Womankind attends 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Sarah Jackson | Sep 11, 2015

UNGA 70 marks the adoption of the SDGs and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. In this post Nazenin Kucukcan explains why this is such an exciting moment for women’s rights.

This week Womankind policy team members Claire Hickson and Abigail Hunt are attending the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The UNGA is a momentous event for gender equality and women’s rights, and Womankind will be there to celebrate by participating in the key events.

A global leaders’ event, hosted by the Republic of China and UN Women, will take place on 27 September to mark the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in China and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) – still considered by many women’s rights activists to be the most comprehensive blueprint on advancing women’s rights. Over 70 world leaders will make renewed commitments and pledges to the BPfA, which could range from committing funding to women’s rights to introducing new equality laws.

The second cause for celebration is the adoption of the Post-2015 development agenda, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals. These are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their development priorities over the next 15 years.

This is a very exciting time for women’s rights as it has provided the international community with the golden opportunity to position gender equality and women’s empowerment at the centre of the global development agenda.

Over the past two years, Womankind and our partners led a successful Post-2015 campaign. Our call for a standalone gender goal was successful, as well as our demand for targets on violence against women and girls and women’s participation and leadership. However, there is still more to be done to ensure that there implementation and accountability of the gender goal at the core of the SDGs.

At the UNGA Womankind will implement the final phase of our project ‘At the crossroads: Women’s rights after 2015’. In addition to carrying out targeted advocacy around the SDGs and the Beijing +20 high-level commitment event, we will be working to strengthen solidarity within the global women’s movement.

Other highlights at UNGA 70

We have a busy week ahead! Womankind will be attending the following events:

  • The Women’s Major Group Feminist Forum (24 September), where feminists and women’s rights activists will come together to discuss, debate, motivate and inspire each other with ideas about next steps following the adoption of the SDGs.
  • The “Civil Society Thought Leaders’ Meeting” (24 September) which UN Women will convene to develop a road map to accelerate the results for gender equality. Discussions will focus on priorities and strategies for implementation of the SDGs on the ground, and ensuring accountability by governments on their obligations.
  • A UK Government and UN Women event “Transforming Economies: Empowering Women and Girls Special Event” (25 September). This will be led by Justine Greening, MP and UK Secretary of State for International Development and by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. It aims to secure concrete commitments for transforming women and girls’ economic opportunities under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The “Civil Society Watch: Governments’ Commitments to Action” (PDF) (27 September), where civil society stakeholders will gather to monitor global leaders’ commitments to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  • A panel event organised by the Overseas Development Institute and CEPEI, “Starting strong: from SDG ambition to action”.

We will be keeping you updated on events at the UNGA and will be tweeting from @Woman_kind

Find out more about the women’s rights events taking place at UNGA.

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