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This post was written by Dustin Wright, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seminarian who is currently serving as Communications Coordinator for Ecumenical Women. The views expressed below are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization.

This past Saturday at Ecumenical Women’s Orientation Day for the United Nations 58th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), I was honored to give two brief workshops about advocacy, the Millennium Development Goals, and the power of sharing stories. We had extremely powerful conversations in both workshops that opened up a bunch of new insights for me about how the sharing of stories relates to Christian witness and working to end gender inequalities. Most importantly, folks got to share how they had used stories in their own local contexts to organize against gender injustice and accompany other girls and women in processes of liberation. Hopefully we all picked up a few new ideas and were able to share something from our own stories as well. As the crazy, awesome energy that is CSW swarms around me, I figured it’d take a quick break and briefly outline what we talked about. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear any feedback you might have.

We began by talking about the power and use of stories in the Christian tradition… how Jesus used stories and how we organize our Christian community around the story that is Christ death and hope-bringing resurrection over the worst of human sin. The group then got into discussion around one of Jesus’ stories, a parable not regularly heard in many of our congregations called “The Parable of the Growing Seed:

He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come” (Mark 4: 26 – 29).

Many participants offered interpretations about how this parable related to their advocacy work… some talked about the frustration of spreading seeds and not seeing how they grow into justice. Others talked about the joy when they do succeed in their work. One woman contributed a great interpretation, that she was not the person scattering seed but rather a seed itself. God was helping her grow and change into her calling as she engaged in advocacy work.

We next watched part of the following film from Participate, an organization that is bringing the perspective of the world’s most marginalized people into the debate about what will follow the Millennium Development Goals in 2015:

While Participate is primarily a secular organization, it’s amazing about how their approach reflects the best of the Christian liberation theology tradition, which believes that Christ chooses to especially locate Himself in the lives of those who are most marginalized in the world, whether it be by poverty or other forms of oppression. The lives of oppressed people then serve as sources of revelation, and thus, prove the main source of liberation from whatever or whoever may oppress them. With this in mind, folks and organizations like the Church cannot simply swoop in and “make things better” in a patriarchal manner, but rather should simply accompaniment those living under oppression in their walk toward liberation, using whatever privilege they may have to amplify those voices who are not currently being listened to by decision makers. Furthermore, the global Church is likely the organization that in practical terms has the most direct contact with those living under oppression, including girls and women. The Church (and we as Christians) are therefore called to accompany oppressed individuals in are local communities as they seek to free themselves.

1975235_716798388365255_964671084_nAfter we discussed this concept, I highlighted two platforms through which the United Nations is providing an avenue for increased participation in evaluating the Millennium Development Goals, the World We Want 2015 platform and the MYWorld global survey of priorities for global development. Whether it pertains to the MDGs or otherwise, amplifying the voices of those living under oppression is important in any community organizing or advocacy effort, whether on a local or global scale. Thus, we spent the second half of the workshop discussing how we had used stories in our local contexts. We heard about the power of stories in combat human trafficking. We heard about the power of stories in helping women reclaiming their lives after being victims of domestic violence. We heard about the power of stories in helping women discern how to interpret privilege and oppression. We heard about the power of stories in helping women gain access to education and sexual/ reproductive health services. At once point, one participant stated that “silence kills” when trying to overcome various forms of oppression. I couldn’t agree more, and I feel extremely grateful for being able to hear the stories of all who participated. What an amazing experience, and I look forward to hearing and sharing more stories throughout the week.

God’s peace,
Dustin

Reflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. This is our eighth installment, a story from EW member organization United Methodist Women has partnered with Acción Médica Cristiana to empower women and feed families in Nicaragua through a cow bank. What follows is a portion of the article and its accompanying video. You can find the complete article on UMW’s website here.

… During Acción Médica Cristiana trainings women started sharing concerns, needs and wishes and began looking for ways to improve their situation: Could they sell some of the produce they were growing? Start a small business? And what about having access to milk? For a poor peasant in Nicaragua, owning a farm animal is a synonym for wealth – and for a woman it is life changing.

