Women’s Major Group Statement from Bonn Conference “Advancing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda”



21 March 2013, Bonn


We caution against developing another set of reductive goals, targets and indicators that ignore the transformational changes required to address the failure of the current development model rooted in unsustainable production and consumption patterns exacerbating gender, race and class inequities.

We do not want to be mainstreamed into a polluted stream. We call for deep and structural changes to existing global systems of power, decision-making and resource sharing. This includes enacting policies that recognize and redistribute the unequal and unfair burdens of women and girls in sustaining societal wellbeing and economies, intensified in times of economic and ecological crises.

Any Post-2015 development agenda must be based on the principle of non-regression, firmly rooted in human rights obligations and commitments from the UN conferences of the 1990s and gains made through their follow up processes at regional and global levels[2]. They must also proactively address increasing inequalities within and between countries, feminization of poverty, discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, commodification of natural resources, threats to food sovereignty, global warming, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.

We insist that the Post-2015 development agenda must not be driven by the donor or corporate sectors. Rather, it must be articulated through a progressive policy framework that aims to fairly redistribute wealth, assets, and power to achieve social, economic, ecological, and erotic justice. It must also tackle intersecting inequalities and multiple forms of discrimination based on gender, age, class, caste, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and abilities.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda must:

  • Prioritise gender equality and women’s human rights throughout the framework.
  • Ensure meaningful participation of women’s and social movements in the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programs.
  • Use the human rights architecture as its basis and include concrete means of implementation that prioritize public financing over public-private partnerships in order to realise states obligation to allocate the maximum availability of resources.
  • Promote innovative, democratic financing mechanisms, including long-term, flexible support for civil society organizations, including women’s organizations.
  • Recognize that there are ecological limits to the ‘growth’ paradigm and that sustainable development must be safeguarded from corporations and States that prioritise profit over all.
  • Respect and build upon then overarching principle of equitable sharing of atmospheric space, between and also within States, taking into account intergenerational justice. It also implies respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which considers historic economic, ecological and social debt responsibility.
  • Urgently reform monetary, financial and trade rules globally in line with human rights obligations, that ensure policy space at the national level to implement macroeconomic policies, trade and investment agreements to achieve gender and social justice.
  • Create global and national binding rules and safeguards including by applying the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. For instance, this is central to the protection of bio-cultural users of land and natural resources from negative impacts of extractive industries, and large-scale monocultures.
  • Ensure that Agenda 21 and Rio+20 commitments on technology transfer, monitoring and assessment, skills development and research are explicit in all investment and trade regimes, and in line with the precautionary principle and principle of free, prior informed consent as critical ecosystem protection.
  • Reaffirm the moratorium on geo-engineering in order to prevent the unsustainable technological and market based fixes that attempt the large-scale manipulation of the earth’s climate such as managing solar radiation, extracting carbon from the atmosphere, and modifying the weather.
  • Phase-out, eliminate financial support, and impose moratoria on harmful economic activities which affect the health of people and the environment, particularly in the areas of mining, nuclear energy, and chemicals.
  • Promote safe and sustainable energy solutions that prevent negative impacts on the health of people and of the planet and that do not further deplete existing community resources.
  • Re-orient national agricultural plans from extractive industries and export-oriented agribusiness toward local women-led and small-holder agro-ecology practices.
  • Include strong protection of local free seed supply and distribution systems in order to reverse the environmental and social impacts caused by food insecurity, soil degradation and land grabbing, on all affected communities including migrants, fisher, forest and indigenous peoples, pastoralists, and many other marginalized communities.
  • Guarantee women’s equitable access to and control over resources that promote fair asset redistribution among different social groups regarding the use of land, ocean, credits, technology, intellectual and cultural property.
  • Affirm the human rights of women, girls and people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities to bodily integrity. Eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence based on misogynist, homophobic, lesbian phobic, and trans-phobic ideas. Specific attention is also needed to address the violence faced by women human rights defenders, sex workers, and women working in conflict and militarized contexts, among others.
  • Guarantee sexual and reproductive rights and universal access, to quality, comprehensive, integrative sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, safe abortion, STI and HIV prevention and treatment, and maternity care with an emphasis on equity and respect for diversity.
  • Recognise that care and social reproduction are intrinsically linked with the productive economy and therefore fully reflected in macroeconomic policy-making. States should guarantee universal access to public care services and private sector regulation to ensure quality and decent working conditions and income for care providers. The post-2015 agenda should promote policies that shift patriarchal cultural norms in order to promote equitable distribution of care work between men and women and diverse families.
  • Ensure equitable and universal access to formal and popular education throughout the life cycle that includes comprehensive sexuality education, gender equality, human rights and environmental sustainability.
  • Tackle gendered labour market segregation, and ensure universal and affordable access to social protection and public services including housing, education, water and sanitation, health care and unemployment benefits.

We demand a transparent and democratic process in the development of the Post 2015 agenda where feminist, human rights, environmental and social justice movements’ claims are prioritized over politically and economically dominant elites and States.

Please send endorsements to: noelene@dawnnet.org and cc: noelenen@gmail.com

[1] The Women’s Major Group convened by Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)  and Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) facilitated the development of this statement from feminist organizations and allies attending the Bonn Conference “Advancing the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda” from 20-22 March 2013.

[2] This includes the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, Conventional on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, International Covenant on Economic Cultural and Social Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on Biodiversity; Convention on the Law of the Sea; the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women; Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development; UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development; Maputo Protocol and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) and more.