National Consultation on post 2015 goals reviews gaps and suggests remedies


Lucknow, IndiaThe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight development targets, established by the UN in 2000 and which defined the global development agenda are set to expire in 2015. The UN, Governments and Civil Society have already geared up to review the gains made and the challenges faced as they shape the next round of targets – post 2015.

In India, the National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Government of India, spearheading the review and reflection process supported by the UN Women, organised a National Consultation on “Reducing Gender Inequalities: A Possible Framework for Post 2015” on March 1st at Nawabganj. Organized by the Centre for Advocacy and Research, the Consultation brought together leading civil society groups, think tank bodies and academicians to deliberate on the strengths and weaknesses of the MDGs and evolve an inclusive, participatory and sustainable framework to advance the MDG post 2015.

Ms. Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, NMEW pointed out that the MDGs have been critiqued for various reasons and more specifically for not succeeding in integrating gender across the seven other MDGs.

Explaining this Ms. Singh stated that “to achieve gender equality and empowerment as enunciated in Goal 3 of the MDGs, we need to adopt an integrated approach to gender equality. This can only happen if we make gender a cross-cutting goal across all MDG indicators.”

She went on to add that the National Consultation sought to address the gaps and lacunae by locating the Post 2015 effort in strengthening the focus and accountability towards the poorest of the poor, which includes Dalits, Tribal, Muslim and women from marginal communities.

“When it comes to women’s empowerment, discrimination and inequalities harm them more severely -be it in the social, legal or cultural spheres. Gender-based discrimination, and the denial of the rights of women and girls, remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities in today’s world. Gender-based violence, taking many forms, is a major element of this massive and continuing failure of human rights,” said Anne F. Stenhammer, UN Women Representative for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka

Translating equality and the other fundamental values of the Millennium Declaration more systematically and effectively into the Post 2015 Agenda will be crucial to sustaining progress and improving the wellbeing of people today and for future generations.

India, so far, has not been able to meet many of the targets set under the MDGs. India’s achievement list boasts of only two of the eight targets of the MDGs. This includes Goal 2 which is about ensuring that all children are enrolled and complete a full course in Primary Education. India with a 98.3 per cent net enrolment at the primary level in 2009-10, will most likely meet this target. There are strong hopes that in terms of poverty reduction too, with a declining rate from 37% in 2004 to 29.8% in 2009-10, the targets will be met – but with a rider – if accelerated actions are taken.

Against this, malnutrition, infant mortality and malaria, are critical health concerns where the country needs to scale up its attention. With 40 per cent of children underweight in 2006, the hunger related indicator will probably not be met. With an IMR of 47 for children under 5 and an MMR of 212 in 2010, the target of significant reduction in infant and maternal mortality will be missed.

Regional workshops have already been conducted in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam. These were organized in partnership with community groups and civil society partners, such as, Network Campaign on Dalit Human Rights Campaign (NCDHR), Vargana Sakhi Sangathana and Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN). Participants included leading organizations and grassroot groups.

These consultations have highlighted the need to ensure that gender equality and the empowerment of women is at the center of the future development framework — fully integrated through a dedicated gender equality goal. Gender needs to be mainstreamed through all other goals, using gender-sensitive indicators and targets. The elimination of violence against women should be a component of a comprehensive gender equality goal in the post-2015 development framework.