Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals
After approximately three years of global consultations, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals on 25 September 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for achieving Agenda 2030, a global plan of action for eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable economic, social, and environmental development. Consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, these goals set out the issues that the member states have set out to achieve between 2015 and 2030. The goals have been built upon the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015).
SDGs include a stand-alone goal on gender equality (Goal 5). Furthermore, gender equality is established as a cross-cutting issue in the policy document of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. Even though Agenda 2030 and the SDGs emphasise the need to move beyond ‘business as usual’, they do not address all of the systematic barriers in front of an equal and dignified life for all people and the planet. There remain criticisms against the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, especially related to the neoliberal economic system on which they still rely. There are also criticisms against the voluntary nature of reporting and accountability of the member states under the agenda.
It is IWRAW Asia Pacific’s position that certain global commitments (such as SDGs) would not be able to succeed in the elimination of poverty and help in the fight for gender equality. This is because these specific commitments have been made without explicit/institutionalised ties to existing international human rights mechanisms and without a robust accountability framework.
CEDAW and other UN binding treaty processes are important to fill this gap for the SDGs process, and therefore the interplay/ties between these processes should be strengthened to ensure a stronger accountability from the SDGs.
Agenda 2030 and the SDGs could provide entry points for advocacy when utilised in connection with binding human rights treaty processes, especially for a macroeconomy for gender equality. This is due to their connections to the current neoliberal economic structures, and the space they open up for the official non-governmental stakeholder groups to engage with the processes.1Information on these official stakeholder groups can be accessed at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/mgos
For a comprehensive overview of the the SDGs advocacy process and to connect with other feminists working in this area, visit the Women’s Major Group (WMG) website. WMG “has the responsibility to facilitate women’s civil society active participation, information sharing and input into the policy space provided by the United Nations”, and works to “promote human rights-based sustainable development with a focus on women’s human rights, the empowerment of women and gender equality.”
- 1Information on these official stakeholder groups can be accessed at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/mgos