Responding to these women, AMC contacted United Methodist Women, and the first 15 cows were provided in 2001. The groups agreed that the cows would be owned only by the women members, who would attend trainings to learn how to care for the animals and “pay back” the cow with the first offspring, which would be given to another woman of the group.

“We want the woman, not her husband, to own the animal,” said María Ruthbeli Pérez, 35, mother of two and coordinator of the project in San Joaquín. She explained that the norm was that the man owned all family property and had single-handed decision-making power. “During one of our visits with a family, the husband noted that when the cow gave birth the wife decided to sell the calf to buy a bull to use for breeding, and now she has more cows. Women have learned how to negotiate with their husbands, and husbands have recognized the value the women have for the sake of the family.”

“It has been a pleasure to meet the people from Acción Médica Cristiana,” said Emerita Garcia Mairena, 54. “I used to think that being a woman was not that important, that women did not have a chance to develop or own things. I thought that men were the only ones to own cattle. Now I know women also have rights. I used to think that because I was a homemaker, my job had no value. But now I know my value. I feel I am important.”

She and her husband have seven children and five grandchildren. Her first cow came in 2007, and now she owns three animals. “The original cow, another cow and a calf,” Ms. Mairena said, with a smile on her face.

Everybody in her house drinks the milk and eats cheese with their meals; whatever is not consumed is sold. The extra income makes a big difference. “I use the money to buy medicines for the cow and to buy chickens which give eggs for our food. I buy food for the chickens, and I also help my daughter who is in school. Before, only my husband would bring money to the house, but with the cows this has changed…”

world_ywca_logoReflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. This is our seventh installment, a report from EW member organization the World YWCA on “The Future That Young Women Want” in relation to the post-2015 development agenda. What follows is a short excerpt, with a link to the report in its entirety below.

… The time to mobilize young women to contribute towards influencing the post-MDG agenda is now. While the final content is yet to be decided, the next set of goals will significantly direct human, technical and financial resources of major international and regional institutions, and governments. It is imperative that this framework is shaped by the voices of the world’s 860 million young women, who are among those most vulnerable to poverty, hunger and poor health outcomes. The post-2015 development agenda must capture the needs, assets and aspirations of this critical population group.

Her Future has been compiled by the World YWCA in the lead up to the review of the MDGs to give young women a voice in the future they want for their families, communities and countries. It has been developed following extensive consultation with young women across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean, Middle East, Pacific and North America and encompasses both new research and the outcomes of recent meetings of young women at regional and global levels…

To read “The Future Young Women Want” in its entirety, click here.

EW LogoEcumenical Women has just released our CSW58 advocacy statement to the general public, which will guide our advocacy efforts throughout the 58th Commission on the Status of Women, set to begin on March 10. You can find the statement in its entirety here: CSW58 Advocacy Statement.

While highlighting the important role faith communities have played in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the statement recognizes that there has been unequal progress made under the MDGs, particularly as they relate to women and girls. As the international community begins moving forward toward a post-2015 development agenda that will succeed the MDGs, this statement affirms that the promotion of gender equality from a human rights perspective and the contributions and empowerment of women and girls of all ages are fundamental, as enshrined in the Beijing Platform and international laws, and are necessary to ensure gender justice and sustainable development.

The statement also highlights four areas of successes and challenges in the MDGs as they relate to women and girls:

  • Poverty and hunger
  • Access to quality education, employment and decision-making
  • Health
  • Violence against women and girls

The statement then concludes by highlighting that the ecumenical community effectively has been pursuing the ideals of the Millennium Development Goals for centuries and we will continue to pursue a just development system long after 2015. While continuing to work towards the achievement of the MDGs is important, we also acknowledge that a transformative change must take place to achieve equality and to generate a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.

We encourage you to read our statement in its entirety, and continue to check out http://www.ecumenicalwomen.org as we release additional information in the run-up to the 58th Commission on the Status of Women. Thanks so much!

world_ywca_logoA new publication, Her Future, The Future Young Women Want: A Global Call to Act was recently released by the World YWCA (an Ecumenical Women member organization) in the lead up to the Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals on 25 September. The purpose of Her Future is to give young women a voice in the future they want for their families, communities and countries. It was developed following extensive consultation with young women across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean, Middle East, Pacific and North America and encompasses both new research and the outcomes of recent meetings of young women at regional and global levels.

