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Annual UN gender equality event takes on sustainable development

The 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 14-24 March 2016, attended by state representatives, advocates for gender equality and UN representatives from across the world.

The CSW is a global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It helps promote women’s rights, document women’s lives throughout the world, and shape global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The priority theme for this year’s CSW is ‘Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.’ Often associated with the environment, the UN has used a wider definition for sustainability as calling for: ‘a decent standard of living for everyone today without compromising the needs of future generations.’

Sustainable development is an integral part of international policy, particularly since the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) by UN states in September 2015. Goal five is ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ and gender equality is referenced throughout the targets for all Goals.

Gender equality is an essential part of sustainable development. For example, the worsening shortage of, and lack of access to, resources such as water, energy and food sources could have huge implications for gender equality. Climate change is another important issue which in many ways acts as a magnifying glass, exposing risks and exacerbating pre-existing gender inequalities in women’s access to and control of resources and power.

Women are already playing a crucial role in developing sustainable development solutions, but their contributions are often not recognised. There is often a significant gender disparity in decision-making at all levels: from local communities to international governance.

The increased entry of women into paid work in more recent times has not been matched by a change in the the gendered division of unpaid care work. Sustainable development and women's empowerment calls for a fair and equitable balance between unpaid care work and paid work.
This year’s official meetings and events, side events and activities organised outside the formal programme of the session and an extensive schedule of parallel events associated with the NGO CSW Forum.

Independent from the UN, the NGO CSW Forum gives activists from around the world the opportunity to discuss, network, share learning and lobby governments to implement resolutions and treaties for women’s rights and gender equality.

Find out more about CSW

UN Women: CSW60
Follow #CSW60 on social media
Institute of Development Studies CSW60 parallel events on women’s economic empowerment and intersectional inequality: More information on the Interactions website.
Eldis: Blog series on the Sustainable Development Goals
BRIDGE: Four reasons why gender is an essential part of sustainable development

More on gender and sustainable development

Gender equality and women’s rights at the UN General Assembly post-2015 discussion
J Woodroffe; P Nath; F Rhodes / United Kingdom Gender and Development Network 2014
This briefing paper, produced by the Gender and Development Network in the UK, aims to reflect on the current (September 2014) debate on gender equality and the post-2015 framework, and comment on the final outcome document of the Ope...
Measuring women’s empowerment and social transformation in the post-2015 agenda
C. Harper; K. Nowacka; H. Alder / Overseas Development Institute 2014
While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have made some progress in certain areas of gender equality, they will ultimately fail to produce the sustainable human rights-based social transformation that is needed. If the post-2015 ...
Loss and Damage, Women and Men: Applying a gender approach to the emerging loss and damage agenda
N., V. Figueres / Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative 2013
This paper argues that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) need to pay a particular attention to loss and damage and gender equality. It is highlighted that there is a limited understanding of bot...
Tackling the double injustice of climate change and gender inequality
A. Otzelberger; M. Marshall / CARE International 2014
CARE paper outlining their work on the 'double injustice' of gender and climate change, and identifying key areas that must be addressed. This paper provides an overview of the links between the ‘double injustice’ o...
Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda: A foundation for sustainable development
Development Assistance Committee, OECD 2013
Why focus on gender equality in the post-2015 agenda? The post-2015 framework presents a unique opportunity to build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while also addressing the dimensions that...
Sustainable economy and green growth: who cares?
U. Röhr (ed); C. van Heemstra (ed) / Genanet 2013
Outcome document from genanet's two day international workshop on the intersection of care and the Green Economy. Supported by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, Genanet recently host...
Gender equality for sustainable development in Nigeria
O. Iwuchukwu 2013
In Nigeria, patriarchal gender roles are clearly defined and deeply entrenched. This paper argues that there can never be gender equality in life; a man and a woman can never be equal, but can work together in mutual respect for susta...
Gender goals, targets and indicators for sustainable development: problems and opportunities
K. Lanz / Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies 2013
While ground-breaking in their scope and ambition, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have also sparked controversy, not least in the choice of goals, targets, and indicators. This policy brief, produced by the Interdisciplinary ...
Policy Brief & Recommendations -Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Open Working Group (OWG) - Promoting Equality, including Social Equity, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
High Level Task Force for ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development) 2014
Only two out of 130 countries with available data have reached gender parity in all levels of education. If women had the same access to land, productive assets and farming inputs as men, farm yields could increase by 20-30 per cent, ...
‘Leave no one behind’: gender, sexuality and the Sustainable Development Goals
E. Mills / Institute of Development Studies UK 2015
In 2015, as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end, a new generation of world leaders, government officials, donors and civil society organisations, have joined forces to articulate their vision for a future where all ...

Latest Documents

Financing technology delivery for SDGs: a way forward for TFM
S. Chaturvedi; S. Saha / Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
The importance of Science and Technology (S&T) and availability of innovation driven solutions, particularly to mitigate and address sustainability challenges globally has been a central theme in all important global platforms in ...
India and Sustainable Development Goals: the way forward
Research and Information System for Developing Countries 2016
India along with other countries has signed the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising of seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit of the United Nations in Se...
Youth-led accountability for the SDGs
Commonwealth Secretariat 2016
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have set out an ambitious agenda for global development for the next fifteen years, leading up to 2030. Empowering young people to hold governments and duty-bearers accountable is one of t...
Not ready, still waiting: Governments have a long way to go in preparing to address gender inequality and the SDGs
ActionAid International 2016
Governments urgently need to improve their policy readiness if they want to have any chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on inequalities. Governments in developing countries do not yet have the laws and polici...
Forest and Farm Producer Organizations - operating systems for the SDGs
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2016
Responding to the new global development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this publication argues that forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) are effective operating systems to deliver the SDGs. In fact it may ...
Climate change and malaria
Roll Back Malaria, World Health Organization (WHO) 2015
Weather and climate are major determinants of the geographical distribution, seasonality, year-to-year variability and longer term trends of malaria. Periods of long-term drought can reduce transmission. Periods of unusually h...
Libraries and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions 2015
Libraries make an important contribution to development. The purpose of this toolkit is to support advocacy for the inclusion of libraries and access to information as part of national and regional development plans that will contribu...
Parliamentary oversight of UK development cooperation: the experience of DFID
Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa 2016
The Department for International Development, the UK government body responsible for foreign assistance and international development cooperation, has garnered global respect for its work in the developing world since its ince...
Evaluating Botswana’s performance on National Vision 2016: public opinion on development pillars
R. Rekalake / Afrobarometer 2016
On 30 September 2016, Botswana will mark its 50th year of independence from the United Kingdom, a significant occasion for both celebration and reflection. An important part of this reflection has focused on Botswana’s tr...
On the fast-track to end AIDS: UNAIDS 2016 - 2021 strategy
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS 2016
This document outlines the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2016-2021 strategy to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The strategy maps out the UNAIDS Fast-Track approach to accelerating the AID...
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