allies. You can read more about these events here.

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