IPPF welcomes the Political Declaration adopted at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), but accelerated and urgent action is needed

woman in India at a clinic

IPPF welcomes the Political Declaration adopted at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), but warns that 25 years after the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, accelerated and urgent action is needed. 

IPPF welcomes the adoption of the The Political Declaration on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, in which Governments reiterate their commitments to the landmark Declaration and  Platform for Action, the 12 critical areas of concern as well as new emerging areas, as accelerated action and renewed political commitment is needed in order to safeguard the future of generations to come. 

Member States adopted a broad and overarching Political Declaration that brings gains for women and girls across the world. We welcome the efforts of the many Member States who fought hard to support a strong action-oriented text that reaffirms the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of its review conferences, with strong references to the human rights of all women and girls. These explicit references show Member States’ unwavering commitment to strengthening their collective efforts towards achieving the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Agenda, including the full enjoyment of women’s and girls' human rights. 

IPPF also welcomes the mainstreaming of the use of ‘all’ women and girls throughout the text as well as the recognition that women and girls continuously face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, as we see these references as critical to ensuring the needs of all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, are included in normative standards, and are ultimately met. 

We welcome the reference to relevant major United Nations conferences and summits and their outcomes and follow up, as this includes landmark conferences, such as the ICDP and its review conferences and Agenda 2030, thereby highlighting the interlinkages between these agendas, which are mutually reinforcing and whose implementation is crucial for gender equality, human rights and and the  empowerment of all women and girls. We also note the reference to the regional reviews, which include strong outcomes and which have contributed to the 2020 Beijing +25 review. 

We are pleased that contributions made by civil society are recognized, including with new mentions of ensuring a safe and enabling environment for civil society, as well as the importance of having an open, inclusive and transparent engagement with them. We regret however that the Declaration does not reference feminist organisations or Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in this context. 

We are also pleased with the new focus on an action-oriented section of the Declaration, which marks a departure from what was adopted in 2015. In particular, we welcome a focus on a gender perspective into environmental, climate change and disaster risk reduction policies. 

However, IPPF would have liked to have seen stronger language in the paragraph on women’s economic empowerment, as well as references to the role the state specifically plays in recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and the need to share these responsibilities within the household, as opposed to between men and women. We were also disappointed that sexual and gender-based violence was not referenced, and that language agreed on the area of health was not stronger nor reflective of commitments adopted 25 years ago. In particular, the reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights, the realization of which impacts on all aspects of the lives of women, adolescents and girls was not included in the text. It’s also unfortunate that despite all of the data and research proving the benefits of investing in and paying particular attention to adolescent girls, this group continues to be neglected and was not referenced in the Political Declaration. 

IPPF calls on all Governments to rally behind this call to action: 25 years since Beijing, we face a rapidly evolving world with new emerging challenges that, on top of already existing structural inequalities, requires accelerated and urgent action. We must be ambitious, bold and daring if we want the legacy of Beijing to soar and the upcoming Generation Equality Forum to set a new path forward that delivers for all women, adolescents and girls not only today, but also tomorrow.