MISSED OPPORTUNITIES AND FALSE BINARIES: South Feminist Analysis from UN Multilateral Processes

We strongly believe younger South feminists should be the leading voices in multilateral spaces such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Commission on Population and Development (CPD). Be it through their country delegations, UN corridors lobbying, factsheets drafting, or evidence-based interventions that can challenge and disrupt mundane geopolitics.

While intergovernmental platforms are going through grave trying times, broadly inspected for efficiency by different stakeholders, including feminists, we keep going back and strategizing and organizing around them every year. One of our reasons is the outcomes of those spaces, such as the Agreed Conclusions from each CSW, which contribute to the international standards and norm setting around women’s human rights, gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Alongside treaties such as CEDAW, declarations and programs of action of world conferences such as the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) as well as regional instruments and development frameworks like the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, we see the importance of ensuring that progressive language and commitments are included in Agreed Conclusions and Outcome documents. We also want to ensure that our demands for the full realization of SRHR take into account the economic and environmental contexts we come from, so that our demands are strongly rooted in our realities rather than abstract and siloed ideas.

2023’s sessions of CSW and CPD were particularly strategic for RESURJ, as comprehensive sexuality education is one of our key priorities (see 4, 5 and 6 in RESURJ 13-point Action Agenda to see our demands), together with universal access to quality education as quintessential to progressive and sustainable development for our countries in the Global South.