Her Future makes recommendations to the United Nations, governments and civil society in four key areas that will create a future of gender equality and respect for the human rights of all the world’s 860 million young women.  These recommendations are categorized in four specific areas:

  1. End Violence Against Women and Girls
  2. Fulfillment of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
  3. Meaningful Participation of Young Women
  4. Access to Education, Economic Empowerment and Resources

The report furthermore discusses the value of the world’s 860 million young women and the challenges they face.  To read the report in its entirety, click here.

In 2000, world leaders promised to reach eight specific, measurable goals for global development by 2015 called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The most notable of these goals was to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty, as measured by people living on a $1.25 or less. Thanks in part to the strong participation of people of faith, along with many other persons and organizations working together in one massive global effort to fulfill the MDGs, we have made real progress. The number of people living in poverty has fallen to less than half of its 1990 level. Over two billion people gained access to better drinking water. The share of slum dwellers living in cities fell, improving the lives of at least 100 million people!

Yet, we still have work to do. 1.4 billion people remain in extreme poverty. Every four seconds a child dies from preventable causes and over 900 million people, particularly women and young people, suffer from chronic hunger. Climate change threatens to destroy the lives of millions more and undo much of the progress we have made so far. Inequality is growing everywhere and human rights are being undermined, especially in many of the world’s most fragile and conflict affected countries. Even with these great challenges, for the first time in history we have the resources to end extreme poverty while enabling sustainable development. As the 2015 target date for fulfilling the MDGs approaches, a global conversation on these two topics is well underway. Termed the “post‐2015 dialogue,” this conversation has already brought together thousands of government officials, non-profit organizations, business leaders, academics and grassroots activists in order to craft new goals for a global development agenda.

Despite the unprecedented openness and inclusivity of the post‐2015 dialogue, people of faith have yet to fully engage in the conversation. This is unfortunate, because as major players in fulfilling the MDGs, people of faith have much to contribute ‐ they have rich grassroots experiences to share and their members and neighbors have a major stake in what happens after 2015.  Even more importantly, faith communities are often the only grassroots networks that directly reach people living in poverty and other underrepresented global citizens. Thus, as people of faith, and specifically as girls, women and allies, we need to do our part in amplifying the voices of those who most need a strong set of new development goals – people living in poverty and communities and organizations who accompany them. We must practice what we preach, what we teach. It’s about directly accompanying people concretely, not merely multiplying words. If we, as people of faith, do not confront “the scandal of poverty,” then we are part of the problem.

People living in poverty and those who accompany them have unique gifts to share with the global community as it prepares a Post‐2015 Development Agenda. After countless consultations, reports, meetings and debates, we largely know what needs to be done and that we have the necessary resources to end extreme poverty. What we do not yet have at the United Nations is the political will to make it happen. In late June, during yet another meeting at UN headquarters in New York, a man from Latin America stood up, and in one startling statement got everyone’s attention. He simply said, “UN – I do not want to be poor anymore.” It is such dignified, hopeful people, people living in poverty and those who directly accompany them, from whom we need to hear more in the post‐2015 dialogue, for only they can build the political will to end poverty in our time while enabling sustainable development.

Inspired by that startling example of speaking truth to power, the New York offices to the United Nations of Caritas Internationalis and The Lutheran World Federation recently launched a new conversation on the World We Want platform entitled “UN ‐ I do not want to be poor anymore: a collection of faith‐inspired voices of people living in poverty.” If you’re someone who has served in a soup-kitchen, if you’re someone who has gone on a mission trip, if you’re someone who worships with people living in poverty and especially if you have experienced poverty yourself (however you define “poverty” in your local context) please contribute to this conversation by going to http://www.worldwewant2015.org/voicesoffaith. By creating a user profile and answering four simple questions, you’ll make your voice heard by leaders at the United Nations and greatly contribute towards ending extreme poverty while sustainably growing our world!

