From left to right, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, President of China Xi Jinping, President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Løkke Rasmussen at the Global Leaders’ Meeting. 72 Heads and Deputy Heads of State and Government at the event followed UN Women’s call to announce concrete commitments to Step It Up! for gender equality. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Putting women at the centre of global transformation

Women and the sustainable development goals.

Global negotiations among governments result in commitments that raise standards and accelerate national and international action on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. UN Women provides evidence and leads advocacy to put women’s rights and needs at the centre of these processes. We bring together partners from government, civil society, the UN system and academia; provide expertise and analysis; and highlight good practices from different countries and regions. In 2015, our efforts helped drive a series of landmark global agreements with breakthrough provisions on women’s empowerment and created consensus to step up the pace to reach gender equality by 2030.

The sustainable development goals

An Agenda for gender equality by 2030

Agreed by all UN Member States in 2015, “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is the first global agreement on sustainable development with goals for all countries, both developing and developed. It aims at an ambitious shift in development to meet people’s rights and needs, while respecting our planet.

A historic meeting of global leaders

With only one day to go before the formal adoption of the 2030 Agenda, UN Women seized the moment to propel its implementation forward. To mark the end of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing and the launch of the Agenda, we exercised our global convening power to organize the first-ever meeting of Heads of State and Government on gender equality. The historic Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment brought together an extraordinary number of more than 70 world leaders at the United Nations for one powerful purpose: to commit to eliminating gaps in gender equality.

Global Leaders' Meeting in numbers

 

76

64 Heads of State and Government, 8 Deputy Heads of State and Government and leaders of 4 regional organizations made commitments

By mid-2016,

93

countries have made commitments to Step It Up for gender equality

#Planet5050 was used in

42,000

tweets by 19,000 different users and reached 76 million unique users

 

700

news clippings spanning 80 countries in major international, regional and national media outlets

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change includes a pivotal reference to women’s empowerment. Women like Salote Tubuna in Fiji, whose house was destroyed during cyclone Pam, have been able to count on UN Women’s support. Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change includes a pivotal reference to women’s empowerment. Women like Salote Tubuna in Fiji, whose house was destroyed during cyclone Pam, have been able to count on UN Women’s support. Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd

Agreements on financing and climate change

In 2015, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development defined the pace and parameters of spending on development for the coming generation. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, issued by the Conference, commits to drawing on all sources of finance—domestic and international, public and private— to achieve the high aspirations of the SDGs.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka delivers the opening statement at the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters on 14 March 2016. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka delivers the opening statement at the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters on 14 March 2016. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Commission on the status of women

Carrying the momentum of the 2030 Agenda forward at the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Member States committed to its gender-responsive implementation, including through stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data, scaled-up financing, and women’s full and effective leadership and participation. The Commission also emphasized UN Women’s central role in supporting Member States, coordinating the UN system and mobilizing civil society organizations, private sector and other partners for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda. In one of the Commission’s largest sessions, more than 80 government delegations were led by ministers and around 4,100 non-governmental representatives participated on behalf of more than 540 organizations.

A key result [of UN Women’s intergovernmental work] was a united African voice rooting for a standalone goal on gender in the post-2015 Agenda.”

Statement by Kenya, UN Women Executive Board Annual Session, June 2015

World Humanitarian Summit

In 2016, governments and other actors discussed how to manage the global escalation of humanitarian crises at the first World Humanitarian Summit. Active throughout preparations for the meeting, UN Women organized one of the Summit’s main events. Through our ministerial roundtable on women and girls in humanitarian situations, we urged world leaders to commit to the actions required to engender the humanitarian response in line with international agreements including: involving women as leaders in the humanitarian response; protecting women and girls from gender-based violence; and providing access to sexual and reproductive health services. The commitments that emerged reflect our insistent call for all forms of humanitarian action to not only respond to women’s needs but to also uphold their rights—and represents an important shift away from the current emphasis on protection to one of empowerment and equal opportunity.