The Political Declaration adopted by CSW59 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women is a weak text. In addition to that we disapprove of the discussion procedure of the text because it did not let civil society participate, thus violating the principles of transparency and accountability of governments.
The Declaration only reaffirms already existing commitments and does not reflect the advances achieved in the support to all women’s human rights reached in the regional meetings.
The biggest weakness of the Declaration is that the language referring to gender equality, empowerment and the human rights of women and girls is not used throughout the Declaration.
The challenges the world is facing, which disproportionately affect women are not mentioned explicitly: economic inequality, climate change, rising fundamentalism, multiple crises like the financial crisis.
The link with the Post 2015 Development Agenda is also very weak as the language only refers to the use of opportunities for the integration of a gender perspective into economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. There is no insurance that the human rights and gender perspective will be integrated throughout the Post 2015 Development Agenda. There is also no unequivocal support for a stand -alone gender equality goal.
There is no mention that in order to achieve transformative changes the Post 2015 Development Agenda must ensure the universal realization of all women’s and girls’ human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights as recognized in international human rights instruments. Economic growth and the profit motive alone cannot be recognized as strategic for sustainable development.
In the Declaration there is no mention that in the accountability process the means of implementation should come mainly from public resources and that private funds should be accountable as well on their social, environmental and human rights impact.
Women’s rights organizations, feminist organizations, grassroots activists and women human rights defenders are not mentioned in spite of the fact that they have been doing the most impactful and innovative work in the field.
In conclusion the process of adoption of the declaration as well as its substance reflect a serious backlash of gender equality, empowerment and women’s and girls’ human rights.