If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me at dustin.wright@elca.org. Thanks so much for reading, and we hope you can participate with other people of faith around the world in this important global endeavor!

UN Women has recently launched a new paper contributing to the ongoing debate on the post-2015 development agenda.  Entitled “A Transformative Stand-Alone Goal on Achieving Gender Equality, Women’s Rights and Women’s Empowerment: Imperatives and Key Components,” the paper lays out a vision for a transformative framework that addresses the structural impediments to gender equality and the achievement of women’s rights. The paper is available for download on the UN Women website.

In order to address the structural causes of gender-based discrimination and the paper suggests a standalone gender quality goal in the post-2015 development framework that addresses three critical target areas (quoted from the paper’s executive summary):

  • Freedom from violence against women and girls. Concrete actions to eliminate the debilitating fear and/or experience of violence must be a centrepiece of any future framework.
  • Gender equality in the distribution of capabilities – knowledge, good health, sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights of women and adolescent girls; and access to resources and opportunities,including land,decent work and equal pay to build women’s economic and social security.
  • Gender equality in decision-making power in public and private institutions, in national parliaments and local councils, the media and civil society, in the management and governance of firms, and in families and communities.

Additionally, the paper proposes a set of indicators to monitor progress in each of the three target areas.

UN Women would like feedback on their paper, and here’s where you can add your voice to the conversation:  Go to UN Women’s online consultation space on the World We Want platform, create a user profile, look through the report and then respond to various questions that will be posted online each week.  If you participate in UN Women’s consultation, please let us at Ecumenical Women know by either emailing us at ecumenicalwomen@gmail.com or by commenting on this post.  Thanks so much!

As the CSW58 priority theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” Ecumenical Women is focusing this summer on educating our online community about the MDGs and ongoing dialogue about what will follow their completion. If you don’t know much about the MDGs or even what they are, that’s okay, just click here to read an EW post on the basics.

As part of our initiative, back in May we wrote an initial piece describing the “post-2015 dialogue,” the global conversation currently taking place about what should follow the completion of the Millenium Development Goals in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so what follows is an updated version of that post:

There are a number of different processes providing input into the post-2015 dialogue. Click the image below for a larger infographic timeline.  Subsequent paragraphs discuss each separate process and link to relevant reports.

Post2015 Timeline

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Open Working Group was established last January in response to recommendations from Rio+20, the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. While the working group is not due to present its final recommendations to the UN General Assembly until September 2014, the related Sustainable Development Solutions Network released a report on 7 May 2013 entitled “An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development.” It remains to be seen however, if the SDGs will end up representing an entirely separate set of goals or be merged into the post-2015 development agenda.  Most UN Member States seem to be leaning toward the latter.

As part of the UN-led process, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of a High Level Panel in July 2012 to advise on post-2015 development agenda. The panel was co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. After holding meetings in each of co-chairs’ respective countries (as well as brief meeting at the 2012 General Assembly), on 31 May 2013 the panel released its final report entitled “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development,” which proposed 12 measurable goals and 54 targets for global development.

The United Nations Development Group) (UNDG) in conjunction with civil-society and other international organizations, recently led 88 consultations in specific countries and 11 global consultations around various themes. While a final synthesis report will be released by UNDG later this summer, an initial document was released on 20 March 2013 entitled “The Global Conversation Begins.”

UN Global Compact (UNGC), a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with principles of human rights and other areas, released a report on 17 June 2013 entitled “Corporate Sustainability and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda.”

In partnership with the Post-2015 Development Planning Team/Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is facilitating a consultation to gather critical analysis from civil society above.

All these (and other) parts of the UN-led process will be considered at a “Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals” on 25 September during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

There are also a number of non-UN inputs working to influence the post-2015 dialogue. Beyond 2015, for instance, is a global civil society campaign that brings together more than 620 organizations.

Whew… that’s complicated, we know! There is good news though: YOU can participate in the post-2015 dialogue about how to ensure the rights of girls and women, end extreme poverty and sustainably grow our world. Check back with Ecumenical Women in the coming days to learn about emerging ways to get involved in the global conversation.

image_largeGiven that the CSW58 priority theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” we want to make sure Ecumenical Women’s online community is kept up to date with developments in post-2015 dialogue, a process that will decide what follows the MDGs.  You can find basic info on the MDGs here and a summary of the post-2015 dialogue here.

