Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation: A feminist perspective
Gender equality is a human right. Women are entitled to live in dignity – in freedom from want and fear. Today, development actors worldwide also accept that advancing women’s rights and gender equality is a cornerstone of any successful sustainable development framework. And, women and girls are in the public eye and recognised as key agents in development as never before.
Participants from over 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) formed part of the approximately 1,500 delegates at the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in Mexico last April. Participants agreed on the final Communiqué, although there were mixed reactions and criticism from CSOs sector.
This Communiqué builds on some of the commitments on gender agreed on at Busan in 2011, naming “tracking and making public resource allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment” as one of the critical steps for enhancing mutual accountability.
This is important for organisations tracking funding for gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially at country level. It can also be used to help mobilise resources for these issues.
However, the Communiqué did not acknowledge other important previous commitments.
Where are the renewed commitments on access to gender disaggregated data? And what about gender equality and women’s empowerment in accountability mechanisms? Addressing these issues is critical in all aspects of development, including peace and state building.
For example, women’s rights groups are demanding improved monitoring for existing aid and development co-operation frameworks. Gender and age disaggregated data should be accessible for the Millennium Development Goals targets and indicators, as well as for reporting on the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women the Beijing Platform for Action, the International Conference on Population and Development, and other international mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.
Gender equality is a human right. Women are entitled to live in dignity – in freedom from want and fear. Today, development actors worldwide also accept that advancing women’s rights and gender equality is a cornerstone of any successful sustainable development framework.
During the High-Level Meeting, particularly the “Gender Equality: delivering on the Busan commitments” session, participants agreed that more must be done on unfinished goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“Where there is political will, there is significant change”, said Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat. John Hendra, UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, added that “increased levels of resources are critical”. Roselynn Musa, FEMNET Programme Manager and outgoing co-Chair of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), pointed to the importance of including women’s and feminist organisations in all stages of development. Generally, participants at the session agreed that increased awareness and resources, as well as champions of the cause, are needed to close the gap.
In addition, UN Women, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the CPDE committed to work together, along with others, on one of the 38 voluntary initiatives coming out of Mexico. “Initiative 21 – Gender Equality: delivering on the Busan Commitments” will help both developing and developed countries to make and track public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
They will also encourage donors to boost support to strengthen and monitor the effectiveness of the institutions responsible of contributing to progress on gender equality and for women’s rights. They will also deepen democratic multi-stakeholder dialogue on gender equality and women’s rights at country and regional level. And, they will work towards increasing the number of countries engaged in monitoring the new gender equality indicator.
The Mexico Communiqué aimed to advance effective development co-operation and ensure its inclusion in the Post-2015 global development agenda, but, as mentioned before, there were mixed reactions and criticism from CSOs. The CPDE stated that the Mexican High-Level Meeting did not go far enough for the people.
The Communiqué shows varying support for inclusive development. Among other points, it mentions the need to promote gender equality and recognise CSOs as independent development actors. Disappointingly, little progress was made on creating an enabling environment for CSOs or a stronger human rights-based approach for Global Partnership work. This was exacerbated by the unbalanced promotion of the private sector role in development, with a lack of guidance on its accountability and transparency.
The Mexico meeting did not clarify the role of the Global Partnership within the broader development framework and Post-2015 discussions. There is a niche for the Global Partnership, but it will need to think strategically about its added value and avoid overlaps with, for example, the UN Development Co-operation Forum. The Global Partnership must fit within the next development framework based on the principles of international solidarity and human rights, including women’s rights. Among the challenges ahead, bridging the gap between northern and southern co-operation and as recent analysis suggests, get back to the basics of Paris, Accra and Busan – resisting the urge to showcase pet agendas or hot topics.
Women’s rights organisations and advocates will continue monitoring the Global Partnership. We will raise concerns about delivering on commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and on the broader policy discussions.
Nerea Craviotto is a feminist activist, involved in women’s rights work and activism for more than 10 years. She is currently Lead Advocacy Co-ordinator with AWID‘s Economic Justice team. She previously spent more than three years in the occupied Palestinian territory working with local women’s organising. Before that, she was an Advocacy Officer with WIDE, a European Women’s Rights network monitoring EU external policies and practices.