New York– January 10th, 2012

The Zero Draft outcome document – the official document to be negotiated by United Nations Member States in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) – was released today. The text will be extensively negotiated in the coming months towards a final outcome in Rio+20.

In its present state, the Zero Draft contains the following references to women and gender:

[Food security]
64.     We reaffirm the right to food and call upon all States to prioritize sustainable intensification of food production through increased investment in local food production, improved access to local and global agri-food markets, and reduced waste throughout the supply chain, with special attention to women, smallholders, youth, and indigenous farmers.

[Gender equality]
102.    We recognize that sustainable development is linked to and depends on women’s economic contributions, both formal and informal. We note with concern that persistent social and economic inequities continue to affect women and children, who make up the majority of those living in poverty.

103.    We call for removing barriers that have prevented women from being full participants in the economy and unlocking their potential as drivers of sustainable development, and agree to prioritize measures to promote gender equality in all spheres of our societies, including education, employment, ownership of resources, access to justice, political representation, institutional decision-making, care giving and household and community management.

104.    We support the work of UN Women in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in all aspects of life and bringing greater attention to the linkages between gender equality and the promotion of sustainable development.

It also proposes the much talked about “Sustainable Development Goals“:

107. We propose that the Sustainable Development Goals should include sustainable consumption and production patterns as well as priority areas such as oceans; food security and sustainable agriculture; sustainable energy for all; water access and efficiency; sustainable cities; green jobs, decent work and social inclusion; and disaster risk reduction and resilience.

Much analysis will be done on this document over the next week as Governments and Civil Society react to the document — both what it contains and what was left out.

Submissions on the Zero Draft

Political Groups 5 (1%)  
Member States 100 (15%)  
Regional Mtg Outcomes 5 (1%)  
UN & IGOs 74 (11%)  
Major Groups 493 (73%)  
Total 677    

A very useful tool in the analysis of what the “Future We Want” actually looks like is the search feature of the Compilation Document of the UNCSD website. You can quickly search by keyword to see how many submissions mentioned the issues you care about. For example, a quick search on “gender” reveals there were 903 occurrences of the word across 149 submissions, the top being:

  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) (166 occurrences)
  • Women’s Major Group (143 occurrences)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (28 occurrences)
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)(27 occurrences)
  • United Nations Environment Management Group (EMG)(26 occurrences)
  • Japan (25 occurrences)
  • Japanese Stakeholders for the Promotion of Sustainable Development (23 occurrences)
  • Japan Women’s Watch (JAWW)(22 occurrences)
  • The Feminist Task Force  (FTF) from the Global Action Against Poverty(GCAP) (21 occurrences)
  • World Bank, IPPF, Brazil, UNDP, El Salvador, DAWN, DPI, Serbia, Stakeholder Forum, ILO (16 to 6)

A similar search for “women” produces 2,108 occurences in 228 submissions, the top being:

  • Women’s Major Group (555 occurrences)
  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) (326 occurrences)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)(43 occurrences)
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation(38 occurrences)
  • Japan Women’s Watch (JAWW)(36 occurrences)
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)(36 occurrences)
  • Population and Climate Change Alliance (PCCA)(32 occurrences)
  • South Asia Women’s Network (SWAN)(30 occurrences)
  • Ye Ethiopia Wiyen Mahber Be Alem(26 occurrences)
  • Australia(25 occurrences)
  • ECESA Plus Cluster on Social Development (25 occurrences)
  • Oxfam(24 occurrences)
  • Japan(24 occurrences)
  • Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)(23 occurrences)
  • World Youth Alliance(22 occurrences)
  • UNDP, Serbia, DPI, Norway, World Bank, Global Compact, El Salvador

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