Arpita of ARROW at the 5th IGN at the United Nations

May 21, 2015 May IGN Arpita

ARROW has been making interventions at the Interactive Dialogues with Major Groups and Other Stakeholders during the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Arpita Das, on behalf of ARROW and the Post-2015 Women’s Coalition.

My name is Arpita and I represent the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and the Post-2015 Women’s Coalition.

Firstly, we welcome the co-facilitator’s remark in the April IGN on ending poverty, inequality and promoting shared prosperity. We agree that this is a unique opportunity we have towards keeping the most marginalised and the most vulnerable at the centre of our discussions.

We are very concerned with the growing emphasis on private financing. Public private partnerships, although important, must be made accountable and subject to public scrutiny and regulatory frameworks of human rights, international labour laws and environmental standards. This is only one part of the equation; public sector finance reformation is equally necessary and we call for equitable, fair and non-discriminatory progressive taxation, fighting tax evasion, correcting inequities and combating corruption. We call for innovative partnerships, responsible businesses and effective local authorities.

Specifically, we are concerned with the growing proportion of out-of-pocket expenditures and the impact it has on marginalised communities including women, young people, people with disabilities, the aging and people of diverse genders and sexualities to access healthcare services including for sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Asia and the Pacific region is the costliest region to fall sick in due to a high level of out of pocket expenditures. Through my experience of having worked as a social worker on gender-based violence, I am aware that such a situation gets magnified for a woman facing spousal violence with no recourse to income and often saddled with rearing of her children. Or, in the case of a transgender person who has been rendered homeless and unemployed because of discrimination and prejudice. In addition to lack of empathy by health officials, discrimination or even outright refusal for treatment, high out-of-pocket expenditures often escalate their experience of violation. We therefore request for an increase in public health expenditure and enhanced capacity building towards a skilled health workforce to reach out to such vulnerable populations.

From our experience we know that it is equally important for domestic resources to help fulfil health budgets and to uphold Alma Ata’s principles of health equity, people-centred care and the call for a ‘Primary Healthcare Movement’ to tackle all political, social, and economically unacceptable health inequalities in all countries. We therefore recommend the call to revise the Official Development Assistance commitment of donor countries to or more than 0.7% of the Gross National Income.

We call for equitable and fair systems of financing and greater responsibility sharing by resource-rich countries towards a sustainable and gender-just agenda which is unoppressive and equitable and informed by data and evidence which is reliable and disaggregated. Within fair systems of financing and trade, we must also ensure easy availability, accessibility and affordability of life-saving drugs in all countries and the protection of essential drugs and medicines including ARVs.

We call for dedicated financing towards gender equality that takes care of the most marginalised including women, and other sexual and gender minorities. Above all, we call on all member states to pay special attention to the intersections of diversity and oppression, look beyond what the data and numbers say, pay special attention to the untold stories of exclusion and discrimination, and aim for a truly transformative and sustainable agenda for all people.

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