African Women Congratulate Their Super Shero –Ms. Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary General

19 th December, 2016

On behalf of Nigerian women and indeed, African women, we heartily congratulate Amina J. Mohammed, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Nigeria, for a well earned and deserved appointment as the new Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. This is another testimony to her great and avowed commitment to the people and the planet.

The exemplary life of service of Ms. Amina Mohammed since her days as the National moderator of Civil Society Action Coalition On Education for All (CSACEFA) to her meritorious service in coordinating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), her recent role in catalyzing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and her current transformative leadership as Nigeria’s Minister of the Environment; have demonstrated unwavering commitment, dedication and passion to the cause of humanity.

In all these positions Ms. Amina Mohammed has inspired us women to strive to be the best and aim for the stars. We have drawn inspiration from her leadership, encouragement and wealth of experience. We are therefore not surprised that her dedication, passion and doggedness has propelled her to achieve the feat of been the first woman in Nigeria to attain this new position.

Her latest accomplishments are indeed no mean feat; it is a signal to all women everywhere that women can shatter the glass ceiling and at the same time a clarion call for the enthronement of women’s leadership in the world.

Assuredly, we women are solidly behind her, we stand by and support her to succeed in this new position.

We commend President Mohammed Buhari and Nigeria people for reposing confidence in Ms. Amina Mohammed to take on the Position of the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

While we appreciate the President for appointing Amina Mohammed, we are very much aware that she deserves it, we take this opportunity to call for more openings and opportunities for smart and hardworking Nigerian and African women into appointive leadership positions at all levels.

Congratulations again! We are proud of you and your achievements.

Continue to climb new heights of success! You are unstoppable!

Priscilla M. Achakpa-Women Environmental Programme, Nigeria/Organizing Partner-Women’s Major Group

For and on behalf of Nigerian and African Women’s Major Group

Endorsed by

1. Ms. Titilope Akosa – Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) – Nigeria

2. Sascha A Gabizon- Women Engage for a Common Future- International and Organizing Partner, Women Major Groups (WMG)

3. Anne Addeh- Women and Youths Environmental Safety and Empowerment Organisation a.k.a EWAY for Development

4. Ms. Ugbaa Sewuese Mary –Angel support Foundation – Nigeria

5. Thelma Munhequete – Africa foundation for Sustainable Development- Mozambique

6. Mrs. Semia Gharbi: Association de l’Education Environnementale pour les Futures Générations: AEEFG, -Tunisia

7. Amb Caroline Usikpedo – Niger Delta Women’s movement for Peace and DevelopmentNigeria

8. Louisa Ono Eikhomun- Echoes of Women in Africa (ECOWA) Nigeria

9. Judith Kateule- Africa Foundation for Sustainable Development (AFSD)-Zambia

10. Attah Benson- Community Emergency Response Initiative, Nigeria

11. Juliana Agema-Charles and Doosurgh Abaagu Foundation, Nigeria

12. Felicia Onibon- Change Managers International Network, Country Coordinator Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya GEC

13. Omoyemen Lucia Odigie-Emmanuel- Centre for Human Rights and Climate Change Research, Nigeria

14. Zenabou Segda- Women Environmental Programme, Burkina Faso

15. TSONYA – ACAKPO ADDRA Brigitte- Women Environmental Programme, Togo

16. Elizabeth Jeyol- Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI), Nigeria 17. Cécile NDJEBET Presidente REFACOF/Coordonnatrice Nat. Cameroon

18. Gertrude Kabusimbi Kenyangi- Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN), Uganda

19. Mrs. Hawa Nibi Amenga-Etego- GrassRootsAfrica, Ghana

20. Juliet Wombo-Kwande Sisters Foundation, Nigeria

21. Nnenna Nwakanma- Africa Regional Coordinator, World Wide Web Foundation

22. Colette BENOUDJI, Lead Tchad

23. Akurut Violet Adome (Hon) Member of Parliament Uganda and Founder Member and Chair Katakwi Grassroots Women Development Initiative (KAWODI) Uganda.

24. Ndivile Mokoena- GenderCCSA, South Africa

25. Jennifer Amejja- National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Uganda

26. Diel Mochire Mwenge- Provincial PIDP Nord-Kivu, REPALEF/RDC au Nord-Kivu, RDC 27. Hon. Winifred Masiko- Rural Gender and Development Association, Uganda

28. Kemi Oluyide- Centre for Grassroots and Environmental Concerns, Nigeria

29. Nkiruka Nnaemego-Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative, Nigeria

30. Hanna Gunnarsson, Women Engage for a Common Future Deutschland 31.

Mary Nyasimi- Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Kenya

32. Winnie Lichuma- Chairperson, National Gender and Equality Commission,Kenya

33. Rose Pélagie MASSO, Coordonnatrice Adjointe Cameroun Ecologie (Cam-Eco)

34. Veronica Jakarasi- Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, Zimbabwe

35. Mirabel Edozie – South – South Professional Women Association, Nigeria.

36. Daisy Alero Emoekabu- Climate  Change  Policy  PhD  Researcher,  University  of  Kent,  and  Green  Patriots  for  Environmental  Protection  &  Sustainability,  Nigeria

37. Bose Ironsi-  Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), Nigeria

38. Ruth During- Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council(WSSCC), Nigeria

39. Lucy Mulenkei- Indigenous Information Network, Kenya

40. Dr, Keziah Awosika -Women Law and Development Centre (WLDCN)- Nigeria

41. Alexandrial Allen- foundation Starters – Nigeria

42. Nancy Olatunji-International Living Africa Urban and Environment Project – Nigeria

43. Vivian Ifeoma Emesowum, Grassroot People and Gender Development Center – Nigeria For further information:

1. Women Environmental Programme (WEP) Block E Flat 2 Anambra Court, Gaduwa Housing Estate, after Apo Legislative Quarters Abuja, Nigeria info@wepnigeria.net; wep2002@hotmail.com

2. Centre For 21st Century Issues (C21st) 6, Balogun Street, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria titiakosa@gmail.com

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Why Do Women Need Moustaches To be heard?

