ACCPD Statement on the 61st Commission on the Status of Women

Towards protecting the sexual and reproductive health rights of women in a changing world

The 61st Commission on the Status of Women is convening in New York at the United Nations Headquarters from 13th to 24th March 2017. This session’s themes is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. For the review, the theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”, and emerging issue theme is “The empowerment of indigenous women”.

This year’s session is convened at an important time to highlight gender equality issues as implementation of the 2030 Agenda picks pace, and particularly as the 2017 High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals will be reviewing goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14. This session must reaffirm commitments to advance gender equality and to address constraints such as discrimination, violence against women and girls, harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early and Forced Marriages, ensure women’s participation in leadership processes and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

The Africa Civil Society Coalition on Population and Development – ACCPD calls on African Government delegations to engage fully in respective regional groupings and the negotiation process for the session conclusions.

In particular, Governments must renew the call for action on overdue release of more than 190 young girls abducted in Chibok, Nigeria over two years ago, and to address the fast growing humanitarian crisis in Somalia and South Sudan, where children, girls and women are most at risk.

The ACCPD calls on African Government delegations to commit to and champion the following actions;

  1. Protect, promote and respect the rights pf girls and women in the work place through comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda within country policy spaces.
  2. Promote gender equality as a core pillar of socially inclusive development and sustainable development. This is a strong commitment to address the challenges of FGM, child marriages, all forms of gender based violence and to enact measures that protect women and girls in all facets of society including family life and education.
  3. Invest in girls and women in efforts to building human capital as part of national development strategies. Studies continue to show that investments in girls and women mean important economic and social gains. This commitment is in line with achieving the ICPD PoA and the WPAY, the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals.
  4. Commit to addressing gender inequality in addressing and ending extreme poverty. The gender gap in the labor market (employment rates, wages, leadership) must be closed, whilst ensuring girls and women have the educational opportunities they need to fulfill their potential.
  5. Push national governments to engage in public and private partnerships that seek to ensure the overall interests of girls and women at national, regional and global levels.

The ACCPD brings together like-minded organizations from across the African continent who support, with no reservation, the implementation of the ICPD Program of Action. It exists to fill a key niche of providing a voice on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights issues at policy level in support of the ICPD PoA implementation. Membership is on a rolling basis and new applications are encouraged and welcomed.

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