Women’s human rights are crucial to achieving Agenda 2030 and sustainable development. The very principles that human rights are indivisible and interconnected must be the foundational guidelines for SDG monitoring and implementation. Asia Pacific women, in all their diversity, understand that the patriarchy manifested in fundamentalisms, neoliberal globalisation, conflicts and militarism is the structural driver of deepening inequalities, and undermines women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Climate change, for instance, is a result of deliberate political and economic decisions of a powerful few countries and large corporations, and disproportionately affects women and girls negatively; women and girls are more likely to die in natural and climate disasters, loss of livelihood leaves affected communities with their only option to migrate, resulting in women working in informal, exploitative, unregulated labour sectors, significantly eliminating women’s access to public and quality health care systems, and putting them at a high risk for trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, and with little access to justice systems.
We acknowledge the efforts made by the Member States, however as heard in many of the roundtables yesterday, there is still a wide gap in ensuring women’s human rights across and between all of the goals. We support the strengthening of local communities’ control and access over their natural resources, knowledge and energy systems. Women, especially indigenous women, have been the keeper of their communities’ resources and have been for centuries. We support the idea of an investment in the commons – in public transportation, public green space, public housing, in water, in electricity – designed to deliver both climate and gender impact. We believe in supporting small food producers in their agroecology farming practices, and small medium enterprises – in which women are more likely to be found.
What is most significantly requested of Member States is to deliver on the aspirations of Agenda 2030, a foundational shift. To boldly understand and claim that to live free from discrimination and violence is a basic human right; that poverty is a systematic denial of all human rights; education, health care, clean water and sanitation are not only public goods but basic human rights; cooperation between countries is an international human rights obligation. And that human rights cannot exist in isolation, they are indivisible.