Pakistani women peacekeepers in the audience at the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad, where Secretary-General António Guterres delivered an address on the topic of peacekeeping. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten
  • Opinion by Simone Galimberti (kathmandu and nepal)
  • Monday, March 6, 2023
  • Inter Press Service
  • The following opinion piece is part of series to mark International Women’s Day, March 8

The UN Human Rights Special Procedures for Women should be reorganized. On the other hand, national programs supporting women must become more integrated. The Generation Equality Forum and a new global platform could bring these complementary, but very different, realms of works together to engage leaders and the global public.

You are entitled Girls’ and Young Women’s ActivismThe publication is a product UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and GirlsThe formally, a special procedure within the United Nation Human RightsOfficially, the Office of Human Rights High Commissioner.

The blueprint gives real and concrete guidance about how direct engagement and participation of young girls and women is vital if governments are serious in achieving gender equality.

The Working Group is composed by five experts, mostly academician but also practitioners, on women’s rights and despite the low profile, it maintains a real busy annual schedule that makes its work incredibly relevant and valuable.

It meets three times per year to plan and coordinate, but it also holds dialogue at the Human Rights Council every June. In addition to reporting to General Assembly in October/November, and participating at the annual March meeting. Commission on the Status of the Women.

In addition to all of these duties, and considering that their commitment to the Working Group continues alongside their official and equally demanding full time jobs, the members also visit member states annually to monitor and evaluate their work to protect women against discrimination.

Its work is not recognized or visible.

One reason is that UN’s human rights architecture to promote and defend women’s rights requires drastic reform.

There are too many mechanisms often with an almost overlapping mandates tasked to protect women’s rights, perhaps also a reflection on the inevitable rivalries at the UN and the consequent compromises that are always struck by the member states.

The Working Group is not the only one. UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against WomenCurrently Ms. Reem AlsalemShe began her tenure in August 2021.

Even though she is an UN Human Rights officer, her mandate seems stronger and more visible than that of the Working Group members.

The former mechanism focuses on discrimination while the latter is solely aimed at assessing cases against women. However, it is worth asking if it is possible to develop a more cohesive approach, a more effective mode of monitoring and protecting the rights of women all over the globe.

It is clear that we must not ignore the fact we are talking about special procedures mechanisms The following are the Human Rights CouncilThe UN’s intergovernmental body, the UN’s only forum in which member states can discuss, share, and peer review their human rights.

Because they only include top experts in matters related to human rights, the special procedures are vital. Their contributions give greater legitimacy to the UN System’s work to uphold rights of those most vulnerable around the world.

A possibility to strengthen their work could be to imagine a different “governance” that maximizes their opinions and reviews, even with the possibility to provide full time tenures and adequate resources to support their work and give it the visibility it deserves.

Let’s also bear in mind that in matter of women’s rights, there is also the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women That should be considered the guardian for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women CEDAW is also known.

It is composed by twenty-three experts and one of its main tasks is to “assist States parties in the preparation of initial and subsequent periodic reports” and holding constructive dialogue with them and issue the so called “concluding observations” on what the member states present to show their commitment to CEDAW.

A very weak and inefficient coordinating mechanism is available to help coordinate between different mechanisms. Platform of Independent UN and Regional Experts Mechanisms on Elimination of Discrimination and Violence against WomenOr EDVAW platform.

Officially started in 2017, the platform aims to “promote thematic and institutional cooperation between the UN and regional expert mechanisms on the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and girls with the view of accelerating domestication of international and regional standards, achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls”.

It is a fact that this mechanism did not gain traction or get the mandate to coordinate UN and autonomous regional mechanisms.

The Commission on the Status of the Women, as mentioned earlier, is the oldest of these mechanisms. It has been indispensable over the past decades to integrate women’s rights into the universal human rights agenda. However, it is now obsolete.

Up to now, we have only focused on mechanisms to protect, monitor and uphold the rights of women.

We have not yet discussed the “program” side of the equation, the work to prevent violence and discrimination against women and promote their empowerment being done by UN agencies and programs, including UN Women the agency that provides the secretariat of the Commission on the Status of Women.

In this regard, the UN System also provides the opportunity to provide the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality IANWGE is the acronym for International Network of Women in Government, which brings together all the major women focal points across all UN agencies and programs.

Under responsibility of UN Women, the Network appears weak and just a formality though we should assume that at country level, all the work related to women’s empowerment is coordinated under the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework Formerly known as United Nations Development Assistance Framework.

This is a process that could be further improved to increase cooperation between agencies and programs.

It is clear that both the human rights accountability mechanisms as well as the programs and actions on the ground to alter the status quo require a stronger coordination and synergy. This might be opposed by some UN members who are unlikely to support any kind of strengthening of human rights mechanisms.

