TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD: THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Response to the Outcome Document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda by the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), Partners and Allies
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We welcome the outcome document of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, which is a result of the hard work and perseverance of the co-facilitators, Member States, UN agencies, civil society, Major Groups and other stakeholders.
We welcome the inclusion of human rights, gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in the preamble. The document reaffirms the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD POA) and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA), and the follow up of these conferences. The outcome document rightly mentions reproductive health among the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that remain off-track.
These mentions are critical to the Asia and the Pacific region. Despite our fast economic growth, our region continues to face persistent inequalities within and between countries. The inclusion of middle-income countries to the list of countries that face these challenges in the post-2015 outcome document is much welcomed.
Although all governments signed onto the Beijing Platform for Action, our region has shown slow and uneven progress towards gender equality, including addressing all forms of discrimination and violence against women, eliminating harmful practices, recognising the productive and care work of women, ensuring women’s participation and leadership, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Hence we feel the targets under goal 5 are opportune to push forward the post-2015 development agenda in the region.
We also welcome the targets of reducing maternal mortality and ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and its integration into national strategies and programmes. This is especially pertinent because South and South-West Asia account for one-third of world’s maternal deaths, lack of care for obstetric complications, including those resulting from unsafe abortions. Women and young girls continue to face unintended pregnancies, with Southern Asia having the highest number for unmet need for any method of contraception, followed by Southeastern Asia.
There continues to be limited information, access and range of contraceptives for all, including lack of continued supply of reproductive health commodities. Adolescent and young people in the region face particular challenges in access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services, including to comprehensive sexuality education. Significant disparities in health outcomes are due to gender, age, geographical location (rural, hard-to-reach, and in urban poor settings), migrant and citizenship status, poverty, ethnicity, indigenous status, and sexual orientation and gender identities. Hence, comprehensive approaches as espoused by the ICPD PoA and the follow-up reviews are essential to pushing forward the agenda of achieving healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
We commend the urge to member states to refrain from promulgating unilateral economic, financial, or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The inclusion of the technology facilitation mechanism from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), in the outcome document is also positive. However, the compromise of adding language on “maintaining sustainable debt levels is the responsibility of borrowing countries” is something that needs to be carefully addressed in the context of least-developed countries (LDCs) and the heavily-indebted poor countries (HIPC).
It is imperative that all countries will strive to aspire and achieve the global goals and targets, as all of these are global challenges faced by all countries, and developed through a global consensus. While national realities need to be taken into account, it should be done for achieving higher standards within the targets and goals, rather than diluting the transformative agenda.
While we understand that any consensus document may not be able to reflect the aspirations of all parties, we would like to bring to your attention the lack of mention of the vital, catalytic role that civil society plays in pushing forward social transformation at all levels. This is particularly lacking in the follow-up and review process at the regional levels and in the global indicator development processes.
We also feel that the post-2015 outcome document and programme should anticipate risks such as conflict, climate change-induced disasters, and extremisms which could undermine the realisation of the goals and targets. We also feel that the inclusion of marginalised groups and contentious agendas are critical to making the post-2015 development agenda meaningful.
We look forward to working with member states, regional commissions, UN agencies, national ministries, donors, and civil society in implementing and monitoring this transformative agenda to ensure no one is left behind.
1. AIDS Accountability International, South Africa
2. Elige Red de Jóvenes por los Derechos sexuales y reproductivos, Mexico
3. EMPOWER INDIA, India
4. Family Health Association of Iran (FHA Iran)
5. Forum of women ‘s NGOs of Kyrgyzstan , Kyrgyzstan
6. Huvadhoo Aid from Maldives
8. MONFEMNET National Network, Mongolia
9. Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand)
10. Papua Hahine Social Action Forum, PNG
11. Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC) , Cambodia
12. TARSHI, Delhi, India
13. The Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), Vietnam
14. The Faculty of Postgraduate Studies, University of Health Sciences Lao PDR
15. Women Deliver
16. WOREC, Nepal
17. Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan, Indonesia
18. Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), China
19. Kalyani Raj, India
20. Carol Yong, Independent researcher, Malaysia
21. Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel, Mongolia
22. Manivone Thikeo, MD, MPH, Ph.D.