UN Women’s Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri strongly called for the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda, and a shared responsibility for delivering on it, at the 12th International Forum convened this week by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), in Istanbul.
The four-day AWID Forum is the largest gathering of civil society and women’s rights leaders with donor agencies, development practitioners, and women’s rights activists from diverse sectors and regions. The 2012 Forum theme is “Transforming Economic Power to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice”.
Speaking at a UN Women-led panel session on the post-2015 development agenda, (the term-end of the UN Millennium Development Goals), Ms. Puri stressed the need for more unified processes. Discourses must be streamlined on both the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda, she said, with gender equality fully integrated into all agenda-setting mechanisms. “The intention is to define a post-MDG scenario, and propel the development agenda forward, as a shared one,” she said. “For this we need one framework and one process that will be transformational in nature, and make a difference to people’s and women’s lives.”
The session, which brought together women’s organizations and coalitions with UN Women representatives, offered an overview of the organization’s perspectives on the post-2015 international development framework. It also gave women’s civil society organizations a platform to discuss their related priorities and perspectives.
UN Women organized and participated in six key events at the Forum), engaging civil society and other partners on topics that spanned gender-responsive budgeting and the knowledge gateway on women’s economic development, to global governance, and financing for gender equality. A Caucus session was also organized on the next edition of UN Women’s flagship publication, Progress of the World’s Women, which will focus on women’s economic rights.
At the Forum, UN Women stressed the need for the greater involvement and full participation of women in the rapidly changing geo-political scenarios globally. Underlining that strong advocacy will be needed in order for gender equality principles to permeate all dimensions of global governance, UN Women Assistant-Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said that “there is a need for strong coalitions, alliances and lobbying to ensure that gender equality does not get diluted, and instead gets reinforced in any new framework.”
The AWID Forum is convened every four years, and gathers more than 2000 women’s groups and civil society organizations and representatives. Participants debate and share feminist perspectives on development, women’s human rights, feminist theory and activism, through a range of plenary sessions, discussion and networking platforms.