Our Top Takeaways from the UN General Assembly
One year after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world came together again at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to continue to push for a better future. The last time we saw this much enthusiasm and cross-sector dialogue was at the 2016 Women Deliver Conference, where an auditorium of nearly 6,000 passionate change-makers agreed that we must do everything in our power to leverage the SDGs so that they matter most for girls and women.
With this central point in mind during UNGA week, Women Deliver made sure to keep girls and women at the center of the conversation among world leaders and influencers. From the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to the United Nations Headquarters, we made it our duty to advocate for the world’s biggest untapped potential. Below are a few highlights:
Celebrating Solutions and Making New Commitments
One of the reasons the Women Deliver 2016 Conference was so successful was its focus on solutions – tried and true strategies that are making a difference in the lives of girls and women. We captured 100 of the best ideas shared in Copenhagen and packaged them in the Solutions Panorama — a resource for conference participants and the broader development community to reference in their own work. We officially launched the Solutions Panorama at a cocktail event on Monday, 19 September. That night we were joined by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark Kristian Jensen, Women Deliver Young Leaders Jasmine George and Elizabeth Okumu, and Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo to reignite the spark that we felt during our time in Copenhagen.
The very next day, Katja Iversen,President/CEO of Women Deliver,joined Kazuo Hirai, Representative Corporate Executive Officer, President and CEO, Sony Corporation and Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for the CGI 2016 Annual Meeting for a plenary session called Girl, Uninterrupted: Increasing Opportunity During Adolescence. The conversation explored education and access to contraception “We cannot invest in education unless we also invest in girl’s access to information, contraception, and her rights,” said Ms. Richards, tying the topics together perfectly.
Women Deliver didn’t just attended the CGI Annual Meeting that day; we also joined a new coalition of partners, “Girls, Women and the Global Goals” an initiative that has collectively pledged over $70 million to advance the full participation of girls and women. This work will directly impact nearly 900,000 individuals in over 60 countries across six continents to advance women’s economic opportunity, address the global scourge of gender-based violence, and promote women’s voices and leadership.
Working Together to Deliver for Good
On the morning of 21 October, we gathered ten of the Deliver for Good Founding Partners to discuss why Deliver for Good is an important alliance as we all work to achieve the SDGs by 2030. We heard a spectrum of voices, from experts in women’s land rights to leaders in nutrition. Nana Tuona Kuo of Every Women, Every Child summed the morning up well: “Deliver for Good presents the case that investing in girls and women is both a moral and economic imperative.”
If you’re feeling inspired, here are a few things you can do right now:
- Sign on to the commitment to deliver for girls and women.
- Share this video and spread the word about Deliver for Good.
- Have a proven solution that delivers for girls and women? Submit a Case Study to the Deliver for Good Campaign.
Everyone has a part to play in achieving the SDGs and we cannot do it alone. That’s why the Deliver for Good campaign is so important. A new campaign which places a gender lens on the SDGs, Deliver for Good brings together a diverse set of partners to propel the movement for girls and women and power progress for all. Multi-sector partnerships help us shatter siloes and develop innovative, effective solutions to achieve the SDGs.
Putting Girls and Women at the Center of the Sustainable Development Goals
From data to the refugee crisis, girls and women need to be put front and center when it comes to development work. If we truly want to achieve the SDGs, girls and women cannot only be considered within Goal 5 (Gender Equality). Girls and women are integral aspects of all 17 goals. When we invest in girls and women, it creates a powerful ripple effect that lifts up entire countries. Placing girls and women at the center of the 2030 agenda will not only make achieving the SDGs possible; it will mean progress for all.
Through the week of the UN General Assembly, we heard from leaders across sectors that “girls and women belong at the center of the SDGs.” But how exactly do we make that happen? How do we turn words into action?
On 22 September, we hosted panels in the SDG Media Zone on two very pressing issues: the refugee crisis and improving women’s health. On that day, we heard from Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, Alaa Murabit, Ashley Wolfington, Chris Temple, Toyin Saraki, Patrick McCrummen, and Fsahat Ul Hassan. “From empirical evidence alone we know that the inclusion of women actually leads to more stable, secure, and safe environments for longer periods of time,” said Dr. Alaa Murabit. “If women are included in peace-processes, you have a 35% more likelihood that a peace process will last a minimum of 15 years.”
Elevate Young People as Change-Makers
There were 17 Women Deliver Young Leaders in New York City to participate in the 2016 UNGA. While they were all busy sharing their expertise at a variety of events, some highlights include Salam Abukhadrah and Elizabeth Okumu speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting, Joannes Yimbesalu speaking in the HeForShe Second Anniversary Reception, and five Young Leaders participating in an Every Woman Every Child side event at the United Nations headquarters.
Also during the week, the 2016 WCD Ambassadors attended a three-day training before they start implementing their storytelling and digital media projects in their home countries this month, eight Young Leaders engaged in a daylong meeting about the health of adolescents and youth meeting at UNFPA, and five Young Leaders – with support from Johnsons & Johnson - participated in activities in the lead-up to and event of the Global Citizens Festival.
Our work doesn’t end when we leave spaces like the UN General Assembly. Rather, our work flourishes after moments like these. We head back with more data, more passion, and more partners than ever before. We are moving forward with greater conviction to make serious change for girls and women around the world. Thank you for helping to make that change happen.