The High-level Panel of Eminent Persons

In July 2012, the Secretary-General appointed a High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda. The Panel is co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom.

The Panel presented their report to the Secretary-General in May 2013, which provided recommendations regarding their vision on the post-2015 development agenda, key principles for reshaping the global partnership for development and strengthening accountability mechanisms. It outlines how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an ambitious yet achievable post-2015 development agenda around the pillars of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability.

UN Women welcomes the recommendations of the High-level Panel, which made a case for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and for mainstreaming a gender perspective in all other goals. As part of their Goal 2 — Empower Girls and Women and Achieve Gender Equality — the panel proposes four targets:

  • prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women;
  • end child marriage;
  • ensure equal rights of women to own and inherit property, sign a contract, register a business and open a bank account; and
  • eliminate discrimination against women in political, economic and public life.

The Panel is not alone in prioritizing gender equality issues. In June, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network presented the UN Secretary-General with its report on the future development agenda. A few days later, Global Compact, the UN body working to encourage companies to embrace a set of universal business principles safeguarding human rights, labour rights and the environment, presented a parallel report. All three reports propose goals or elements of goals on gender equality and empowering women. Collectively, the reports are a testament to the emerging consensus that achieving gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment really is a central element of efficient development.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network report stresses the importance of ending discrimination and effectively monitoring discrimination for different groups who experience it in diverse ways. The Global Compact report also highlights the need to support women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, as well as improved access to employment in the formal sector.