On Thursday, November 10 2016 the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC hosted an interactive ACTION at COP22 to highlight institutionalized barriers to women’s participation in climate decision-making at household, community, institutional, national, regional and international levels.

Despite women’s disproportionate vulnerability to climate change, women are marginalized from climate decision-making bodies and generally do not hold positions of leadership or authority. Women and other civil society groups demand that governments and institutions ensure women’s full and equal participation in all levels of decision-making, and reach the goal of gender balance through targeted resources and capacity building efforts.

Women and other civil society organizations from around the world  are  also demanding that structures of power are transformed with participatory, rights-based decision-making processes for climate policy that are inclusive of all peoples, particularly women and men in frontline and Indigenous communities in

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the economic South and North. Women demand to be equally and fully engaged in all levels of climate change decision-making! We should not need moustaches to be heard!

 

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Women demonstrating at the action

5 Important Things to know In Engaging Women to Develop Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan

In march  2016, the Centre for 21st century issues on behalf of Educational Coperative society  facilitated   a two day workshop for the development of a 5 year Gender and social development Action plan for Itamapako Community in Ogun state of Nigeria. It was a participatory strategic planning event  aimed at engaging community women to lead in planning and addressing community basic needs that are not yet attended to. The specific objective of the workshop is to promote communal processes, which can help expand the active presence of women in concerted processes of development in Itamapako area of Ogun State.

It was a highly interactive workshop that saw the women take ownership of the process. About 36 women drawn from the 6 Communities that make up Itamapako participated in the workshop.  The women were passionate and eager to work in solidarity to move their community forward

The 5 important  things to know in the process of developing a Local Gender and Social Development Action Plan were brought to the fore during the workshop and they are;

  1. Engaging women as a groups on their own terms to identify community needs helps to bring out the real issues that requires urgent  intervention in the community-The women showed in-depth knowledge of their community, they profiled their community by giving detailed information of water sources, festivals , state of basic amenities, major economic activities, religion  and other information. They identified their needs and ranked them in order of importance.  Some of the key issues identified for urgent action are, revitalization of their abandoned market, access to portable water provision of public toilets in the community, provision of clean cook stoves and women’s human rights training for political empowerment.
  2. Women have informed opinion about community needs– The women gave articulate justification for all the issues identified. On the market issue they gave vivid account of how miscreants used to scare them away from the market by placing  fetish sacrifices at the centre of the market. They know it was the handy work of herbalist in the community supporting some groups who wants the market taken away from their community to another place.
  3. Women have the capacity to self organize and  negotiate for changes -It was interesting to see the Itamapako women provided practical solutions to all the challenges identified in the community. One of innovative strategy they came up with was to form a negotiating team made of women leaders to meet with the traditional rulers of the communities. They sighted instances of occasions where women leaders had taken up the challenge to meet with traditional rulers to speak with herbalist in the communities to stop preparing sacrifices that are placed at the market square. They were able to organize themselves to access seedlings to introduce plantain cultivation in the community.
  4. Women are ready to contribute to the development of their community-Each woman participating in the workshop made at least one  commitment to towards the successful implementation of the action plan developed. Some women volunteered to identify areas where public toilet can be situate, some volunteered to raise awareness about availability of adult literacy classes, some decided to team up with the community Development forum to monitor the repairs going on in the community  primary school, others joined the team that will clean up the market.
  5.   Women are interested in learning more about women’s right and gender mainstreaming for political empowerment In as much as the women expressed fears about  the perception and resistance from men about their political aspiration they still  voiced the need for a systemic women’s right training that will galvanize them to take appropriate step to attain political decision making positions in the community. According to them knowledge is power . They are of the opinion that their  inadequate knowledge about women’s rights issues is a stumbling block to articulating practical strategies to participate meaningfully in the political space.

    A key lesson learnt in the process is  that its  is of crucial importance to provide the space  for women to be able to voice their needs and be drivers of change that will transform their community.

African women Gender and Climate Change @COP21

On the first day of climate change talks in Paris two important side events which advanced gender in climate change with respect to African women was held at the African Pavilion.

The two side events were held simultaneously. One was organized by the  African Working Group on gender and Climate Change. It addressed gender, climate change and sustainable developments: challenges and opportunities for post 2015 agreement.

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The event panelist came from the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, a working group of different actors both state and non state actors, who came together in 2013 in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The objective of the event was to share issues in Africa related to gender and climate change and expectations in Paris agreement as well to deliberate on the impact of climate change and gender and development.

The intent of the working group is to strengthen the negotiators on gender and climate change and to establish women’s coping capacity, this is with a view to strengthen  African common position and to make clear narrative on gender and climate change.

One of the missing link in advancing gender in climate change in Africa  was identified as lack of gender disaggregated data which could for instance inform climate science reports, respect for human rights which includes gender equality is still weak and gender sensitive implementation framework.

As Ban Ki Moon says “climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us equally”. This resonated with the fact that most of the speakers stated that the underlying causes of climate vulnerability has not been addressed due to lack of participation of and empowerment of groups in defining climate change policy  and programs.  Climate change is about human development and sustainable development can’t be achieved unless gender and climate change issues are addressed.

The panelist stated that the Paris agreement needs to focus on supporting more research, ensuring inclusion, recognize importance of traditional knowledge, strengthen capacity and increase resources for actions at local level.

The other side event was organized by New Economic partnership for Africa(NEPAD) and NEPAD Climate fund

The need to establish an African climate fund was based on the premise that African countries have not benefited commensurately  in the different finance mechanisms that have been established due to  lack of  capacity to access the funds in terms of  knowledge of different mechanisms and different options and windows on how to access the funds. Lack of Capacity to develop programs that are bankable and the available  financing arrangement do not address the financial needs of women.

