Sai Jyothirmai Racherla of ARROW made an intervention at the 2016 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, on behalf of the Women’s Major Group (WMG) and the Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (AP-RCEM). She posed to the panel some critical questions that need to be integrated within the SDGs agenda to ensure no one is left behind and to lift women and young girls out of poverty.
The Agenda 2030 cannot be achieved without a shared commitment to addressing social justice and issues of poverty and its multidimensional characteristics such as hunger, malnutrition, landlessness, gender inequality, their root causes, and sexual and reproductive health and rights together.
We are confronted with a development agenda that does not address structural and systemic barriers which endanger women and girls integrities and challenge bio-diversity and sustainability of environment.
So lifting women and girls out of poverty will need a comprehensive approach. We need to address these deep questions:
How do we ensure equal rights and access to resources and services (including land, water, seeds, forests, housing, education, livelihood, food, and health services, including for sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls?
How do we reform of the monetary, financial and trade regimes that perpetuate inequalities, and results in violence and the undermining of women’s human rights?
How do we directing the public investment towards sectors in which the poor work (agriculture), areas in which they live (rural and alternative regions), factors of production that they possess (unskilled labour) and outputs which they consume (food)?
How do we enable and legitimise the government control over the flow of finance and international trade?
How do we ensure enhanced public investments in health, including for sexual and reproductive health and rights, education, and other social services; and ensuring universal access to these, regardless of gender, socio-economic status, citizenship, age, ethnicity, caste, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender identity, engagement in sex work, disability, marital status, HIV status, pregnancy status, migration or refugee status, or other status.
How do we ensure regulation and accountability of the private sector, including in services, technology, insurance, health, land, and food.
How do we stop the onslaught of corporate land grabbing and the forced evictions of communities, especially farming communities and indigenous peoples.
How do we repeal laws and policies that criminalise, punish or marginalise specific groups, based on their gender, socio-economic status, age, ethnicity, caste, marital, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious beliefs, engagement in sex work, HIV status, disability, citizenship, migrant, refugee or other status; or erect barriers to services; and adopt and implement measures to counter discriminatory practices and ensure access to justice
Addressing structural and systemic barriers and responding concretely to the questions I just raised will be the way forward to lifting people especially women and girls out of poverty.
Photo from IISD Reporting Services http://www.iisd.ca/hlpf/2016/