Chiang Mai (29 June, 2012): The Rio+20 Outcome Document did not break new ground for gender equality and women’s human rights, and did not establish any binding commitments from governments for just development. As we move past Rio+20, states have a vital opportunity to create and commit to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that can rectify injustices. Women from Asia Pacific demand that governments address four critical issues in the post-Rio process. Access to and control over resources, economic rights and a living wage, militarisation, and meaningful participation in policy-making significantly impact women across the region, yet states have made no commitments to resolve injustices.
We acknowledge that the Outcome Document of Rio+20 recognises the importance of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, and in particular the importance of women’s access to ownership and control over land and natural resources, health care, social services and education (paras. 109, 240); decent working conditions and social protection for women in the informal sector (paras. 153, 156); protection of human rights and fundamental freedom of all migrants regardless of migration status, especially women (para. 157); and women’s full and equal participation in decision making and management and leadership in all areas at all levels (paras. 45, 236, 237).
However, we remain unconvinced that these will be made into policy with regulated mechanisms to make these commitments a reality. The ‘green economy’ is still based on the current neoliberal economy and will not resolve the financial, economic, food, energy and climate crises that the system has caused. Instead it will only deepen poverty, exclusion and injustice in society, especially for rural, indigenous and migrant women. Without addressing the cause of the crises and historical and structural discrimination against women, the ‘green economy’ will continue to marginalise rural, indigenous and migrant women. We are concerned that ‘green economy’ will merely instrumentalise women for economic growth and the profit of the private sector.
A full description of the critical issues for Asia Pacific women is attached.
The women of Asia Pacific remain committed to engaging in sustainable development in all its future measures, processes and structures. We are determined to fully participate in establishing, supporting and monitoring the implementation of the sustainable development outcomes and goals in the region. But we demand that governments address these key issues and commit to SDGs so women can have a leading voice in the post-Rio process.
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For more information: Sarah Matsushita firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.apwld.org/ Twitter @apwldrio20
Just and Sustainable Development- Critical Issues Missing for Asia Pacific Women
Access to Resources: The best way to eradicate poverty is to make sure women and men have access to, ownership of and control over land. Access and control over land would ensure food sovereignty for rural and indigenous women and their community. Governments must ensure access to resources includes finance, sustainable energies, information, education, health care and markets.
Employment and economic rights: The economic growth model, which will continue in the “green economy”, depends on gendered and international division of labour exploiting informal cheap labour mostly performed by women in the global south. This includes women migrant domestic workers, who are often from marginalised communities and vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, abuse and violence. We demand that all States legally recognise domestic work as work and ensure that women workers, including migrant workers regardless of their legal status, are ensured equal access to education, skills, healthcare, social security, fundamental rights at work, and social and legal protections, including occupational safety and health. States should address the root causes of women’s migration and the conditions necessary for sustainable development with safe and protected jobs for women, including alternatives to migration. This involves enacting and enforcing laws, procedures and redress mechanisms that prevent exploitation and abuse of women migrant workers, and fulfilling their extra territorial obligations.
Militarisation/peace: Militarisation, often a justification for peace and development, only deepens injustice by suppressing the voices of people and denying people’s access to resources. Natural resource extractions have often involved forced and violent responses by the military and private security hired by companies, to communities and individuals who claim their legitimate right to resources, of which women are most adversely affected. Women human rights defenders combating the negative impact of the extractive activities are often the target of harassment, sexual abuse and even murder by these forces. Conflict over natural resources often forces women to migrate or become displaced, becoming vulnerable to violations without basic human rights protections. We call on States to monitor and stop the use of state military, paramilitary and private armed groups, including foreign military interventions, in protecting development projects, which are primarily funded by international funding institutions.
Voice: Rural, indigenous and migrant women benefit least from economic growth, yet suffer the most from loss of sustainable lands, climate disasters and inequality. They are rarely heard or engaged as decision-makers in development. Persistent inequalities- including economic, social, cultural and political- prevent women’s full and meaningful participation in policy making, development programmes and implementation. Governments and development institutions must ensure that women, especially rural, indigenous and migrant women, are not only present in formal processes, but also contribute their perspectives and recommendations decision-making at all levels of development issues. This must be done through a bottom-up, decentralised process owned by people. In addition, in order to ensure accountability and transparency, all States are obliged to provide mechanisms through which people can hold the State and private actors accountable, participate constructively in decision and policy-making, and access information required to do so.