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It is in  recognition of these challenges  that the NEPAD climate Fund was established in 2012 . It is an African owned, African led and African administered fund African  which is tailored to the peculiar African needs.

The fund  support member states of the African Union  and NGOs in the target areas of adaptation of agriculture, Biodiversity Management, access and benefit sharing and policy co-coherence among  other things. Eleven African Countries have so far access the funds

The funds has a strong capacity building element  and it is gender responsive. The fund support Women’s adaptation in agriculture,   the value chains and contributions of women to climate solution. The fund has a gender mainstreaming guidelines that is used to evaluate all proposals. It supports women in Agric business forum where women across the continent show case what they have been doing in the agriculture value chain

One of the eminent personality at the Side event , the former President of Ghana John Kuffour stressed the need to invest in climate change economy and that NEPAD fund demonstrated practical investment in climate change.It is taking care of our people, especially the women and the most vulnerable.  He said further that African countries cannot continue to wait for climate finance from the developed world. African needs to  start mobilizing finance from within  while also leveraging on climate finance provided by developed countries.

By

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and

Ms Edna Kaptoyo

 

 

 

Women Climate Justice Advocates Arrive in Paris For COP21

Ahead of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) taking off from 29th of November 2015 , the  Women climate Justice Advocates supported  by Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) under the Mobilizing Women for Climate Justice Program  arrived in Paris on 27th Of Novembers to strategize with the broader Women Gender Constituency  (WGC) of the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC) on  how to advocate for  Gender and women  in the climate Negotiations.

with the objective of building the capacity and increasing the participation of women advocates in international climate change negotiations with a particular focus on women from civil society organizations and frontline communities who have experience with issues regarding gender equality and climate justice.

Since  September 2015, the women climate advocates have been participating in the AD Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2) negotiations leading up to COP 21

 

In Paris,  at the WGC strategy meeting the women discussed their key demands and positions on issues like, Mitigation and technology, Finance, Adaptation and loss and damage for the climate agreement. Other issues on communication, climate justice actions, side events and other events that will happen during the two weeks of the negotiations were also discussed.

 

The WGC agreed to participate in the Human chain event which replaced the climate march that was cancelled due to security reasons.  The Human Chain action for climate justice was successful with about 20, 000 people participating including the women advocates, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities and civil society groups.

The women climate Justice Advocates specifically had their space with the women groups displaying their banners and chanting gender and climate justice messages prepared by the women’s Global Call for Climate Justice.

The women Climate justice advocates are going to be busy throughout the negotiations lobbying country delegates and engaging delegates with the women’s demands to ensure a gender just climate agreement .

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and Ms Edna Kaptoyo are women climate Justice advocates from Africa and they will be reporting Gender and women’s issues throughout the COP21. Follow us on twitter @titiakosa,  @ednakaptoyo @c21stnigeria on facebook Centre for 21st Century Issues  and Indigenous Information Network.

 

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa-Centre for 21st Century Issues

Ms Edna Kaptoyo- Indigenous Information Network/ International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal peoples Of the Tropical Forest

 

Women’s working Group Reaction To The 7th OF July Draft Addis Action Agenda and Key Messages

Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development – July 2015

 REACTION TO THE 7 OF JULY DRAFT ADDIS ACTION AGENDA AND KEY MESSAGES

 

The Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development (WWG on FfD) would like to

highlight key concerns regarding the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) that is currently

under negotiation and is expected to be finally adopted during the Third Financing for

Development Conference in Addis Ababa taking place from 13 to 16 of July 2015.

We believe that the latest set of negotiations has seriously reduced the integrity of the

Financing for Development agenda, can result in a retrogression from previous FfD

commitments and, thus, limit the possibility to remove the global obstacles to development

as well as setting the right priorities, policies and rules for financing the Sustainable

Development Goals/Post 2015 Development Agenda and the full implementation of

internationally agreed development agendas, including those critical for women’s rights such

as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Cairo Programme of Action on Population and

Development.

The global partnership between developed and developing countries established in the

Monterrey Consensus is at risk of being weakened by the way multi-stakeholder

partnerships are getting promoted, and the lack of commitment by developed countries to

address systemic issues in the United Nations (UN), to recognize and respect the principle

of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and to strengthen the FfD follow up

mechanism. While the draft Action Agenda, importantly, includes in the first paragraph a

commitment to respect all human rights, including the right to development, and that

member states will ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, the draft

lacks an integrated, consistent and explicit human rights based approach. The references to

women’s rights and gender equality in the current text rely on previously agreed language,

some consolidate regressive formulations and others rely heavily on private sector

contribution to achieving gender equality.

The WWG on FfD calls government’s attention on the following key issues at stake and

continues to demand for structural changes in the global economic governance and

development architecture in order to move:

  1. From systemic imbalances towards creating a rights-based pro-development

multilateral economic and financial governance.

  1. From making the business case on women’s empowerment to respecting, protecting

and fulfilling women’s human rights and fixing the structural conditions to realize

them.

  1. From creating an enabling environment to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

and to promote Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) towards safeguards and

investment frameworks that have binding norms, including for Transnational

Corporations, that are consistent with human rights.

  1. From global trade imbalances to respect developing countries policy space for

productive diversification, decent work for women, and sustainable industrial policy.

  1. From taxing women in the informal economy to progressive taxation and international

tax cooperation.

  1. From using Official Development Assistance (ODA) and development cooperation to

leveraging private finance and donor priorities towards untied, additional and

predictable ODA and development cooperation that contributes to the respect,

protection and fulfilment of gender equality, human rights and sustainable

development.

