Adolescent girls take centre stage at Post 2015 framework debate

4 FEBRUARY 2014 | UNITED NATIONS, NEW-YORK

Over 100 participants from UN missions, UN agencies, development partners, academia and youth gathered at the United Nations Headquarters, under the leadership of the Government of Indonesia, to discuss why and how to place healthy adolescent girls at the centre of the Post 2015 sustainable development framework. The event was held on the side of the eighth session of the Open Working Group which focused among other issues, on gender inequality,

Her Excellency Professor Nila Moeloek, the President of Indonesia’s Special Envoy on MDGs, welcomed participants to the meeting saying , “as we approach the deadline of the MDGs in 2015 and laying the groundwork for the post-2015 development agenda, now is the time to develop the investment case for a healthy population. Setting the scene for the event, Professor Nila Moeloek, noted that the new investment case for healthy populations’ girls must be based on a revised definition of the role of women and adolescents in development-one that positions women and girls as agents of change.

In her intervention, Ms Anne Birgitte Albresctsen, Deputy Executive Director at UNFPA echoed the theme of a need for equality. She noted that “while adolescents account for nearly a quarter of the world population and contribute substantially to social and economic development, they are often deprived of the resources and services that can allow them to realize their potential”

Participants at the event called for a Post 2015 framework that:

  • increases adolescent girls’ access to health information and services, in particularly related to sexual and reproductive health rights, and good nutrition;
  • increases adolescent girls’ access to quality education;
  • guarantees the safety of adolescent girls; and
  • increases adolescent girls’ meaningful representation and voice and access to resources and economic opportunities

Participants pointed to the need to implement innovative solutions to the challenges faced by adolescent girls and to involve various stakeholder groups, such as men and boys, critical to changing social, political and institutional norms. Participants also highlighted the importance of improved access to and use of gender and age disaggregated data to inform policies and track progress.

His Excellency Ambassador Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN, spoke of Brazil’s successes in improving social outcomes for women and girls. He also highlighted the issue of persisting inequalities in Brazil, including gender based inequalities and inequalities between different types of women and adolescent girls, and called for a focus on the most vulnerable. He stressed the responsibility of governments in providing social protection, ensuring universal access to services and in implementing policies that encourage the poorest to access services such as the conditional cash transfer program -Bolsa Familia.

Ms Jeni Klugman, Director of Gender and Development at the World Bank spoke of a need for improved access to and use of gender and age disaggregated data to inform policies and track progress. Ms. Klugman also focused on the emerging research findings that show how greater social and economic opportunities for girls can have broader positive impacts.

The critical need for the Post 2015 framework to be linked to robust global, regional and national level accountability mechanisms was discussed. Ms Chongo Mwila of the YWCA in Zambia underlined the critical role of civil society organizations and communities in holding various stakeholders to account for the implementation of their commitments.

Ms Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General, UN Women in her closing statement reiterated the importance of adopting a cross sectoral approach to improving the health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and to allow them to realize their full potential. She called for the Post 2015 framework to ensure that girls have access to education, are empowered economically, are brought to the table as equal participants in institutional and political settings and are free of violence.

The event was co-organized by the PMNCH, UN Foundation, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, IFMSA, Girls not Brides, World YWCA, World Vision International, NCD Alliance, WHO, and UNICEF in support of Every Woman, Every Child.

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