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After two weeks of intense negotiations, the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women ended early Saturday morning with a strong call to prioritize gender equality and the human rights of women in order to achieve sustainable development.

The Commission was convened at the UN headquarters in New York to address the challenges and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in improving the lives of women and girls in developing countries. While the MDGs resulted in a reduction of poverty in some respects, the goals furthest from being achieved are those focused on women and girls—particularly on achieving gender equality and improving maternal health. With the MDGs set to expire in 2015, the Commission's outcome document will help shape priorities for the next global development framework.

A Feminist Declaration for Post 2015.As the United Nations decides on the future course of international development Post 2015, women of all ages, identities, ethnicities, cultures and across sectors and regions, are mobilizing for gender, social, cultural, economic and ecological justice, sustainable development and inclusive peace. We seek fundamental structural and transformational changes to the current neoliberal, extractivist and exclusive development model that perpetuates inequalities of wealth, power and resources between countries, within countries and between men and women. We challenge the current security paradigm that increases investments in the military-industrial complex, which contributes to violent conflict between and within countries.

Demonstration against corruption
in Manila.

Revolutionary years seem to happen every half-century. In 1848 fifty revolutions in Europe and Latin America put a definitive end to the monarchy in France, absolutism in Denmark and the feudal serfdom in Austria and Hungary. In 1917 the two Russian revolutions started to put in practice the ideas summarized by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in a famous Manifesto, published precisely in 1848. In 1968 the specter of revolution toured the world again with rebellions against the established order in Paris, Prague, Mexico and many other cities and campuses.

Was 2013 one of these years that history will remember as turning points? Statistics say that this is indeed the case. In a study titled "World Protests 2006-2013" Isabel Ortiz from Columbia University and Sara Burke, from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in New York, record and analyze strikes, demonstrations, rallies, riots, road blockages, occupations and other protest actions in almost ninety countries worldwide*.

In a report to the UN General Assembly, a UN rights expert has emphasised that poverty is closely associated with racism and contributes to the persistence of racist attitudes and practices which in turn generate more poverty.

Racial or ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by poverty; and the lack of education, adequate housing and health care transmits poverty from generation to generation, a United Nations rights expert has said.

According to Ruteere, poverty does not result only from an unequal sharing of resources. 'Discrimination against groups and persons based on their ethnicity, race, religion or other characteristics or factors has been known to encourage exclusion and impoverish certain groups of the population who suffer from unequal access to basic needs and services.'

The Global Information Society Watch 2013 shows that gains in women’s rights made online are not always certain or stable. While access to the internet for women has increased their participation in the social, economic and governance spheres, there is there is another side to these opportunities: online harassment, cyberstalking, and violence against women online all of which are on the increase globally. This GISWatch is a call to action, to the increased participation of women in all forms of technological governance and development, and to a reaffirmation and strengthening of their rights online.

South Centre presents its view on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development.

The United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda should not simply extend MDGs, or reformulate the goals, but focus instead on global systemic reforms to remove main impediments to development and secure an accommodating international environment for sustainable development.  This is a big, ambitious agenda which cannot be acted on overnight. An action plan for systemic reforms could be supplemented, but not substituted, by specific goals in some areas of economic and social development.

The 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) ended with renewed commitment to anti-poverty targets and agreement to adopt new development goals in 2015. Women's rights advocates, along with diverse civil society organizations, critically engaged in debates calling for structural transformation that puts human rights and sustainability at the centre of the new development agenda.

The 68th session of the UN GA that took place in New York 23-27 September 2013 was the first international inter-governmental process related to the Post 2015 Development Agenda and was intended to set out the formal process for governments to be involved in negotiations around the new development agenda, which have to date been led by the United Nations. 

Yilmaz Aykuz. (Photo: UN)

There are two major failings in policy interventions in the crisis in the US and Europe – the reluctance to remove the debt overhang through timely, orderly and comprehensive debt restructuring and the shift to fiscal austerity after an initial reflation.  These have resulted in excessive reliance on monetary policy, including non-conventional means.

However, monetary measures have largely been ineffective in stimulating credit for the expansion of spending on goods and services – hence, the crisis is taking too long to resolve.  Moreover, they have created financial fragility not only in the advanced economies practising such policies, but also globally and particularly in emerging economies.  Exit from the policy of ultra-easy money is full of pitfalls with attendant consequences for growth and stability.

Grassroots activists in Peru
discussing proposals for a
Post-2015 Sustainable
Development Agenda.
(Photo: ATD)

“When you live in a shelter, you face discrimination every day – from the food you eat to the way people treat you in the street, you face discrimination,” began Jose. A homeless shelter resident, Jose spoke at the commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at the United Nations on behalf of homeless people and people living in homeless shelters. This day is commemorated every year on October 17th by International Movement ATD Fourth World. In his message, Jose clearly underlined the essence of the theme this year, “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty.”

On October 17 2013, the International Movement ATD Fourth World will host the commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty at United Nations Headquarters. The first celebration was in 1992, when the United Nations declared October 17th the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. For the last two decades, this day has promoted understanding between people living in poverty and the society at large.

The theme for this year will be “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the knowledge of people living in extreme poverty.” One of the most painful aspects of a life in poverty is the discrimination faced by people on a daily basis; their marginalization in the political, economic, and social spheres of their societies, and their lack of voice and representation in the conceptualisation, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes that affect them directly and indirectly.

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