  1. From “new social compacts” towards the implementation of comprehensive and

universal social protection systems and public services

  1. From reducing FfD agenda to the Means of Implementation of the Post 2015

Agenda, towards strengthening FfD mandate and follow up mechanism to remove

global obstacles for the implementation of all the internationally agreed development

agendas

From systemic imbalances towards creating a rights-based pro-development

multilateral economic and financial governance

 

The current Addis Ababa Action Agenda draft does not adequately address the failures of

the systemic issues in the international financial and monetary system that underpin poverty,

inequalities, asymmetries and mal-distribution of power and resources in the global political

economy.

The systemic issues we face today are symptomatic of the financialization of

economies and nature, where the financial sector has become increasingly important in the

generation of profits and more powerful in economic governance. At the bottom, a majority of

women must bear the burdens of care work amidst market and state failures.

The enormous, negative impacts of crises caused by the international economic and

financial rules, on development, social justice and human rights, particularly women’s human

rights, are not adequately addressed. The necessary countercyclical and social policies to

respect women’s human rights and to avoid transferring the costs deriving from austerity

measures, privatization, cuts in cash transfers and social services, food and job insecurity to

women through further increases in their unpaid work are not even mentioned. Thus,

governments are relying on women’s unpaid care work to continue to acts as a stabilizer and

shock absorber of the economic and financial crisis. We are deeply concerned that the draft

Addis Action Agenda falls short in providing alternatives to the status quo.

Governments are still failing to provide sufficient political leadership to strengthen the role of

the UN to lead the necessary human rights-based, pro-development reforms of the global

economic and financial systems. The recommendations and commitments of the outcome of

the Conference of the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its impacts on Development

should have been the foundation of the Addis Action Agenda not only to prevent future

multiple crises but to revert the financialization process that is leading to greater global

inequality, instability and prevents the reorientation of finance to sustainable and equitable

development sectors.

For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) need not be promoted as the permanent

international safety net. The Addis Action Agenda must welcome instead all independent

and autonomous efforts at providing liquidity arrangements that benefit systemically

insignificant, open economies whose currencies are not necessarily preferred for use in

international payments nor for reserves purposes. While dialogue may be encouraged

between the IMF and other regional or bilateral liquidity arrangements, rule-setting must not

be exclusively set by the IMF. The Special Drawing Rights carry high potential as a reserve

asset and this potential to benefit small open economies must be explored fully.

Only by ensuring full and equal representation of developing countries in in setting the global

rules on finance, macroeconomic, trade, investment, debt and tax policies the trend of

transferring resources from developing countries to developed countries can be reversed.

Addressing systemic issues at the UN is a precondition for the achievement of the SDGs,

the realization of the Post-2015 agenda and the full implementation of internationally agreed

development agendas, including those critical for women’s rights such as the Beijing

Platform for Action and the Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development.

From making the business case on women’s empowerment to respecting, protecting

and fulfilling women’s human rights and fixing the structural conditions to realize

them.

 

In paragraph 6 of the preliminary section, the Addis Action Agenda “reiterate[s] the need for

gender mainstreaming, including targeted actions and investments in the formulation and

implementation of all financial, economic, environmental and social policies.” In the year of

Beijing+20, reiterating the need is not enough. Moreover, while the Doha Declaration called

for gender mainstreaming in development policies, including financing for development

policies (Para 4, Doha Declaration), the draft Action Agenda is shifting this understanding.

While it expands the scope from FfD policies towards environmental and social policies it,

negatively, drops the development policies reference and refers to “investments” instead of

“dedicated resources”.

Moreover, the Addis draft reaffirms language agreed in Rio+20 (Para 240, Future we want)

where governments state that “We are committed to women’s and girls’ equal rights and

opportunities in political and economic decision-making and resource allocation”. However,

specific mention of commitment to resource allocation should be linked to the realization of

women’s human rights and advance gender equality otherwise it is not clear to which

purpose the resources will be allocated. Dedicated, “adequate and sufficient” resource

allocation for gender equality and women’s human rights should be guaranteed, including by

international public finance.

It is worth noticing that agreed commitments (Para 31, the Future We Want) and Targets 5.c,

5.5 and 5.1 of the Open Working Group SDG report are reaffirmed: “We recommit to adopt

and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation and transformative actions for the

promotion of gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment at all levels, ensure

women’s equal rights, access and opportunities for participation and leadership in the

economy and to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination in all its form” (Para 6,

AAA draft). 

 

In the final stages of the negotiations, the reference to promote the

empowerment of all women and girls at all levels was removed from the Domestic Resource

Mobilization section towards the preamble, weakening actual government’s obligations to

adopt and strengthen policies and laws that are essential for women’s human rights and

gender equality. Under domestic resource mobilization governments agree to “promote and

enforce non-discriminatory laws, social infrastructure and policies for sustainable

development, as well as to enable women’s full and equal participation in the economy, and

their equal access to decision-making processes and leadership” (Para 21, AAAA draft),

weakening the scope of policies to the ones who are able to promote at the same time

sustainable development and enable women’s participation in the economy.

Moreover, after strong debate in the negotiations, paragraph 240 of the Future We Want that

states to “resolve to undertake legislation and administrative reforms to give women equal

rights with men to economic resources, including access to ownership and control over land

and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, natural resources and appropriate new

technology” was incorporated into the Draft Action Agenda. “Full” should be included along

with “equal rights”, while an explicit reference needs to be made to guaranteeing women’s

and girls economic rights” in order to recognize inherent entitlements of women as full and

equal citizens that are subjects of human rights. Instead of “access to ownership”,

governments should guarantee women’s and girl’s rights to full and equal access to,

ownership and control over resources including the right to inheritance and land titling.

The references of some women’s rights in the draft get undermine by a framework that

shows a strong tendency towards the instrumentalization and commodification of women,

where women’s empowerment, and women’s full and equal participation and leadership in

the economy are vital to significantly enhance economic growth and productivity or to

promote market access for financial services. Different references in the draft Addis Action

Agenda on addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment seem to speak more the

IMF and World Bank language on “Gender Equality as Smart Economics” rather than to

women and girls’ entitlement to social and economic rights which are at the foundation of the

UN.

For instance, financial inclusion is promoted as “key for social inclusion”. However,

microfinance should be qualified given evidence that microfinance has not only be positive. It

has also contributed to exacerbating gender inequalities, and created dangerous levels of

indebtedness among many poor women, particularly when provided by for-profit financial

institutions or intermediaries. Microfinance should not be provided without effective

regulation, recourse mechanisms and consumer protection agencies to prevent predatory

lending and ensure greater financial literacy of consumers. Moreover, while financial

inclusion is overemphasized, little attention is given to structural barriers for women´s

economic rights and access to, ownership and control over economic resources: ie, the

unequal distribution of unpaid care work, the little access to care services, the persistent

gender discrimination in the labour market (through vertical and horizontal segregation2,

over-representation of women in precarious and low-paid jobs, and inadequate and

insufficient social protection).

From creating an enabling environment to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and

to promote Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) towards safeguards and investment

frameworks that have binding norms, including for Transnational Corporations, that

are consistent with human rights.

 

The draft Action Agenda strongly relies on private sector contribution to financing for

development and women’s empowerment, diverting attention away from the role of states in

removing the global obstacles to development, mobilizing official development assistance

and adequate domestic public resources.

The need to provide an enabling environment for business is emphasised, while evidence

shows that the private sector often contradicts and undermines the possibility to respect,

protect and fulfil human rights.

Moreover, the Addis Action Agenda fails to challenge the asymmetry between the set of

binding juridical instruments states have been establishing over the past 40 years to protect

and promote the interests of transnational corporations – especially through Free Trade

Agreements, Bilateral Investment Treaties and Investor to State Dispute Settlement

Mechanisms – on one hand, and the lack of binding instruments to hold corporations

accountable for the human rights violations of people.

The draft Action Agenda fails to agree on mandatory rules and accountability mechanisms to

ensure private sector compliance with human rights, including women’s and indigenous

people’s rights. Instead, its promotes voluntary Global Compact principles on gender

equality that have proven to be wholly inadequate and inappropriate to respond to women’s

human right abuses, especially from transnational corporations. Emblematic cases of human

rights violations and the denial of reparation and compensation for victims – such as the

Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh killing over 1,000 factory works (mostly women)

and the 20 year litigation of 30,000 affected by Chevron intentional pollution of the

Ecuadorean Amazon – exposes how insufficient the existing juridical frameworks are to

ensure the protection of people.

Furthermore, based on the current draft, governments also have failed to acknowledge, let

alone endorse, the critically important process unfolding in the UN Human Rights Council to

develop an international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and other

Business Enterprises that is based in the international human rights framework.

FfD3 needs to address the duties and responsibilities of States to protect people from harms

caused by the private sector, and of businesses to respect human rights in their activities.

This includes that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) needs to meet the decent work agenda as

defined by ILO conventions, with particular emphasis also on sub-contractors compliance

with human rights and women’s rights. Also, effective implementation of a ‘country by

country reporting’ obligation for multinational corporations to publicly disclose as part of their

annual reports for each country in which they operate and effective accountability

mechanisms for corporations, states and individuals at all levels. To facilitate this, a UN

global inter-governmental system for automatic exchange of information on tax should be

established.

Moreover, private sector activities including public-private partnerships are promoted with no

sufficient safeguards to ensure accessibility, affordability and quality of the services and

infrastructure that they are expected to deliver, or to ensure that they do not create

unacceptable contingent liabilities for governments.

FfD3 also needs to ensure that any private sector or PPP project has in place accountability

mechanisms in compliance with human rights standards and norms, including environmental

and social safeguards. Agreed timelines for reporting and evaluation must be agreed ex-ante

and with full participation of the affected communities, including women and girls, indigenous

communities and people facing structural discrimination.

From global trade imbalances to respect developing countries policy space for

productive diversification, decent work for women, and sustainable industrial policy.

 

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda wrongly characterises international trade as an unqualified

good, claiming at the outset that international trade is an engine for poverty reduction and

sustainable development. This is despite the evidence that the benefits of trade liberalisation

have been distributed extremely unevenly between and within countries, the exploitation of

women’s cheap labour and precarious employment as a source of competitive advantage to

attract foreign investment, the displacement and appropriation of indigenous people’s

knowledge, the confinement of developing countries to low value-added niches within global

value chains that restrict skills transfers and technology spill-overs that are necessary for the

development of domestic industry.

The reference to trade and “appropriate supporting policies” to assist and promote decent

work and women’s empowerment is misleading, especially when governments have failed to

agree to include mandatory ex-ante and periodic human rights impact assessments of all

trade and investment policies and to protect policy space specially for developing countries

to implement policies such as protection of infant-industries, female-job intensive sectors,

small women’s producers, indigenous and traditional knowledge or access to medicines. It

fails to adequately recognize the gendered impacts of the model of trade liberalization

promoted by the WTO and multilateral preferential trade and investment agreements,

including the increase of women’s burden of unpaid care work through privatization that

makes social services such as water and health less accessible.

Moreover, the Draft Action Agenda does little to challenge the expansion of trade and

investment agreements that aggressively pursue regulatory harmonisation and empower

foreign investors to sue governments for implementing domestic regulation relating to wage

policy, environmental protection, public health, affirmative action and macro-prudential

policy.

