Accelerating progress on implementation of gender equality commitments to meet the SDGs – FG Position Paper

FG Statement HLPF2023

In time for the UN HLPF 2023, the CPDE Feminist Group (FG) has released a position paper calling on accelerating progress on implementation of gender equality commitments to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Women’s rights and gender equality are not only fundamental human rights, but a vital foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Yet they remain the greatest human rights challenge. While governments have made appreciable gradual progress in advancing women’s rights and gender equality, structural inequalities persist in many countries, preventing the full achievement of women’s rights and gender equality. At the current rate of progress, it will take 131 years to reach full parity. While the global parity score has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the overall rate of change has slowed down significantly. Even reverting back to the time horizon of 100 years to parity projected in the 2020 edition would require a significant acceleration of progress[1].

The world’s crises do not impact equally, let alone fairly. The disproportionate impacts on women’s and girls’ rights are well-documented yet still neglected.  But the facts are evident. The disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women and girls, the overwhelming rollback on women’s rights in Afghanistan, the widespread sexual violence characterising the conflict in Ethiopia, attacks on abortion access in the US and Turkey’s withdrawal from the landmark Istanbul Convention on Gender Based Violence[2] – are part of push back on gains made on women’s rights and gender equality? The past two years – dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic – have impacted women and girls disproportionately.

Domestic violence has increased, job insecurity for women has worsened, access to sexual and reproductive health services has been eroded, girls’ enrolment in schools has reduced dramatically in many places. Those already the most marginalised have been impacted the hardest.

Countries, as a matter of urgency, must undertake institutional reforms to adjust to the needs of the women’s rights and gender equality agenda. The need to ensure local and country ownership is critical. Participation of women’s rights groups in reforming systems and legislation continues to be quite low in many countries of the world. Decisions taken by governments and authorities that have worsened the situation of women and girls, must be revoked.

Development Finance for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

The UN Women’s visualization data on countries efforts to achieve gender equality by 2030 shows that only 13% have either met or almost met the target; 24% close to target; 34% moderate to target; 15% far from target and 13% very far from target. UN Women noted that data availability on SDG5 is uneven, so is global progress and where data are missing, women and girls are invisible – only 48% of the data currently needed to monitor SDG5 are available. There is an urgent need to accelerate progress, else the entire global community will fail to achieve SDG5. Yet, resources required for acceleration is not available. Official Development Assistance (ODA) which is one of the major sources seem to be depleting as evidenced by the preliminary 2022 figures, which revealed significant redirection of ODA across Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members towards humanitarian response, reconstruction and refugee costs around the war in Ukraine, and away from developing countries.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are prerequisites to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Inasmuch as there is the urgent need for the OECD DAC to raise its ODA substantially, that is not enough. Making progress on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls as envisaged by the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, CEDAW, Global Acceleration Plan 2026 (GAP 2026) WPS agendas require policy coherence centered on human and women`s rights and putting ALL the resources available at the service of equality, justice and peace and development. This implies addressing real transformations on envisioning global solidarity, funding and delivering resources versus aid traditional model. In sum, the whole system must pull in the same direction for transformation as per the aspiration of the 2030 Agenda!!

The global donor community and international development partners must re-affirm their commitment to gender equality and achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) by dedicating sufficient resources towards this focus. Unless this deliberate and purposeful financing for gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment is realised, all efforts for transformational development, fighting inequalities and bridging the gender gaps will be pointless.

In 2016-2017 DAC members targeted an average of USD 44.8 billion per year, corresponding to 38% of their bilateral allocable aid, towards gender equality and women’s equality as either a significant (secondary) or principal (primary) objective. Support to programmes specifically dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment as their principal objective remains consistently low at 4%. 62% of aid is not targeting gender equality. In the economic and productive sectors, dedicated gender equality programming represented only 1% of total aid – a decrease from previous years.  Nine DAC members focused 50% or more of their aid on gender equality as either a principal or significant objective: Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Belgium and Italy[3].

Latest ODA figures reveal how donors continue to fall short on the 0.7% commitment. Only five Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) donor countries delivered: Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Denmark[4].  The numbers are expected to shrink even further given the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies around the world. Considering the pandemic, the CPDE Feminist Group (CPDE FG) re-emphasizes CPDE’s position on the urgency of effective development cooperation to aid efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and eradicate poverty and inequality. Achieving the future, we want depends on concrete actions now. We reiterate the call for development efforts that advance countries’ interests, focus on results, uphold transparency and accountability, encourage inclusive partnerships, and put primacy on human rights and enabling environment for civil society.

