Written by Mabel Bianco – Latin America and The Caribbean NGO Delegate
For the past few months, we have been collaborating with the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA) to promote the participation of women’s groups in the Post-2015 process. Out of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established in 2000 to guide global development efforts, the fifth goal on improving maternal health by 2015 is the one in which the fewest countries have achieved success. When it comes to reproductive and sexual rights, HIV, and violence against women and girls, the majority of countries will not have fulfilled the goals set out for them by 2015. Despite disheartening trends like these, few countries have been vocal about the need to bolster gender equality and ensure the ample realization of women’s rights.
This tendency to pass over women’s human rights has been evidenced in key conversations about the Post-2015 development agenda. I n the September High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York, few countries explicitly underscored the need for governments to guarantee the full range of women’s and girl’s rights as they prepare a new development plan for the next fifteen-year period.
With women and girls continuing to suffer the consequences of governments’ failure to invest in our rights – high rates of gender-based violence, deaths from unsafe abortions, uneven access to life-saving HIV treatment – those who speak up for gender equality cannot remain the minority. That is why FEIM and the International AIDS Women’s Caucus, in partnership with the GCWA, promote the advocacy efforts of women’s groups from around the world for the prioritization of a gender-specific HIV response, sexual and reproductive rights, gender equality, and the eradication of gender-based violence for Post-2015.
Together, we have been monitoring Post-2015 preparations and lending our voices at UN meetings, national and regional conferences, and through local on-the-ground advocacy. One of our main priorities is to provide women with the tools they need to hold governments accountable for ensuring their rights. For example, for the General Assembly meeting in September, we developed specific recommendations for incorporating these issues. At the September session, Mabel also participated in meetings with other civil society organizations, specifically women’s groups like the Women’s Major Group and Post-2015 Women’s Coalition, and analyzed various development perspectives for the future. We have thereby come together as a global women’s group to remind government leaders that a human rights-based development agenda cannot be achieved without securing the rights of all.