UN Women: Focus on global business leaders to foster SDGs

UN Women convenes global business and philanthropic leaders to help accelerate SDG action through women’s empowerment

SDG 5 Forum participants included Al Waleed Philanthropies, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chanel Foundation, Ford Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Revlon, Unilever, WPP and others committed to achieve gender equality by 2030. 

New York - One thousand days into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and counting down to 2030, which is the deadline for achieving global gender equality under SDG 5, UN Women convened business and philanthropic leaders on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73) to step up commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Global business and philanthropic leaders pledged more than USD 70 million in 2018 (USD 13 million of which was pledged at the UNGA 73 SDG 5 Forum today) to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through UN Women. 

No single country has ever achieved gender equality, and according to industry estimates this failure will cost USD 28 trillion1 by 2025. Forum participants focused on how public and private sectors can bolster efforts to achieve global gender equality by 2030. 

“Every day there is more evidence of what the world is missing when it falls short of equality between women and men. Our globally agreed roadmap of the 2030 Agenda puts the drive for that equality right at the centre of all the goals to be achieved,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Governments, civil society and the business world all contributed to that vision and must act together in shaping the solution. These combined forces are critical if we are to make unstoppable progress by 2020 and meet the 2030 target.”

UN Women was established in 2010 to help the world end gender inequality and the 17 SDGs were adopted by global leaders in 2015, with SDG 5 focusing on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in every country of the world. The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 217 years to achieve gender equality at the current rate of progress. 

The SDG 5 Forum builds on UN Women’s work across sectors, including this month’s launch of the Global Innovation Coalition for Change’s (GICC) Gender Innovation Principles, a global set of standards adopted by an alliance of 27 partners from private sector, non-profit organizations and academic institutions that takes a gender-responsive approach to innovation and technology. The financial commitments at the SDG 5 Forum and from UN Women’s strategic partnerships will support efforts toward innovation, eliminating violence against women and girls, generating gender equality data and evidence, fast tracking women’s economic empowerment, ensuring education, providing access to health services and protection of women’s livelihoods in crisis settings, as well as building climate resilience in sustainable agricultural food chains that benefit women farmers.  
Global business and philanthropy leaders that pledged support at today’s event through UN Women to countries around the world included: Al Waleed Philanthropies, Chanel Foundation, Revlon, WPP and Zonta International Foundation. UN Women continues to benefit from financial support from foundations and global organizations such as Alibaba Group, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, International Olympic Committee, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, as well as public sector funding that enables private sector engagement from the European Union and the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.

UN Women has established several mechanisms to mobilize private sector and foundations in the world’s quest to achieve SDG 5 by 2030 including the 1,800 companies that signed onto the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), the HeForShe impact movement, Common Ground, the GICC, and the Unstereotype Alliance participants.  

To date, UN Women has continued to connect women, governments, and communities to foster change across sectors, from using technology to increase the income of women in agriculture to help them secure decent jobs, to supporting the reform discriminatory laws worldwide. UN Women has trained more than 7,000 women leaders in politics and governance last year alone, and over 1.5 billion women and girls in 52 countries are better protected from violence through stronger legal frameworks.
Follow the hashtag #TimeIsNow and @UN_Women on Twitter for updates. 
1 McKinsey & Company, 2015, “The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women’s Equality can add $12 Trillion to Global Growth.” https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Featured%20Insights/Employment%20and%20Growth/How%20advancing%20womens%20equality%20can%20add%2012%20trillion%20to%20global%20growth/MGI%20Power%20of%20parity_Full%20report_September%202015.ashx p. 1
UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit www.unwomen.org. UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, New York. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4496.

Editorial note from Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
Media Partner UN Women
Heralding the Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, the term for the eight Millennium Development Goals expired and 2016 began with a new 15-year cycle, launching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Welcome to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted unanimously by 193 Heads of State.

What is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?
There are seventeen goals and 169 targets which aim to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and approach climate change solutions over the next decade and a half. In the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, "The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of humanity and a social contract between the world's leaders and the people".
Three vectors are to be approached in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - the social, economic and environmental dimensions, involving both developed and developing countries and the SDGs go further than the Millennium Development Goals in scope, encompassing peace and justice. In short, the SDGs are a blueprint for the implementation of common universal values, globally.

Building on the MDGs
The Millennium Development Goals, implemented in the year 2000 were: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development. According to the UNO, "significant progress" was made in a number of areas, although the goals were not met in full.

Over the 15-year period, 6.2 million malaria deaths were averted, the number of people living in extreme poverty was more than halved and primary school enrolment increased from 83 to 91 per cent. Great strides were made towards gender parity in school enrolment in the first three cycles (primary, secondary and tertiary), under-fives mortality decreased by over 50 per cent, maternal mortality decreased by 45 per cent, HIV infections fell by 40 per cent while ODA (Official Development Aid) increased by 66 per cent.

This does not mean that everyone was covered by these success stories - millions of people were excluded and inclusion and equality were not achieved universally in terms of gender, ethnicity, geographic location, age or disability. Here is where the SDGs step onto the stage.

What are the SDGs?

SDG1: No poverty; SDG2: Zero hunger; SDG3: Good health and well-being; SDG4: Quality education; SDG5: Gender equality; SDG6: Clean water and sanitation; SDG7: Affordable and clean energy; SDG8: Decent work and economic growth; SDG9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure; SDG10: Reduced inequalities; SDG11: sustainable cities and communities; SDG12: Responsible consumption and production; SDG13: Climate action; SDG14: Life below water; SDG 15: Life on land; SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions; SDG 17: Partnership for the goals.

Conclusion: If the world could concentrate on global humanitarian and ecological issues, focusing on development of resources over deployment of troops, spending trillions of dollars annually on these projects rather than military expenditure, these goals would already have been reached. However, without goals, there are no objectives or targets and in achieving these, Humankind is collectively under the spotlight.

The individual can make a difference, for inside the political systems currently followed are interwoven mechanisms which allow people to select or deselect a representative (Congressperson, Member of Parliament, Deputy and so on) depending on the way they vote. Bringing issues onto the political agenda and holding representatives accountable is a powerful and meaningful way in which people can make a difference.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
Photo: By Marco Carrasco - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61237862

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey