Young Women’s Voices Taken to Heights

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Madam Amina J. Mohammed, special advisor of the Secretary- General on the Post-2015 development planning and Kgothatso Mokoena

By Kgothatso Mokoena, World YWCA Programme Associate.  Kgothatso recently attended the consultation meeting on the High Level Panel 2015 held at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Below she shares her experience. 

A Discussion on the Post -2015 Agenda on High level Panel Report

In partnership with the Post -2015 Development planning team of the Secretary General , UN –non-governmental liaison services is facilitated a   civil society consultation in Geneva to  take a critical analysis  from their  perspective on four reports submitted to the  UN Secretary General;

1.    High level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post -2015 Development agenda (Post-2015 HLP)
2.    UN Sustainable Development Solutions network (SDSN)
3.    UN Global compact (UNGC)
4.    UN development Group (UNDG) “ The global Conversation begins”

These reports will serves as the Secretary General’s input to the UN Secretary report to the September 2013 General assembly special event on the Millennium development Goal (MDG’s) and the Post -2015 Development agenda. It was thus an official platform for civil society to provide analysis of the findings of these reports and to propose alternative approaches.

World YWCA was part of this consultative meeting on the HLP 2015 , which discussed the following issues intensively
•    Allocation of Resources
Questions : the participants raised  questions about the  heavy focus on private sector and how will  the new development agenda be financed given the  on-going global economic crisis  . Another question was the criteria for resource allocation and implication for regions such as sub Saharan  Africa, where 90% of poverty is anticipated, and who   have limited access to global markets. The last was a concern about the increasing reliance of the UN on High Level Panel which don’t include CSO , making the  inter-governmental processes  out of reach for  marginalised and excluded groups..
•    Private Public Partnerships.
Civil societies were encouraged to strengthen their linkages between the Private Business sector and  the development  agenda, and though the  various  initiatives exist ,  to develop a coherent strategy for including all as the  slogan for process is leave no one behind.. It was suggested there’s  a urgent need for good innovative programmes which can influence PP partnerships contribute ahuman rights perspective to the post-2015 agenda. A specific  intervention would be the strengthen and expand work being  done ,  with a particular focus  on  social accountability and  increasing opportunities of employment and investment for all citizens in economically unequal countries  .
•    Climate Change
Various questions were raised on how  to  combat climate  change.  It was also noted that  social and environmental  indicators  were weak and there was no direct link to their implication  for peace ,in countries where conflicts are driven by  limited access to resources such as water and carbon fuels.

The answer was there is commitment  for capacity building of CSOs in these contexts to be more involved in linking peace building to sustainable development . There will be a conscious allocation of resources to an ecosystem based approach to disaster management and investment in local adaptation capacities to counter climate change and conflict driven by social exclusion from natural resources.

Being one of the very few young women in the meeting, I was rather disappointed that less was said on Women’s human rights  and nothing on youth , in particular young women in poor urban settings,  rural  villages and conflict zones . I had hoped that at this stage HLP report will put emphasis on;
•    Investing in young women’s education and training particularly the over 15 million that are out of school and already married.
•    Measures to be taken to protect the  economic and social rights  of these young women , particularly  rights to  identity and property , without which they cannot vote , open a bank account or own land , this defeats the  objective  of the HLP  Report of  ensuring  that no one goes hungry no more.
•     Climate change and  environmental  degradation has a profound impact on these young women as they are responsible for  providing water  and fuel for the household , and are often  caught up  in the conflict  for natural resources ,  raped and abducted  forced to be wives of combatants .
•     Efforts must be made to include their voices in any discussion on sustainable development, peace building and climate change.

The UN Women paper advocating for a transformative stand-alone goal on  gender equality, women ‘s rights and women’s empowerment   was  as key resource for the Post-2015 HLP report 2013, and provided critical content for the gender goal , which highlights the importance of ending child marriages , but in  conclusion  I believe that much still needs to be done before September, to include the needs and voices of all young women  and particularly those  who are already married or are in difficult  circumstances and socially excluded  at community  level.

I felt it was my responsibility as an activist and Young women Champion to share on the World YWCA “the Future Young Women Wants” document , which captures the voices of young women from our movement  which is in 120 countries and reaches young owmen in over 22,000 communities, I highlight some of the key  recommendations  suggested for inclusion in  the Post-2015 agenda:
•    Women access to land/ Natural Recourses
•    Women and young women participation in decision making
•    Recognition on the roles and responsibilities of women participating in Peace processes
•    Women and young women’s role in development and policy review dialogue
•    Youth development:  employment, training and education opportunities.
•    Special attention to be given on Climate change and Justice Issues.

Copy of the “Future Young women wants” was then handed to Madam Amina J. Mohammed, special advisor of the Secretary- General on the Post-2015 development planning.

Would like to thank the World YWCA for their continuum efforts to provide  spaces for young women to participate  in such high  level policy making platforms and their commitment to support care and nurture for  us as future Leaders

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