UNESCAP AGENDA ITEM 2: Thematic Review with focus on “the Summit of the Future”

UNESCAP                                                                                                                 AGENDA ITEM 2: Thematic Review with focus on “the Summit of the Future”

Statement to be delivered by Cielito Perez, Center for Women’s Resources, Philippines 

As we sit here discussing the prospects of the Summit of the Future, women in our communities are grappling with depressed wages, insecurity of jobs and livelihoods, rising food and fuel prices, reduced public services on health, education, social protection, and social welfare. Democratic spaces continue to shrink with increased militarism, fundamentalism, and authoritarian patriarchal regimes. 

While we appreciate the emphasis on human rights and gender equality in the Pact of the Future, it is more important to move beyond mere rhetoric. We are presented with real problems that need real solutions and actions. Member States must demonstrate resolute commitment to dismantling systemic barriers and injustices by a system that takes away wealth and resources from developing countries to developed countries, and thus, exacerbates inequalities within our countries.

Despite affirmations of commitment to the 2030 Agenda, glaring gaps in financing remain unaddressed. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, USD 1.5 trillion is needed annually, to achieve the SDGs. Yet, half of the region’s developing economies rely on external debt to meet our needs, burdening us with crippling debt repayments. As a result, women bear the brunt of austerity measures imposed on us. Meanwhile, ODAs have been declining in quantity and quality and donor countries are failing to uphold their historical commitment to appropriate 0.7% of their Gross National Income towards development assistance. 

We are alarmed by increasing reliance on the private sector to fund the SDGs. The Public Private Partnership approach at different levels, gave more roles to the corporate sector in development policies strengthening corporate capture of our economies. Privatization of essential services and infrastructures widens disparities, depriving and displacing marginalized people.

The Summit also talks about international peace and security, but this will remain elusive as militarism is used to pursue economic and hegemonic interests. There is no peace and inclusive development when military expenditure continues to divert resources away from sustainable development spending. Peace cannot exist when the military-industrial complex profits from wars and conflicts that claim the lives and future of women and children.

We recognize the need to strengthen digital cooperation and harness the potential of science, technology and innovation, and with this, we want a Global Digital Compact that will end the concentration of power in a handful of big digital and tech companies and ensure that technologies will be a tool of development for the most marginalized, and not used to maintain the status quo or reconcentrate much bigger resources and profits in the hands of a few. 

In transforming global governance, we are concerned that we are falling short of realizing the vision of a multilateral system that is more effective, more trusted, more inclusive, and better equipped for the challenges, opportunities, and capacities of the present and the future. It is essential to overhaul the global debt architecture, and prioritize climate finance, and human rights. The Summit of the Future must advocate to democratize global economic and financial governance, referencing ongoing processes such as the UN Tax Convention to tackle illicit financial flows and promote fiscal transparency. 

While the Summit of the Future presents a crucial opportunity to chart a course toward a more just and equitable world, this can be done if, and only if, we acknowledge that the current system has failed and that a new framework of development is needed. We urge our governments to chart a course towards development justice – an alternative model of development that puts people and planet over profit, centering on and respecting human rights and people’s right to development – a future of global equity, of ecological sustainability, of social justice, and genuine peace.

Thank you very much.

CWR Position Paper on Increasing Women’s Participation in Political Parties

CWR Position Paper on Increasing Women’s Participation in Political Parties

The Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) supports the proposed legislative measures aimed at increasing women’s participation in political parties (House Bill No. 6604 and House Bill No. 9667). This proposed measure is of critical importance and represents a stride towards empowering women within the political sphere, aligning with principles enshrined in international human rights frameworks.

The right of women to participate in public and political life, including their representation, is vital for fully realizing their role as agents of change and beneficiaries of sustainable development and progress. The meaningful involvement of women in public life is crucial to ensure the integration of their concerns and perspectives in decision-making processes and policy formulation.

Examining the current landscape of women’s political participation in the Philippines reveals a modest increase in women’s representation in elected positions, with the proportion of female elected officials rising from 22% in 2016 to 31% in 2022. Despite an 8.47% increase in the number of women elected officials between the 2016 and 2022 National and Local Elections, the overall proportion fell short of the envisioned 50-50 distribution in decision making positions.

While legal impediments to women’s political representation do not exist, and despite the enactment of the Magna Carta of Women, systemic and cultural barriers persist. The slow growth in women’s political representation is attributed to various challenges, including persistent patriarchal norms and gender stereotypes, domestic responsibilities, and inadequate training and education. Financial constraints and limited economic resources for political campaigns greatly impedes women’s ability to compete on an equal footing with male counterparts.

Instances of violence against women in politics remain a significant concern. Women candidates and politicians face threats, harassment, and discrimination, creating a hostile environment that discourages many from active political engagement. For instance, the Gabriela Women’s Party, the lone women’s political party and sectoral representation in the Philippine Congress, faces ongoing disqualification cases filed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) with the Commission on Elections. This troubling trend underscores the urgency of addressing not only the barriers to women’s political participation but also the systemic harassment and intimidation they encounter in the pursuit of their political roles.

In this light, the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) supports the provisions of the proposed legislative measure to increase women’s participation in political parties and recommends the following:

  1. On supporting women quota, CWR emphasizes the importance of prioritizing women from marginalized sectors in the implementation of the Women Participation and Representation in Political Parties Act. Women from the marginalized sectors of workers, farmers, migrants, indigenous peoples, possess a unique understanding of the challenges faced by their communities, and this will ensure that policies are not only inclusive but also responsive to their specific needs.
  2. On Women and Gender and Development Agenda and Program, CWR notes that political parties must integrate gender perspectives and women’s human rights into their core philosophy and ideas. The Women and Gender and Development Agenda and Program must give emphasis to addressing pressing issues of women, including economic security, access and control over resources, access to health and education, and addressing gender based violence, among others.
  3. On establishing the Women in Political Parties Empowerment Fund, CWR supports the creation of the financing of the Women and Gender and Development Agenda and augmenting campaign expenditures for women candidates. However, mechanisms should be in place to ensure that the funds will be used by women candidates from marginalized sectors who have limited access to resources.
  4. CWR underscores the need to strengthen mechanisms to ensure a safe and enabling environment for women’s political participation and safeguard them from potential risks. This will ensure a robust and fearless representation that is essential for promoting genuine democracy. There must be mechanisms to prevent discrimination and hate speech against women politicians and women candidates in political and public discourse. Concrete steps must be taken to prevent harassment and threats against women candidates and politicians.

These recommendations aim not only to rectify the current gender imbalances in the political sphere but also to pave the way for a truly inclusive and democratic political landscape. The Center for Women’s Resources remains steadfast in its dedication to supporting the full participation of women, especially those in the marginalized sectors, in the political sphere.

Presentation of Recommendations by Civil Society Organizations to the Diplomatic Community for the 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review

This intervention is derived from the submission of the Center for Women’s Resources, GABRIELA – Alliance of Filipino Women, and from the Joint Recommendations of the Commission of Human Rights and Civil Society Organizations for the United Nations 4th Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review

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