Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The issue of gender across the three pillars of sustainable development

By kathleen Leewai, intern, SPREP

Panel at Gender Justice event at Rio+20
18 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - The issue of gender has been under intense discussion at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) stated that, in their view, the current text of the Rio+20 outcomes document shows many imbalances across the three pillars of sustainable development, i.e. the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.

They believe that the only way to achieve sustainable development is to include gender perspectives in the discussions of issues under all three pillars.

Maureen Penjueli, Coordinator of the Pacific Network on Globalisation in Fiji, said that there are a few issues for women in the Pacific that should be brought forward at Rio+20, but that they would be different under each of the pillars.

“Under the environmental pillar they need to be looking at the impacts of climate change on women, especially coastal women, such as access to water and funding for adaptation efforts.

In the economic sense, on the other hand, the issue is about access to information about the economic model being sought in Rio and how this will impact them.”

Speaking at a side event on juggling gender justice across the three pillars, Ms. Melinda Ching from the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights said, “It is important to address that we are all here to fight for human rights for women, but also for human rights for all, as human rights, including human rights for women, are the key to sustainable development.”

“I think that the gender text is one of the most controversial and contentious text that still remains in Rio”, said Ms. Penjueli as negotiations on the text regarding women and health continued.

“I think a lot of the emphasis and strategies here are really on how to defend the rights that have been gained at the World Conference on Women in Beijing and the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, so that women don’t go away from this conference with lesser rights than when they came.”

All parties, including submissions from Major Groups have until tonight (18 June, 2012) to finalise text in order to have a text ready before Wednesday, chances are negotiations will continue tomorrow.

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