In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came to a close and a new framework for global development was unanimously adopted. This new agenda is propelled by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a roadmap for development that pledges to leave no one behind.
With the conclusion of the MDGs came the understanding that their top-down nature precluded their chances for full success. When designing their successor, the international community launched a process informed by an unprecedented range of worldwide public consultations. The resulting “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was launched by consensus of world leaders at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. The Agenda is a plan of action and a framework for ushering in a new era of inclusive and equitable development, recognizing that eradicating poverty is not only the greatest global challenge, but also an indispensable requirement for success. Putting forth 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, the Agenda is universal, addressing and encompassing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and their inter-linkages. The main objective of the SDGs is to stimulate action over the next fifteen years in critical areas of importance for humanity and the planet.
We are ready, let us act on our commitment to creating opportunities for rural women – progress for all.Song by Self-Help Groups during Ntengwe for Community Development’s Melting Pot Symposium in Mabale ward, Zimbabwe
For the 2030 Agenda to be truly transformational, the Huairou Commission believes that grassroots and rural women and their organizations must be central to the process. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has remarked, “Rural women are the backbone of sustainable livelihoods and provide food security for their families and communities.” Recent numbers show that an estimated 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries is represented by rural women, and about 1/4 of the world’s population is comprised of rural women whose livelihoods are sustained by agriculture and natural resources. As such, rural women are experts with visionary and practical development solutions to ensure food security and natural resource conservation, and are essential actors in the planning, implementing and monitoring of development commitments.
Supporting Rural Women with IFADOver 15 months in 2015-2016, and in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Huairou Commission led an effort to support the organization of rural women and engage them around the 2030 Agenda. Anchored by grassroots organizations in 19 countries, the Rural Women’s Empowerment Initiative has promoted partnership-building and advocacy to highlight a transformational rural development agenda led by women. The Initiative convened 18 multi-stakeholder dialogues at the national and local level concentrating on rural women’s priorities, supported 2 radio pilots raising awareness of issues faced by rural women and positioned 7 grassroots women leaders as champions of rural priorities in strategic policy arenas. Three major themes emerged around rural women’s priorities as a result of the Initiative:
- The need to formalize rural women’s role in decision-making processes (related to SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 17);
- The extent to which threats and risks due to climate change and natural disasters are creating new levels of vulnerability for rural producers, requiring adaptive action (related to SDGs 2, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15); and
- The marginalization of rural women created by their lack of access to and control over land and natural resources (related to SDGs 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16)
Sustainability of agriculture highly depends of equal participation of women in decision making. They must be acknowledged as important stakeholders to lead efficient water resource management, protective irrigation practices and shift from single cash crop cultivation to food secured multi cropping.Shri Vikas Deshmukh, Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) women’s federation member