It also fails to challenge the closed and secretive nature of the negotiation of these

agreements, which undermine the right of all citizens to participate in public affairs. The

deletion of a provision calling for the proper review of investor-state dispute settlement

clauses is an enormous missed opportunity to ensure that these clauses do not undermine

the right of states to regulate, especially in areas such as health, environment, water and

sanitation, employment, micro, small and medium enterprise development and infrastructure,

which are all critical for gender justice and women’s human rights. Moreover, the

development impact of Aid for trade programs including those who claim to improve women’

access to global market has been difficult to assess, while criticism about policy

conditionalities to trade liberalization increase. Aid for trade promises can’t be used to

shifting ODA funds priorities that can be dedicated to fulfil women’s human rights and

poverty eradication to leverage the private sector and promote trade liberalisation.

From taxing women in the informal economy to progressive taxation and international

tax cooperation.

 

It is extremely concerning that the reference to “promote equity, including gender equality as

an objective in all tax and revenue policies” was removed from the document. Governments

draft agree to “work to improve the fairness of our tax systems”, but the Draft Action Agenda

might be promoting the contrary when it proposes simultaneously “broadening the tax base

and continuing efforts to integrate the informal sector into the formal economy in line with

country circumstances”. Tax policy is not gender neutral and domestic resource mobilization

policies need to be reviewed for their impact on women’s income, work, including unpaid

labour and unpaid care, and property and assets ownership. Regressive tax policies that for

example rely disproportionately on indirect taxation are likely to affect women living in

poverty more heavily because of women’s socially constructed roles as primary caregivers

and their responsibility for providing goods and services for their families. Expanding the tax

base through “formalization of the informal economy” can translate into negatively affecting

self-employed women including small-scale market vendors, farmers and fisherpeople and

those in micro and small-scale enterprises, who would likely bear a disproportionate high tax

burden, while further enabling big corporations and rich individuals to continue to benefit

from tax avoidance. The disproportionate burden of taxation on women and all people living

in poverty must instead be reversed, as part of a broader shift in fiscal policy at the national

level to address inequalities. Taxation reform should garner additional and sufficient

resources to comply states’ obligations to commit the maximum available resources to

fulfilling women’s human rights. The resistance from developed countries to ensure greater

international tax cooperation through the creation of a UN tax body that is urgently required

by all countries to truly combat illicit financial flows and tax evasion, and to address

inequalities within and between countries, is unacceptable.

For governments to be able to mobilize domestic resources, it is central to consider domestic

policy space and how the international institutional environment supports or undermines the

capacity of national governments to implement macroeconomic, productive, labor and social

policies towards equitable and sustainable development patterns. Specific commitments

should be taken in key policy areas of domestic public resources mobilization to contribute to

sustainable development. Priority must be given to productive diversification policies in

sustainable and job-intensive sectors (particularly for women), along with complementary

macroeconomic, trade, investment, labor and social policies that remove obstacles for

equitable development strategies.

Finally, while we acknowledge that the Action Agenda draft includes a commitment to

“increase transparency and equal participation in the budgeting process, and promote

gender responsive budgeting and tracking” (Para 30, Draft AAA), “promote” is not strong

enough to guarantee that women’s rights are getting fullfiled, nor that specific actions are

taken to remove structural obstacles for gender equality.

From using Official Development Assistance (ODA) and development cooperation to

leveraging private finance and donor priorities towards untied, additional and

predictable ODA and development cooperation that contributes to the respect,

protection and fulfilment of gender equality, human rights and sustainable

development.

 

The draft Addis Action Agenda “urges” countries to meet the 0.7% of GNI as ODA, rather

than requiring a commitment to 0.7% which is substantiated by a clear and binding

timetable. The inclusion of “We strongly encourage all donor countries to establish, by the

end of 2015, indicative timetables to illustrate how they will increase their assistance and

reach their goals” from the Zero draft is now gone. In order to tackle volatility of ODA flows

and ensure additionality, the commitment should be accompanied by binding timetables by

region to illustrate how and where ODA will be increased and ensure that systems and

accountability mechanisms regarding goals achieved are in place. The increase in ODA

should not lead to a cycle of debt for the recipient country. Rather the major increase in ODA

should be felt in the grants component of assistance rather than in the loan component. ODA

must not be used to exercise power over recipient countries, for example through the

imposition of policy conditionalities. Neither should ODA be linked to trade negotiations.

We welcome the specific mentions of ODA to Middle income countries (MICs) in Paras 71

and 72, however, the Action Agenda focuses on MDBs not in all donors to develop

graduation policies that are sequenced, phased and gradual (…) and to explore ways to

ensure that their assistance best addresses the opportunities and challenges presented by

the diverse circumstances of MICs. It is crucial that the text includes all donors, including

bilateral and multilateral donors from the OECD DAC which still account for the majority of

funds for gender equality and women’s rights.

Moreover, they are imperative to protect the human rights of affected communities. The

World Bank’s safeguards revision process has already raised grave concerns about the

consistency of the new framework with existing human rights obligations and international

law, including in relation to resettlement policy, the rights of indigenous peoples and

women’s human rights.

In relation to Multilateral Development Banks, (Para 75, AAA draft), we note that the Action

Agenda mentions that the Member states will “encourage all development banks to establish

or maintain social and environmental safeguards systems, including on human rights,

gender equality and women’s empowerment, that are transparent, effective, efficient, and

time-sensitive”. While this is positive, it only encourages, but it does not include concrete

plans and mechanisms to hold them accountable and monitor to such safeguard systems.

without an explicit commitment to set up an intergovernmental accountability and follow up

mechanism, this remains rhetoric. MDBs must ensure that their safeguards are consistent

with the extraterritorial human rights obligations of governments, and existing obligations

under international law.

Furthermore, all the efforts to include a specific Plan of Action as proposed by Mexico and

supported by CELAC and G77 were removed from the final Action Agenda. Without a

concrete plan on financing and meeting the needs of MICs, there will be weak actions and

diluted responsibilities. We would like to see first the political will to agree on such an action

plan and the appropriate technical environment to map out its specificities, with the inclusion

of Civil Society. Developed countries still have responsibilities towards middle income

countries and thus, middle income countries must be considered ODA recipients. Given the

fact that MICs have the largest number of the people living in poverty, the majority of whom

are women.