Additionally, you may be aware that two weeks ago the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda launched a report entitled, A New Global Partnership: Eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development, which can be found in all six official UN languages here.  Although reactions to the HLP’s report have been diverse and numerous, what follows are links and quotes from some of the most notable responses thus far.

Feminist Reflections: UN’s High Level Panel Report on Post-2015 Development Agenda

This response, of which EW member United Methodist Women is a signatory, can be found in its entirety here.  What follows is a block quote of the beginning of the response:

We appreciate the efforts undertaken in the HLP to establish the inter-linkages between social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and welcome a:

  • stand alone goal on “Empower girls and women and achieve gender equality”, and associated targets on eliminating violence, ending child marriage, equal rights for women to own and inherit property, and eliminate discrimination in political, economic and public life;
  • specific target on sexual and reproductive health and rights under the “Ensure healthy lives” goal; and
  • specific target on maternal mortality under the “Ensure healthy lives” goal.

However, and despite acknowledging the need for profound economic transformation, the report fails to:

  • offer the necessary transformational building blocks for a new sustainable human development agenda;
  • provide a transformational approach to address growing inequalities within and between countries and between women and men, as well as the root causes of poverty, including the growing feminization and intergenerational transfer of poverty;
  • address the current macro-economic model which perpetuates poverty and inequality;
  • include people who are discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • link existing human rights accountability mechanisms at the regional and global levels in its accountability discussion; and
  • address limited financing as a key barrier to advancing sustainable development, including women’s rights and gender equality.

Post2015 InfographicEcumenical Advocacy Alliance Press Release: “Aim Even Higher”

This press release from the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, to which many EW member organizations are also affiliated, can be found here.  What follows are a few select quotes:

  • “While appreciating the major focus on ending extreme poverty in all its forms, an integrated approach to sustainable development, and the incorporation of human rights language and principles, EAA members and partners are concerned about “inadequate” language on HIV and AIDS which lacks ambition when the possibility of ending the pandemic is in sight.”
  • “In the report’s support for moving to large-scale sustainable agriculture, there is also concern that despite talking about small-scale farmers, the emphasis is placed on technical innovations such as fertilizers rather than truly sustainable practices that use local, natural resources.”
  • Rev. Phumzile Mabizela, Executive Director of INERELA+ (The International Network of People Living with or Personally Affected by HIV or AIDS), welcomed the fact that sexual and reproductive health is mentioned as a key target. “There was a big gap in the MDGs in not addressing violence against women, which is one of the root causes of HIV transmission,” she stated.
  • “What is required now is further advocacy and engagement to ensure that the largely positive foundation that has been created by this report is built upon in a constructive fashion…”

Additional Reactions

  • “The Right to Equality in Post-2015,” a speech by John Hendra, ASG and Deputy Executive Director at UN Women, can be found here.
  • “Take concrete steps to equality,” from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, can be found here.
  • “The good, the bad and the ugly in the long-awaited UN development report,” by Claire Melamed, The Guardian, can be found here.

hlp2015-logoThe CSW58 priority theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” and while you can find more basic information on the MDGs here and a summary of the post-2015 dialogue here, we want to remind you that the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda is releasing their major report today at 15:00 EDT.

At 15:00 EDT you can view the report and executive summary on the High Level Panel’s website.  At that time you can also watch a webcast of the closed member states event that’s taking place this morning at http://webtv.un.org.

Additionally, The World We Want platform will launch a page dedicated to the report’s release which can be found at: www.worldwewant2015.org/HLPREPORT.  On that page you’ll be able to find the following:

  • Newly launched visualizations of all inputs to the World We Want platform
  • MyWorld trends and outcomes
  • Analysis of #post2015 Twitter conversation carried out by UN Global Pulse
  • The 86 statements and letters formally submitted to the Post2015HLP by civil society organizations

There will also be a webcast stakeholder event tomorrow, 31 May at 10:00 EDT, moderated by Femi Oke, that you can watch at http://webtv.un.org.

