A Civil Society Red Flag on Global Development Priorities

The International Women’s Health Coalition today joined 730 other civil society organizations to raise a “red flag” on the current process to determine global priorities for development. Although our areas of work may be diverse, civil society groups worldwide agree that any development model that is not grounded in human rights will not be sustainable and will further perpetuate inequalities.

For the past year, IWHC and civil society organizations from every continent have participated in several UN consultations on what should replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) once they expire in 2015. We have suggested development alternatives, offered analysis on the gaps left by the MDGs, and made comprehensive recommendations throughout this consultative process.

Despite these efforts, recent deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda have revealed a disconnect between human rights and development. This disconnect spurred the 731 organizations—in a span of just two weeks—to issue a joint statement expressing our concerns.

Our red flag was firmly and visibly raised today by Brazilian human rights activist (and longtime IWHC partner) Alessandra Nilo, who presented the statement during the Commission on Population and Development and hand-delivered it to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The statement calls “on Member States and UN Agencies to demonstrate and sustain the necessary leadership and political will to ensure that the post 2015 development agenda is based on fully realizing the fundamental principles of human rights, equality, non-discrimination, and social justice for all.”

It also raises alarm that “little seems to be underway to reverse the trend of doing business as usual” and that “the UN is about to lose the opportunity to transform the current vicious cycle of development focused on economic growth alone that fuels inequalities, inequities, environmental degradation and marginalization into a virtuous cycle where human rights and justice prevail.”

The statement stresses that putting human rights at the center of development will help create vibrant, equal, and prosperous societies:

Progress on people’s rights and substantive gender equality in the development agenda requires critical attention to interconnected and indivisible sexual, reproductive, and other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Moreover, in order to be truly effective and inclusive in the face of current global inequalities, the post 2015 agenda must focus on a just distribution of the benefits of development, consider and commit to the creation of an enabling macroeconomic environment for the achievement of development goals and ensure that human rights underpin all development efforts.

The world we want—and the future we need—requires courageous action. Civil society organizations from around the world are watching. And we will be heard.

Download the full statement here: https://iwhc.org/resource/actions-need-future-want-civil-society-red-flag/.

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