We note positively the specific mention to “urge countries to track and report resource

allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment”, however, tracking and reporting

alone is not enough. The Action Agenda should call upon donors to adequately fund gender

equality, and women’s human rights and empowerment. It is unacceptable that developed

countries are not committing to scaling up the share of ODA for achieving gender equality,

women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. ODA must be used to promote

development while reducing structural inequalities including gender inequality. It must this

uphold the obligations of all governments to fulfil existing internationally agreed development

agendas and goals related with women’s human rights included in the Beijing Platform for

Action, the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and

Development, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against

Women, among others, without resorting to impositions and policy conditionalities within the

narrow framework of aid giving. Furthermore, ODA should be provided in a way that

effectively supports longer term structural change for example through sustained support to

civil society organizations and especially women’s rights organizations.

ODA continues to play a key role in support of gender equality and women’s human rights

and empowerment. However, the OECD DAC GENDERNET analysis of donor’s financial

commitments in this field showed that there is a big gap between the official rhetoric and

actual practice. While there has been an overall upward trend in the amounts of aid focused

on gender equality in education and population services, gender focused aid in other sectors

has remained stalled and insufficient. The share of ODA for achieving gender equality and

women’s human rights should be scaled up ensuring that there are year to year increases by

some agreed upon level and new and additional official funding should be secured to

implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Gender equality standalone

goal on women’s rights and gender equality must have stand-alone funding to fulfil its

ambition.

We call for caution on the multi-stakeholder partnerships in specific areas such as health,

education and food that are included in the draft Action Agenda. These partnerships with the

private sector are not discussed and approved by governments in an intergovernmental

space at the UN. The multi-stakeholder partnership approach can have severe

consequences for the implementation of the development agenda for the next decades since

it relies on siloed approaches without a clear link to human rights obligations and

comprehensive development agendas, and national strategies. For example, the “Every

Women Every Child” initiative has a mother-child approach in relation to sexual and

reproductive health, and it does not clearly outline its contribution and articulation with the

comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights policies of the Program on action

of the ICPD. Furthermore, their funding is unpredictable and volatile as they depend heavily

on voluntary commitments from the private and corporate sector. Before promoting these

voluntary initiatives, governments should establish an open, transparent, and participatory

UN led intergovernmental space for oversight, monitoring and review of any partnerships

developed or promoted within the framework of the United Nations.

For instance, in the case of Adult Education, the tendency to promote the privatization and

marketization of education coupled with the scarce financing of public education

jeopardize the right to education and the possibilities for young and adult women and men to

have free access to education. Women are key to the realization of the right to food for all,

they have unequal access to food and unequal access to resources for food.

Moreover, any multi-stakeholder process needs to start with the role of States as guarantors

of the rights of communities and individuals and all governments need to ensure democratic

ownership so that all people’s voices and their concerns be the primary basis for national

development plans, policies and processes. Democratic ownership of development

strategies by the people through representative, transparent and accountable institutions is

the main mechanism for achieving the governance needed for achieving sustainable,

inclusive and just development that reaches all people. A true implementation of the principle

of democratic ownership requires the necessary democratic policy space, and insists that

national parliaments and civil society, including women’s rights organizations, must have a

say in defining development strategies. The role of civil society in development processes

should be ensured in line with the right to participate in public decision-making, which should

be reflected in substantive inclusion of civil society, including feminists and women’s rights

organizations, in development processes.

From “new social compacts” towards the implementation of comprehensive and

universal social protection systems and public services

 

While the Monterrey Consensus recognized the vital importance of investment in economic

and social infrastructure, social services and social protection, including education, health,

nutrition, shelter and social security programmes, which take special care of children and

older persons and are gender sensitive (Para 16, Monterrey Consensus), and the Doha

Declaration advanced “universal access to basic economic and social infrastructure and

inclusive social services” (Para 13, Doha Declaration), the Addiss Action Agenda draft

emphasizes the commitment to new social compacts (Para 12, AAA draft), which obscures

the fact that States are already under the obligation to fulfill the human right to social security

established in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant

on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Therefore, the commitment should be

stronger in ensuring progressive financing to build comprehensive systems of social

protection that provide universal access to quality social services.

Specific commitments should be made to include care as a core axis of social protection,

and a high priority. There is a strong need for policies, regulations and services to transform

current patterns of sexual division of labour, including the unequal distribution of unpaid care

work, through improving social infrastructure, expanding universal care services and

promoting the transformation of gender roles that reinforce an unfair social organization of

care. The aim of “generating full and productive employment and decent work for all” (Para

16, AAA draft) is unachievable unless States assume concrete and effective commitments to

transform these structural barriers. Unfortunately, the mention to reduce and redistribute

unpaid care work proposed by different block of countries is not finally included in the latest

draft version of the Addis Action Agenda.

From reducing FfD agenda to the Means of Implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda,

towards strengthening FfD mandate and follow up mechanism to remove global

obstacles for the implementation of all the internationally agreed development

agendas

 

Paragraph 19 of the Addis Action Agenda states “The post-2015 development agenda,

including the SDGs, can be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for

sustainable development, supported by the concrete policies and actions as outlined in the

present Action Agenda.” However it is important to recall that FfD agenda is more than the

means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, and not all means of

implementation of the

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Women and Gender Constituency : Position Paper on the 2015 New Climate Agreement

June 1 2015

A just and gender-responsive climate agreement can take different forms, but fundamentally it will; respect and promote human rights and gender equality: ensure sustainable development and environmental integrity; require fair, equitable, ambitious and binding mitigation commitments in line with the principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR); call for urgent and prioritized adaptation action and resources that respond to the most vulnerable countries, communities and populations; demand a sustainable energy paradigm that prioritizes safe, decentralized renewable energy systems that benefit people and communities; ensure adequate, new, additional and predictable climate finance for developing countries; provide resources to reconcile loss and damage already incurred from climate inaction; and, ensure full, inclusive and gender-equitable public participation in decision-making, with increased mandatory ex-ante and periodic human rights and gender equality impact assessments. It must ensure that gender equality, equal access to decision making, and benefit sharing are integrated into all its provisions, including through gender-responsive means of implementation. Sex and gender disaggregated data and analysis of the underlying causes of any gender disparities must be mainstreamed in all information, communication and reporting systems.

