Women must have a voice in the post-2015 MDGs

by CARE International | CARE International Secretariat
Monday, 10 March 2014 16:14 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Empower women to monitor development progress, says CARE on the opening day of the Commission on the Status of Women conference in New York

New York, March 10, 2014 - As diplomats from around the world converge in New York for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) [1], CARE International, a non-governmental organization working in over 80 countries with communities to address root causes of poverty and gender equality, calls on states to give women a voice in monitoring development efforts, and to put gender equality at the heart of how we define development progress.

This year’s CSW talks focus on the role of women in the global ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs), which are due for revision in 2015. Various proposals have been made by the UN Secretary General, UN Women and others on how gender should feature in the MDGs beyond 2015 [2]. However, until now, discussions have been vague on how to monitor any of the future development goals. Discussions on monitoring and accountability have centred largely on promoting transparency and access to information, and proposals for regional and global level monitoring processes. Thus far, the deliberations have been remarkably silent on how accountability will happen at the local or national level.  

In advance of the CSW conference, a ‘zero draft’ CSW outcome document has circulated amongst diplomats containing innovative proposals to address precisely this gap, calling for “women’s full and effective participation at all levels of decision-making” on the global development agenda [3]. CARE International is bringing a delegation of eight activists from Africa, Latin America and Asia to CSW. The CARE team brings a range of expertise spanning issues such as maternal health, child marriage, climate change, conflict and gender-based violence. However, we come with one priority message: the need to plug the accountability gap in the MDGs beyond 2015.

“We come to CSW with one message. Accountability is the missing piece. Women should have a voice in monitoring development efforts, and gender equality needs to be at the heart of how we define development progress. CSW should give women a voice in the post-2015 development framework. That’s the benchmark for success,” Said Aisha Rahamatali, CARE International’s Advocacy Officer and delegate to the conference.

Accountability is essential to enable progress on development. For example, in Peru, CARE partnered with a network of indigenous women to identify barriers to seeking life-saving maternal health care [4]. As a result of the program, the quality of their care and referral systems improved. In the areas involved, the number of women accessing services increased, jumping by 33 percent in one year, and maternal deaths fell by a remarkable 49 percent in just four years. These achievements led to the government adopting National Policy Guidelines for the Promotion of Citizen Health Monitoring in 2011 to roll-out mechanisms for citizen participation across the country.

 “Maternal deaths decreased and indigenous women increased their access to service in Peru. How? It’s simple. The state and health services listened to what women told them. They gave women a voice in defining the obstacles and solutions for healthcare,” said Ariel Frisancho, Social Rights Programme Coordinator for CARE Peru. “UN CSW needs to commit to empowering women across global development efforts. Whether on health, food security, climate change or education, accountability at local and national level is the gap and it’s the game-changer.”


[1] UN CSW website: https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/  The UN CSW conference is an annual review of global commitments on women’s rights.

[2] UN Women position on post-2015 MDGs at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/post-2015 UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Agenda: http://www.un.org/sg/management/hlppost2015.shtml  

[3] ‘Zero Draft - Commission on the Status of Women 58th session’, 4 February 2014

[4] Information about CARE International’s work on maternal health and social accountability in Peru: http://www.careinternational.org.uk/what-we-do/governance/governance-story-participatory-voices


For more information or to interview any of the CARE staff or partners during the CSW talks, please contact:

Kathleen Hunt, CARE International UN Representative:  +1 917 332 8115, khunt@care.org

Aisha Rahamatali, CARE International Advocacy Officer:  +41 76 477 49 36, rahamatali@careinternational.org

ABOUT CARE INTERNATIONAL: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian and development organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. In fiscal year 2013, CARE worked in 86 countries around the world, supporting 927 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects to reach 97 million people. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.