Women’s Human Rights and the SDGs (HLPF 2017)

High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2017

[For more information on this report, contact Grove Harris: groveharris at gmail.]

In July 2017, a second set of countries presented their progress on the SDGs to the United Nations. Civil society (NGOs and other nonprofits) raised concerns on many fronts, including the shrinking space for diverse people’s voices, the degree of progress, and the rise in attacks on front line human rights defenders around the globe. The Temple of Understanding worked with the Women’s Major Group, mourning the deadly violence against women human rights defenders.

Women Human Rights Defenders Resist
Photo by Grove Harris

 

Resurj, also a member organization of the WMG, has written an extensive summary report of the HLPF, “Going beyond Aspiration: HLPF analysis 2017.” (Conclusions appended below.)

http://resurj.org/node/222

 

Diverse Civil Society efforts include a “spotlight” report that directly challenges barriers.

“Unbridled privatization, corporate capture and mass-scale tax abuse are blocking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, argues a new report by a global coalition of civil society organizations including the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR).”

http://www.cesr.org/spotlight-sustainable-development-2017

 

Other Civil Society colleagues prepared an overview of the country reports:

“Voluntary National Reviews: What are countries prioritizing?” (Conclusions appended below.)

http://www.together2030.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FINAL-Together-2030_VNR-Main-Messages-Review-2017.pdf

 

A side event held by religious NGOs released a popular education resource for communities, produced collaboratively and published by the International Presentation Association. “Critical Hope for the SDGs: Advocating from the Margins for Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice in the Context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals” aims to ensure the SDGs become a people’s agenda, serving communities “on the ground.”

http://www.pbvm.org/resources/critical-hope-for-the-sdgs:-advocating-from-the-margins-for-social-economic-and-environmental-justice-in-the-context-of-the-un-sustainable-development-goals/20

 

RESURJ’s conclusions:

http://resurj.org/node/222

The Sustainable Development Goals are really a battle between commodities and the commons. As a feminist alliance, RESURJ’s approach to justice includes that we understand and address the interlinkages between women’s bodies, health, and human rights in the context of the ecological, social and economic crisis that we face.  

As part of RESURJ’s ongoing advocacy within this process we have over the past two years, focused on how we leverage evidence based on people’s realities for a justice approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and other key processes. In particular, we aim to share examples of the interlinkages and experiences of people to inform policy advocacy, resource allocation, and interventions. We have also started to explore how certain interventions have the potential to impact multiple goals and targets, and are potential key tools in the realization of the agenda. One such example is how Comprehensive Sexuality Education can have a positive impact on young people and adolescent’s lives including contributing to reducing inequalities and violence, improving health and education outcomes, reducing poverty and increasing opportunities. Exploring interventions and policy that could have multiple effects on multiple goals is a learning process for us and we are taking this challenge on because we know that the interlinkage and intersectional perspective called for in moving the Agenda 2030 forward cannot come from governments alone.

We will not achieve the transformational aims of this agenda, if we silo our responses to the economic, ecological and social crises that we face. Holding the realities of people and our planet at the center, is the critical approach that we have missed before, and cannot risk missing again.

 

Voluntary National Reviews: What are countries prioritizing?

http://www.together2030.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FINAL-Together-2030_VNR-Main-Messages-Review-2017.pdf

  • Countries should be more explicit in reporting on the VNR process, including efforts to engage stakeholders. Together 2030 calls on governments “to strengthen efforts to publicize their plans and processes for national review, and opportunities for participation, sharing common challenges and identifying best practices in stakeholder engagement.”

  • Countries need to step up the pace. They should not wait for their first VNR report before getting started on implementation.

  • Countries should report on progress toward all 17 SDGs, recognizing the indivisibility of the agenda and interlinkages among the goals.

  • Main Messages should include more substance on implementation, including specific activities, progress and challenges.

  • Civil society must keep demanding meaningful participation. It’s positive that many countries mentioned youth and women, but more stakeholder groups need to be included.

Report from TOU’s UN Main Rep, Grove Harris – May, 2015

The Mining Working Group (MWG) at the UN is a coalition of NGOs, mainly religious, that are collaborating effectively to raise environmental issues at the UN.

From overturning the extractive Industry model through a human rights approach, to the human right to water, and to human rights as a framework for corporate accountability (there’s work towards a binding agreement on this in Geneva), we’ve been addressing these issues for about a year and half.  Advocacy has been vigorous, from a postcard visual campaign, to letter campaigns, the most recent with 621 signatories (organizations) then sent to all UN missions, first by email and then by snail mail.

Our contribution for the Temple is to link with the Women’s Major Group (WMG), where I’m one of a smaller set of environmental advocates, but where the international organizations are happy to endorse the MWG’s efforts.  This is how I’ve had opportunities to speak on environmental issues at the UN, representing the MWG, the WMG and other major groups.

Coalition is the only way to go.  I’m so relieved to work with so many others, where my contributions count and add up to something much larger. The focus of this is environmental; one of my value adds is in networking between the Mining Working Group and the Women’s Major Group for opportunities.

–Grove Harris