READ the full WGC Position Paper on the 2015 Climate Agreement  http://womengenderclimate.org/

Th

Call To Adopt Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter

Engagement with Female candidates
Engagement with Female candidates

25th March, 2015

Press Release: Lagos

 

 

Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) Calls On Female  Candidates Contesting 2015 Elections  in Lagos State To Adopt The Gender Equality and  Social Inclusion Charter

The Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT), formally presented a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter signed and adopted by willing female candidates vying for elective positions in the 2015 General Elections in Lagos. The pact, which was signed on Tuesday, 17th March, by some female candidates of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People Democratic Party (PDP), is still open for adoption by more female candidates.

LASGAT, an ensemble of organizations and individuals working for gender equality, women’s empowerment and social inclusion, therefore, calls on the electorate to use the opportunities provided by the 2015 general elections to vote for candidates with demonstrable capacity for improving the lives and status of women, children, people living with disabilities, the youth, marginalized and   socially vulnerable communities in Lagos state.

Meanwhile, LASGAT will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to promote peace in the course of the 2015 elections, while engaging the candidates to ensure their compliance with agreement reached on its 7 Asks.  LASGAT expects that a viable collaboration on gender mainstreaming and inclusive participation will facilitate the enactment of the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill and increase women’s participation in politics from less than 10 percent to at least 35%.

As the nation slowly approaches the May 29 swearing-in of elected government at the federal and state levels, LASGAT asks that all elected candidates in Lagos State, commit to; (i) the implementation of the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025; (ii) inclusive education; (iii) investment in women and youth empowerment and livelihoods (iv) affordable health care services and social security; (v) gender equality and inclusive governance; (vi) providing basic amenities and infrastructural development, and, (vii) protecting and strengthening the enforcement of basic rights

Overall, the components of the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Charter of LASGAT are desirable not only to gain the confidence of the people but also to ensure the integrity of the governance system in Lagos state. Knowing the Charter will undoubtedly speed up women’s active involvement and meaningful participation in building a Lagos for all, we look forward to a viable engagement with all elected officials on the cross-cutting issues of gender.

Signed

Dr Keziah Awosika                                        Ms Titilope Akosa

Chairperson LASGAT                                     Cordinator LASGAT

A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION

A CALL TO ACCELERATE ACTION IN ACHIEVING EQULAITY FOR NIGERIAN WOMEN BEING THE TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY CENTRE FOR 21ST CENTURY ISSUES (C21st) ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN ‘S DAY CELEBRATION
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) join the global world in celebrating the International Women`s Day (IWD) today 8th March 2014.
This year’s IWD celebration is a very significant moment for Nigerian women in that it is coinciding with the celebration of Nigeria’s 100years as a Nation, the kicking off of the National Dialogue and the processes leading to the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Undoubtedly it is an important policy moment to raise awareness about critical areas where government needs to accelerate efforts in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.
C21st welcome some states governments initiative in enacting gender sensitive Laws (such as Domestic violence law, child rights Law and the Gender equality and opportunities Law) and the efforts by the current government to achieve equality for Nigerian women through its various policy pronouncements supporting women’s right.
We are however deeply concerned that government words are yet to match their actions in achieving equality for the Nigerian woman. We are concerned that;
1. In spite of women ‘s contribution to the development of Nigeria , the percentage representation of women in politics and governance is still less than 35% affirmative action target stipulated under the Nigerian National gender policy.
2. The National dialogue which is a key policy space to galvanize action for the achievement of equality for women parades less than 35% representation for women.
3. Nigeria still has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world
4.Women and girls in Nigeria are still exposed to all forms of violence and abuse. One in 3 women and girls aged 15-24 have been victims of violence.
5.Majority of Nigerian women are still poor and Nigerian women has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
6. Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of gender energy poverty index.
7. Women and girls are at the receiving end of disasters occasioned by the impacts of climate change and the violent conflicts.
8.As the nation is progressing with the global world to transit from the M DGs to the new SDGs, Nigeria still displays high level of inequality which disproportionately affects women.

21st hereby calls for accelerated action in the above highlighted areas and calls on Nigerian government and all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency;
1.Implement 35% affirmative action to increase the number of women in politics and governance
2.Increase women representation to not less than 35% in the forthcoming National dialogue.
3. Ensure that gender equality and women empowerment issues are central in all discussions during the National Dialogue
3.Strengthen the implementation of domestic violence law and enact the gender equality and opportunities Law in all states of the federation
4.Ensure protection and adequate security for the lives and property of all Nigerians especially those living in the Boko- Haram catchment areas
5.Adopt and implement minimum social protection floors and /standard to address poverty, losses and damages arising from the impacts of climate change and inequality generally for equitable and just development.

C21st joins Nigerian women in mourning the death of children and other citizens killed as a result of Boko- Haram attacks in the Northern part of Nigeria and pray that God will give the families of the dead the fortitude to bear the losses.
We celebrate and congratulate all women including Nigerian women for their relentless effort in achieving equality for women.
God bless Nigerian women.
Signed

MS Titilope Akosa
Executive Director Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), Lagos, Nigeria
This 8th day of March 2014
,