Be sure to continue following the conversation by using #Post2015HLP, @WorldWeWant2015, @unngls, @2015on and @myworld2015.

Finally, if you’re interested in further spreading the word about the High Level Panel report and the post-2015 dialogue, you can find a social media pack from the World We Want here.

As the CSW58 priority theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” Ecumenical Women is focusing over the next few months on educating our online community about the MDGs and the ongoing “post-2015 dialogue” on what will follow their completion.

While you can find more basic information on the MDGs here and a summary of the post-2015 dialogue here, we did want to provide two specific updates on what is happening within the UN system this week:

Who Will Be Accountable?: Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Earlier today the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a new publication discussing accountability toward ensuring human rights in the post-2015 development agenda.  As stated in the publication’s foreword:

“…some of the most celebrated Millennium Development Goals success stories since 2000 are now sites of mass protest decrying widespread deprivation, repression and inequalities masked by the narrow models of economic analysis that have characterized development approaches in the pre-2015 period. The message is clear: economic growth is not an adequate measure of development. Rather, equality matters, the environment matters and human rights matter. So do good governance and anti-corruption. The real test, to a growing global population demanding a life of dignity, is the degree to which they are able to enjoy freedom from fear and want, without discrimination.

If you’re interested in learning more about the proposed “human rights approach” to global development instead of the primarily economic approach of the MDGs, be sure to check out the publication here.

Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals
The third session of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals opened today at UN headquarters in New York and will continue until this Friday, 24 May.  This afternoon’s subject is “Food Security & Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture, Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought,” and the importance of educating women farmers on sustainable agriculture practice was just mentioned, for example.  You can watch a live webcast of the proceedings here.  The Open Working Group on the SDGs is a main aspect of the post-2015 dialogue.

The-route-to-2015-and-beyondAs the CSW58 priority theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” Ecumenical Women is focusing over the next few months on educating our online community about the MDGs and ongoing dialogue about what will follow their completion.

While our previous post summarized the many different facets and timelines of post-2015, a discussion of how the dialogue has progressed thus far is also important.  In that regard, we hope you find the following three resources from diverse perspectives helpful:

  • Crowdsourcing the next development agenda,” by Olav Kjørven, UN assistant secretary-general and director of bureau for development policy at UN development programme (UNDP).  This piece, published in The Guardian on 9 May  discusses the use of new communication technologies to increase global participation in the post-2015 dialogue.

Finally, this extremely helpful resource publish by UNDP on 20 March provides preliminary analysis on learning from the dialogue: “The Global Conversation Begins.”

We hope you found this post helpful, and be sure to check back at Ecumenical Women frequently for resources on how each of the eight Millennium Development Goals relate to women and girls.

With this year’s Commission on the Status of Women over and its Agreed Conclusions (in English) now finalized, Ecumenical Women is beginning to prepare for next year’s commission, CSW58.  Although it is only in its initial planning stages, we do know that CSW58’s  priority theme will be “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls.”  With that priority theme in mind, Ecumenical Women will focus over the next few months on educating our online community about the MDGs and current conversations around what will follow their completion in a  post-2015 development agenda.

While there is a lot out there on the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, the following resources should provide you with a basic entry point for learning more about the topic.  Be sure to check back here on our site frequently for videos, graphics, reports and other resources that discuss the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda in more detail, particularly how they relate to women and girls.

An introductory video on the MDGs and how they were formed:

 

As April 5th, 2013 marked the 1,000-day milestone until the 2015 target date to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the UN has launched the #MDGmomentum campaign.  For more info, click on the following infographic (and then share it with others on social media):

MDGs-1000-days (1)

And finally, here are a few additional links to great resources on the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.  Some of these will be explored further in future posts:

Luwiza Makosa is from the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe and a member of World Student Christian Federation delegation.

 

IMG_5017

Dear all

Greetings to you all. l am a young girl aged 22, l am born and bred  Zimbabwe. l am really honoured to be sharing some of my experiences here at the UNCSW 57th session. l want to also take this opportunity to thank World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) for giving me this opportunity to be part of its 2013 CSW delegation and represent other African young girls.

