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Siva of ARROW at the Sustainable Development Summit

September 26, 2015

Sivananthi Thanenthiran, on behalf of ARROW, the Post-2015 Women’s Coalition and the Population anf Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA), spoke at an interactive dialogue at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development. The session focused on “Delivering on a Revitalized Global Partnership” and was held on the 26th of September, 2015. 

Your excellencies, thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of ARROW, the Post-2015 Women’s Coalition and Population & Sustainable Development Alliance.

The MDG on partnerships was perhaps the most neglected of all MDGs, however today all stakeholders recognize that the success of all the other SDGs rest on the realization of the goal on global partnerships.

But it is important for us to ask – who would these Global Partnerships serve? This would be critical because only then can we identify who the key partners in this partnership will be. Let us be clear in our aims: the inter-governmental negotiations on the post-2015 were premised on the basis of ‘leaving no one behind.’ Hence the key players in a Global Partnership of the SDGs must first and foremost include the most marginalized groups in our societies. It is time to bring the periphery to the centre. Many of the ills of development are due to top-down approaches, and it is absolutely necessary to ensure bottom-up approaches with grassroots communities and people’s movements for sustainable development. Most critical amongst these are women’s rights organisations, who are at the frontlines battling all forms of inequalities, we are and will continue to play catalytic roles in society. We need to be there at the table, not just sitting at the table, but formulating the agendas and making decisions. We ask all of you to commit to institutionalizing spaces in this global partnership for civil society at the global and national levels.

The highest aspiration possible for the SDGs would be to enable the creation of a more equal, a more equitable, a more just, and a more sustainable world by the end of 2030. We too share that dream. But in order to realize this dream we would have to work very hard and uphold the highest standards before us, and no longer the lowest common denominators churned out by many consensus processes. Hence Global Partnerships for the SDGs must uphold global standards of gender equality, human rights, non-discrimination, fundamental freedoms and liberties as well as good governance. States cannot continue to ignore and side-step these, because the SDGs are about developing our countries and our world in a sustainable manner. This is no longer business as usual.

Our Global Partnership will be successful when we reach the most marginalized communities: it needs to prevent early age marriage for girls in villages, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health services for the poor, as well as create a world free from violence and discrimination for all. For that we need to uphold the highest standards even if they are contentious such as standing up for reproductive rights and sexual rights.

We are facing complex issues today. The gains we have made stand to be eroded by conflict, war, climate change, religious extremism not only at the macro level of peace and security but also at the micro-level of each woman’s rights. Our Global Partnership needs to help build a resilient world for everyone and itself needs to be built on a model of resilience: to be ready, responsive and able to revitalize after set-backs. Our Global Partnership model needs to be able to be diverse, address vulnerabilities, ensure social cohesion, be integrated and self-regulating and encourage local and national leadership.

We will stand with you, every step of the way, as equal partners in this Global Partnership. Thank you.

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