During a Summit from 25-27 September, the world’s governments adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the result of a lengthy process of intergovernmental negotiations and consultations that lasted almost three years.
At the centre of the agenda are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework of 17 goals and 169 targets across social, economic and environmental areas of sustainable development, which governments committed to realise over the next 15 years. The SDGs are to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire at the end of 2015.
Rutgers welcomes the adoption of the agenda, which includes ambitious commitments on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. If implemented, the agenda will bring transformative change around the world, including for women and girls, and save millions of lives. Rutgers has been intensely involved in the process leading to the adoption of the agenda, advocating for strong support from the Dutch government, and other European governments on gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The consortium congratulates the progressive positions taken by the Netherlands and many European countries throughout the negotiation process, which markedly contributed to the strong and inclusive outcomes of the agenda.
However, the agenda also has a number of weaknesses. It is disappointing that sexual rights are not explicitly recognised. Moreover, the agenda fails to define specific follow-up and review mechanisms, which would monitor implementation by governments, and references to civil society participation in implementation and review of progress are weak.
If the 2030 Agenda is to deliver for women and girls, it will have to become a reality on the ground. Governments will have to follow through on their commitments and take concrete and ambitious steps to implement the agenda. For European governments in particular this will also require a stepping-up of funding and capacity support to countries in the Global South. Furthermore, strong accountability mechanisms at national, regional and global levels will need to be put in place to monitor progress towards the goals and targets.
Ensure real change
Rutgers, in conjunction with Countdown 2015 Europe, will continue to advocate towards the Dutch government, other European governments and the European Union institutions to ensure the vision of the 2030 Agenda translates into real change on the ground.
*Countdown 2015 Europe is a consortium of 15 leading European non-governmental organizations working in 12 European countries and with the European Union institutions to ensure that reproductive health and family planning are a funding priority for European donors and a policy priority in Europe and globally.