RIM on the Follow Up of Rio+20: Final Statement from the Women Major Group (WMG)
In 22-24 April 2013, APWLD attended the Regional Implementation Meeting on the Follow Up of Rio+20, held in Bangkok and organised by UN-ESCAP and UNEP. The RIM focused on these theme issues: (1) Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development, (2) SDGs and Post 2015 Development Agenda, (3) Means of Implementation and (4) Follow Up of Rio+20.
Teresita Vistro, APWLD member and Climate Justice Focal Person, delivered an intervention on the Follow Up of Rio+20 and a final statement from the Women Major Group:
Thank you Chair and member states delegations.My name is Teresita Vistro representing Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development. I’m speaking today on behalf of the Women’s Major Group.
The Asia and Pacific region faces some major challenges to achieving sustainable development. In order to address these challenges, there is an urgent need for clarity on the practices of maldevelopment that must be discontinued in our region, and on transformative development alternatives that will instead positively impact on the lives of people in Asia-Pacific, including women and girls.
We affirm the statements of those governments here, that emphasize the centrality of human rights and gender equality in sustainable development and the Post 2015 development agenda. We also strongly call for more explicit mention of gender equality and women’s rights in all national and regional statements, government policies and programmes as we move into these global Open Working Group process, and High Level Political Forum deliberations.
Further, the Women’s Major Group demand increased government, UNESCAP and civil society attention to escalating cases of land and ocean grabbing in the region. We further call for strongest attention to the impacts of global warming, climate change, ocean acidification in the region, and globally.
Moreover, we call for an end to government policies that promote rapid and resource intensive practies such as extractive industries, forestry and illegal logging, deep sea mining, and unregulated fishing. These have led to poor men and women in Asia and the Pacific living in the most precarious environments, rendered homeless and also often forcibly evicted from their homes and land. Add to this unsafe household and industrial waste contaminating living environments, waterways and oceanic pollution and it is exceedingly clear that the region must indeed move quickly toward a new kind of sustainable development, and new state responses to poverty eradication.
We reiterates that Asia and Pacific development has been built on the backs of women, and it is time to end this. Women in our region produce the world´s products at increasingly lower prices; working for below subsistence wages in unbearable conditions. Women workers are denied rights to organise and bargain. Women working as domestic workers, Asia and the Pacific´s most common occupation for women are working 18 hour days, without a day off, nor guaranteed wage. They are separated from family and routinely abused at home and abroad where they also now take on roles in an unregulated and often exploitative global care chain In homes, countries, and the region, women’s rights and autonomy over our bodies and life decisions are violated, especially due to the escalating fundamentalism and the politicization of religion. Moreover, Women face sexual and gender based violence, and are forced to work in a globally dysfunctional economic system that further exploits in the name of development. The current development model has clearly failed rural, indigenous, migrant women.
These are the realities of too many women in Asia and the Pacific, and has to be addressed urgently. This is the time for us to aim for a transformative and redistributive framework that reduce inequalities of wealth, power and resources, and that exacerbates gender, ethnic, class, and many other forms of inequalities.
Concretely, the Women’s Major Group recommend the following:
- We call for deep and structural changes in existing global systems of power, resources and decision making. We need new frameworks and institutions designed to be democratic, accountable to all people and particularly those most affected, based on internationally agreed human rights standards and obligations;
- The Post-2015 development agenda framework must be based on existing human rights legal norms, standards and political commitments. International human rights law, including the UDHR, CEDAW, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, ECSR, and ICCPR and their follow-up programmes must form a non-negotiable base;
- There must be clear and time-bound commitments, with targets and indicators measuring quality as well as quantity and aiming to address inter and intra-state inequalities.
- On Means of Implementation, we call for timely collection and disaggregation of data on the basis of all the grounds of discrimination and their intersectionality as essential to identify, visibilise and respond to inequalities and violations of human rights and to increase accountability. Mechanisms for data collection and analysis for monitoring progress must be transparent and inclusive of input from women’s groups; require transparency of information, including budgets, as well as of decision-making processes and mechanisms at all levels and across thematic themes, as a principle to underpin the Post-2015 development framework. We demand it not only from governments, but all other development actors;
- We call on UNESCAP, UNEP and whole UN system to reflect diverse needs of all women in their programs and practices. The UN system is accountable in fully protecting and promoting gender equality and women’s rights including urging governments to implement their human rights obligations;We demand the new development framework includes dedicated gender equality goals, as well as specific targets and indicators throughout. It should be an explicit priority of governments and all major groups;
- Finally Member states, We call for your full guarantee of women’s control over resources and sustainable livelihood, the full implementation of decent work and living wage, full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all decision bodies in all levels, elimination of all forms of violence against women, and an environment of peace and security for women to fully realise their rights. Lastly, we urge government to guarantee sexual and reproductive rights and access to quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls. When women from Asia and the Pacific do not have the ability to make decisions on all aspects of their sexuality and decide the number and spacing of their children, then they cannot participate wholly in any aspects of our lives.
Mr. Chair, Honorable Delegations, Major Groups; we are now have the opportunity to chart a new sustainable development course; one that the vast majority of this world wants. It is indeed one that is based on global equity, sustainability of justice, realisation of univeral human rights , gender equality and dignity for all – including all women and girls in Asia and the Pacific.
This is the time for us to be brave!