Women are the key to sustainable development
JOHANNESBURG COUNCIL- The Progressive Agenda, 15-16 November 2004
The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Johannesburg on 15-16 November 2004, ten years on from the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, at which 189 member states agreed on the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, which listed the following twelve critical areas of concern: Women and poverty; Education and training of women; Women and health; Violence against women; Women and armed conflict; Women and the economy; Women in power and decision-making; Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women; Human rights of women; Women and the media; Women and the environment; and The girl-child:
- Recalls that in September 2000 at the United Nations Millennium Summit, 189 governments reaffirmed their commitments to fulfil a collective responsibility for sustainable development and poverty eradication by the year 2015. They adopted the Millennium Declaration, which listed eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
- States that while all MDGs are critically important, "gender"cross cuts all MDGs and gender equality is crucial for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Education for women and girls - while a goal in itself - also contributes to achieving the goals of reducing child mortality, including sexual and reproductive rights, relieving hunger and poverty and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Expanding women’s access to and command over income and productive resources contributes to poverty reduction and reduction in child mortality. Women are instrumental in protecting the environment and ensuring effective use of natural resources, including water, soil and trees;
- Calls on governments to ratify all instruments for the protection and promotion of women’s rights with reference to the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Outcome Document of the special session of the UN General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century";
- Commits itself to taking initiatives for social, economic and political empowerment of women and to overcome the remaining gaps, notably in the fields of education, undertaking to ensure that education levels of men and women are lifted, awareness of the need for equality is raised to enable the mobilisation of the entire population for development, and that employment, political power sharing, eradication of poverty, granting of sexual and reproductive rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination are intensified;
- Urges the richest countries to make concrete efforts towards the targets of 0.7 per cent of GDP for official development assistance (ODA) if the poorest countries draw up their anti-poverty programmes to open up trade and investment and tackle corruption;
- Underlines that the international community and the international agencies need a clear framework upon which to base policies, programmes and development assistance for achieving the MDGs on the basis of gender-mainstreaming;
- Insists on giving priority to the gender dimension in other UN World Conferences, such as Cairo +10 and the World Summit for Social Development in 2005, taking into account the UN Millennium Development Goals;
- Calls on the UN Secretary General to develop a global strategy for the eradication of the trafficking of women and girls and all forms of violence against them, including asylum rights for victims of violence.
- In conclusion, the Socialist International calls on all member parties in the North to put pressure on national parliaments to help finance the MDGs, to monitor the commitments made by donor governments and to hold them accountable. In the same way all member parties of the Socialist International in the South have to fulfil their part through good policies and transparent governance.