This session has provided a platform for various organisations to share ideas and strategies which are feeding in to the  2013 UNCSW priority theme.  l strongly believe that the shared information here at the CSW is of value addition to all the work that we are all doing back home. I have been attending worship services every morning and these have reminded me of how women of faith are committed to help the women and girls who are  are being abused in all forms of violence. My opinion from this is that  women’s victory is inevitable. Women are strongly taking up the legacy that women from the the Bible left.

The theme for this year is “Elimination and Prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. Today l was able to attend at least three sessions which were discussing on use of video in video advocacy-strengths and weaknesses, effective ways on ending violence against women and girls and the last session was on the future young women want: putting women’s rights at the heart of the post-2015 Development. However the session which really struck me was that of when l had to meet and discuss with women from various organisations about what young women want to see happening in their countries with priorities and recommendations.

I strongly feel that the media has a played a fundamental role in moulding the society on what they think about gender, hence my contribution from a youth perspective of a woman of faith would be to say that both state and non state actors have a role to play in redefining the gender perspective that has been portrayed by media which has at most seen woman being portrayed as agents of sex.

I am of the opinion that because of this platform on the CSW there are very high chances of creating good synergies with various organisations noting that most of the issues that were raised in the discussion were similar.

I also want to urge everyone that this fight is not solely a women’s issue instead it calls for the attention of everyone. The book of  Esther 4:14 states that, “we will not remain silent at such a time as this……………” so shall we until we have attained our goal.

I also want to urge everyone that this fight is not solely a women’s issue instead it calls for the attention of everyone. The book of  Esther 4:14 states that, “we will not remain silent at such a time as this……………” so shall we until we have attained our goal.

I do believe in the zero tolerance of violence against women and girls.

By Dustin Wright, Lutheran Office for World Community

In 2000, world leaders came together to set quantifiable goals for global development to be reached by 2015 in eight areas.  Some have described the goals that came out of that summit, the Millennium Development Goals as the world’s greatest promise.  The good news is that three years out from the goals’ deadline, three targets for reducing extreme poverty, improving clean water access and helping people move out of urban slums, have already been met.  While there has been partial progress in some areas, such as moving toward gender equality in access to primary education, there has been little movement toward other targets like reducing the maternal mortality rate.

As the world inches closer to 2015 deadline, the United Nations is also working to analyze successes and failures of the Millenium Development Goal program overall, and most importantly, beginning to discern what’s next after 2015… and that’s where you come in.  In partnership with civil society, the United Nations is currently leading a growing conversation with people all over the world who are contributed their input about how we should move forward as one global community.  This conversation is happening on the World We Want 2015 web platform, and the topic for this week is gender inequalities.

How can you contribute to the conversation?  First, talk with folks (especially girls and women) about gender inequalities in your local community, with a particular emphasis on how such problems are related to inequalities based on income, race/ethnicity, age, location, disability, and sexual orientation.  Next, spend some time brainstorming how the post-2015 development framework could address the needs of specific groups of women, especially those from the most marginalized groups and those facing multiple forms of discrimination.

Once you’ve spent some time talking about and reflecting on the topic, you can post your input here.  The conversation is currently being monitored by Emily Esplen from Womankind Worldwide, Nicole Bidegain from Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), and Rosa G. Lizarde from the Feminist Task Force (FTF) of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, and they’ll also be responding to your comments.  The recommendations emerging from you contributions will be included in a report presented at a high-level meeting in Denmark in February 2013 on inequalities and the post-2015 development agenda.  Make sure to contribute soon though, as the comment period for this topic will end on October 24th.  Thanks so much for contributing to The World We Want!

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    The work of a gynaecologist who treats rape victims who have been subjected to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the focus of a film which has just been released. "The Man Who Mends Women", tells the story of Dr Denis Mukwege.
    UN Radio
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    Although women are outpacing men in achieving higher levels of education, they are still more likely to pursue the humanities as opposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That's according to the World's Women 2015, a UN report which looks at how women worldwide are faring in eight critical areas such as health, education, work, p […]
    UN Radio

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