Even though Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) initiative begun globally in the 1990s and UN Women has been supporting and advocating for the initiative, only around 40 countries have adopted GRB. (

Despite civil society and women’s rights organisations being recognised in Doha as development actors in their own right and SDG 17 emphasising on partnership for the achievement of sustainable development, there are still challenges in the area of transparency, accountability, participation and inclusion of civil society and women`s organizations on government`s policy decision making on finance. Though women are recognised as one of the nine (9) major groups for sustainable development at the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, they are yet to be recognised fully at national level to participate in public finance management.

The Feminist Group of CSOs Partnership for Development’s (CPDE FG) analysis of Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports in 2022 revealed that while countries report on many of the indicators for SDG 5, only few reports on 5.c.1. Country reports on 5.c.1 only enumerate funds allocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment but fail to show systems that have been put in place to allow public tracking of such allocations to enhance transparency and accountability.


Call for Action – Key Asks

CPDE FG reiterates the need to integrate gender responsive budgeting into countries’ Public Financial Management and Financial Management Information System (FMIS) to ensure performance on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, so that no official feels it as an added burden; no person, group, community or gender feels left out as well as enable free access to information by the public. CPDE FG re-emphasises on its key asks for HLPF 2022. In addition, the public funds must be used in such a way that it does not perpetuate inequality and discrimination rather transform it.


Our Key Asks are:

  • Address underinvestment

Allocate funds, reform fiscal processes, capacitate staff, report to public annually, monitor:

  • More money and other resources – as follow up commitments on providing financial resources to women to be allocated from State budget, local budget, ODA, development funds, PPPs, private sector and other domestic resources.
  • Legal reforms on women’s rights and gender equality including earmarking quotas, increasing awareness on these needs and its correlation with overall sustainable development progress; capacity building, adoption of specific mechanism of accountability, advocacy within aid and development agenda and women’s rights.
  • Increase Accountability

Countries should be obligated to report on indicator 5.c.1 including reporting on gender equality as a cross cutting issue of all the SDGs:

  • To reduce inequalities in the world, SDG 5 and 10 should be reviewed in every HLPF. Since, it is not reviewed annually, most countries do not report on SDG 5.c.1. Countries may not be reporting on the progress of indicator 5.c.1 due to lack of data as it falls on tier II. Therefore, the UN should take necessary steps in encouraging countries to produce data regularly.
  • Close Communication Gap and Follow Up on Monitoring

Countries should introduce gender responsive public financing systems:

  • Allocate funds, reform fiscal processes, capacitate staff, report to public annually, adjust global indicator to national level and monitor.
  • Strengthen the DAC network on Gender Equality (GenderNet) to advocate for finance for transformative policy-change based on the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) which measures discrimination against women in social institutions across 180 countries.
  • Make women CSOs participation mandatory for 5.c.1 monitoring at the country level.


CPDE Feminist Group and the GPEDC

The CPDE Feminist Group participates through the CSOs global platform – CPDE in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) monitoring that uses the GPEDC Monitoring Framework[5] consisting of 10 indicators with indicator 8 on “Countries have transparent systems to track public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment”. The inclusion of an indicator on women and gender equality was as a result of intensive international women’s movement struggle over the years to widen development partners’ commitments and accountability on women’s rights and gender equality.

CPDE Feminist Group calls for stronger advocacy at the national level for monitoring, addressing challenges and reforming country systems to make commitments to women and girls fully transparent and accountable. By tracking and making public gender equality allocations, governments promote greater transparency which could result in better accountability.

CPDE Feminist Group calls for stronger advocacy at all levels for transformative financing for gender equality. Without just system of allocating public funds to reduce inequalities and discrimination, the aspiration of the 2030 Agenda – leaving no one behind will not be realized.

The CPDE is an open platform of civil society organisations (CSOs) around the world that is actively engaging with the official processes on the aid and development agenda. The platform aims to continuously promote effective development cooperation, especially in development cooperation and seeks the realization of human rights, social justice, and sustainability in development. The Feminist Group (FG) is one of the core constituencies of CPDE and has members from all regions of the world. The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) is the current Global Coordinator of CPDE Feminist Group.







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