Even the Commission on the Status of Women herself, upcoming session Should be reconsidered.

The Commission is an unnoticed advocacy and knowledge-creation institution that provides a multiyear, multi-year thematic plan. Each year, the Commission brings up a topic to be discussed and analysed.

This year, for example, the focus will be on “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls” while last year’s theme was centered around climate change, environment and disaster prevention.

It is clear that it is vital to have a global forum that brings together top experts on the issues relevant to achieving SDG 5. But it’s not difficult to see how a UN architecture that is more cohesive and women-centered would produce and spend less.

Let’s remind ourselves that the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs brought some institutional innovations in the way the UN operates, primarily the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable DevelopmentThis is the UN’s main platform for promoting the SDGs.

Neben seiner usual gathering This year, the Forum will host a conference in July. another SDG Summit The largest forum to discuss and review the SDGs at all levels of political leadership around the world will be held in September.

Yet, while we are referring to a strong advocacy and review mechanism with a considerable amount of convening power, the High-Level Political Forum is simply what it is, a review mechanism of countries’ performances towards accomplishing the SDGs and important vehicle for debating them.

The reform of an UN System stronger, better equipped to reach SDG 5, must acknowledge the deep divide between promotion and defence of human rights, focusing on women, and on the other, actions on the ground at the legislative and judiciary levels, to change the status-quo.

UN Human Rights, for example, has no official role in hosting the High Level Political Forum which is instead hosted by ECOSOC. It also has a very limited presence at country level.

There are two internal reforms that could improve the UN System’s chances of ensuring women’s rights are protected and their living conditions improve. These include improvements in the way Human Rights works and a fundamental rethinking of the work of UN women-oriented service, advocacy and delivery-oriented agency.

On the former, the UN Human Rights could undertake, with the aim of giving them more voice and authority, a major reform of its “accountability” mechanisms that rely on the professionalism, integrity and expertise of world class activists, advocates and legal scholars.

It is also necessary to review the role of the Commission on the Status of the Women. The Commission on the Status of the Women’s role is limited in the development sector. It has also become virtually nonexistent and unrecognized by the global public.

On the latter, in terms of programs and initiatives supporting women and their rights around the world, only a true One United Nations approach at country level could do the job with ultimately a much better coordination and one unified “delivery” channel.

Both processes of change and their respective spheres of work, accountability and program, could then be promoted through a united “Global Women” platform that could end up with the same visibility that COP process gained for climate action.

A multi-partner forum that was recently established could be a key vehicle for achieving SDG 5. What am I referring to? Generation Equality ForumUN Women has facilitated the joint initiative between France and Mexico, called ‘The Friend of Mexico’.

It is a powerful tool for facilitating new collaborations. The first meeting was in Mexico City in 2021 and the second in Paris in 2021. These events set the stage for an ambitious global plan of action. Global Acceleration Plan.

It is interesting because the Forum is action-oriented. Forum members commit to taking action through six sub-area groups, known as Generation Equality Action Coalitions That would cover all the areas that would lead to SDG 5.

The coalitions of hundreds from civil society organizations, global foundations as well as private corporations can help facilitate partnerships between civil society and the private sector. This capacity is something the UN System has never managed to master.

This bold and innovative attempt to mobilize efforts and investments in the rights of girls and women around the globe can become the epicenter for a new, women-focused development architecture.

Can a hybrid vehicle that rallies global investments and women’s actions help to galvanize global attention and support their rights while also helping to achieve the SDG 5 targets?

Finally, would a new women focused “governance” of development assistance also force the UN System to change for good its working modalities?

Even if the accountability mechanisms under UN Human Rights would remain formally separated by this process of renewal for women ‘rights, nevertheless the banner of the Generation Equality Forum transformed into a “Global Women” platform could be used to highlight and “empower” their work.

Even though the last gathering was very successful, it is possible that the Initiative will get additional momentum this year with the addition of another Generation Equality Forum. low key event It celebrated its 1st anniversary.

Yet it was still an important gathering because it was where the Forum’s first accountability report Unveiled.

Within a few days, the Forum will be active participate Perhaps the opposite should happen at the next session of the Commission on the Status of Women, but with some insight,

The Commission and any other women-focused mechanisms and programs could, at the minimum, become part of an even larger and more institutionalized organization that should also fully align to, and possibly become, the central pillar of SDG 5 in The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

We are up to date Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: the Gender Snapshot 2022 There is so much more to do in the area of gender empowerment, that it is important not to let down or ignore radical thinking.

They should be embraced wholeheartedly. Meanwhile another great publication on women and young girls’ activism will be read by too few people.

Simone Galimberti is the Co-Founder of ENGAGE and co-initiator of the Good Leadership, Good for You & Good for the Society, both active in Nepal. He writes about volunteering, youth development, regional integration, and how they can be used to improve people’s lives.

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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