Sunday, April 14, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 7/10

47. The Commission urges governments at all levels and as appropriate, with the relevant entities of the United Nations system and international and regional organizations, within their respective mandates and bearing in mind national priorities, and invites civil society, inter alia, women’s organizations, producer, agricultural and fisheries organizations, youth-led organizations, feminist groups, faith-based organizations, the private sector, national human rights institutions, where they exist, and other relevant stakeholders, as applicable, to take the following actions:

Strengthen normative, legal and policy frameworks 

a. Take action to fully implement existing commitments and obligations with respect to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms so as to improve their lives, livelihoods, and well-being;

b. Consider ratifying or acceding to, as a matter of particular priority, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Optional Protocols thereto, limit the extent of any reservations, formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible to ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Conventions, review their reservations regularly with a view to withdrawing them, withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the relevant Convention and implement the Conventions fully by, inter alia, putting in place effective national legislation and policies;

c. Ensure women’s full and equal participation including in institutions of governance and the judicial system, and secure their empowerment and full and equal access to justice;

d. Consider ratification of and, for those that have done so, implementation of the fundamental  conventions of the International Labour Organization, and note the importance of other relevant international labour standards, namely the Social Security Convention, 1952 (No. 102) the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), as well as the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204) of the International Labour Organization; and ILO Convention 189 on Decent work for Domestic Workers, in order to contribute to women’s access to social protection;

e. Refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries;

f. Ensure the right to social security in national legal frameworks, as well as ensure universal access to social protection, supported by national strategies, policies, action plans, and adequate resources, to enhance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

g. Adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach to the design, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure to ensure gender-responsive policymaking processes, including public financial management and public procurement processes are designed to realize gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

h. Ensure that social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure contribute to efforts to eliminate, prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spaces, through multisectoral and coordinated approaches to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of violence against women and girls and end impunity, and to provide protection and equal access to appropriate remedies and redress to comprehensive social, health and legal services for all victims and survivors to support their full recovery and reintegration into society including by providing access to psychosocial support and rehabilitation, access to affordable housing and employment, and bearing in mind the importance of all women and girls living free from violence, such as sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, domestic violence, gender-related killings, including femicide, as well as elder abuse; address the structural and underlying causes of violence against women and girls through enhanced prevention measures, research and strengthened coordination, monitoring and evaluation, by, inter alia, encouraging awareness-raising activities, including through publicizing the societal and economic costs of violence, and work with local communities;

i. Eliminate harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, which may have long-term effects on girls’ and women’s lives, health and bodies, including increased vulnerability to violence and sexually transmitted diseases and which continue to persist in all regions of the world despite the increase in national, regional and international efforts, including by empowering all women and girls, working with local communities to combat negative social norms that condone such practices and empowering parents and communities to abandon such practices, by confronting family poverty and social exclusion, and ensuring that girls and women at risk or affected by these practices have access to social protection and public services, including education and health care;

j. Devise, strengthen and implement comprehensive anti-trafficking strategies that integrate a human rights and sustainable development perspective, and enforce, as appropriate, legal frameworks, in a gender- and age-sensitive manner to combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in persons, raise public awareness of the issue of trafficking in persons, in particular women and girls; take measures to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to modern slavery and sexual exploitation, provide access, as applicable to protection and reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking in persons; strengthen cooperation among all relevant actors to identify and disrupt illicit financial flows stemming from trafficking in women and girls, while also recognizing the need to protect the confidentiality of personal data of victims; and enhance international cooperation, information sharing, legislative and other measures, to counter the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and girls;

k. Take all appropriate measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s and girls’ disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work by promoting the reconciliation of work and family life, equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, and men’s equitable sharing of responsibilities with respect to care and household work, including as fathers and caregivers, through flexibility in working arrangements without reductions in labour and social protections, support for breastfeeding mothers, the provision of infrastructure, technology and public services, such as water and sanitation, renewable energy, transport and information and communications technology, and the implementation and promotion of legislation and policies such as maternity, paternity, parental and other leave schemes, as well as accessible, affordable and quality social services, including child care and care facilities for children and other dependents and take steps to measure the value of this work in order to determine its contribution to the national economy, and challenge gender stereotypes and negative social norms in order to create an enabling environment for women’s empowerment;

l. Ensure access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions, and in this regard strengthen social protection schemes that promote, as appropriate, the economic, social and legal recognition of unpaid care and domestic work, and allow such work to be valued within contributory schemes;

m. Invest in and strengthen family-oriented policies and programmes that are responsive to the diverse, specific and changing needs of women and girls and their family, as well as address the imbalances, risks and barriers that they face in enjoying their rights and protect all family members against any form of violence, ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect and support women, including  in cases of widowhood, such as access to the full range of social services and access to justice, as those policies and programmes are important tools for, inter alia, fighting poverty, social exclusion and inequality, promoting work-family balance and gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity;

n. Fully engage men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change, and as strategic partners and allies in promoting women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure; eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against them, in both public and private spheres, by understanding and addressing the root causes of gender inequality, such as unequal power relations, gender stereotypes and practices that perpetuate discrimination against women and girls; designing and implementing national policies and programmes that address the roles and responsibilities of men and boys, including the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men in care and domestic work; ensuring the enforcement of child support laws; and transforming, with the aim of eliminating, negative social norms that condone violence against women and girls and attitudes by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys;

o. Integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation and evaluation of and follow-up to development policies, plans and programmes, including budget policies, where lacking, on social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, ensuring coordination between line ministries, gender policymakers, gender equality mechanisms and other relevant government organizations and institutions with gender expertise, and appropriate collaboration with the private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations  and national human rights institutions, where they exist, paying increased attention to the needs of women and girls to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes adopted in all spheres;

p. Guarantee the universal registration of births and ensure the timely registration of all marriages, including by removing physical, administrative, procedural and other barriers that impede access
to registration and by providing, where lacking, mechanisms for the registration of births and marriages, including customary and religious marriages, bearing in mind the vital importance of birth registration for the realization of the rights of individuals including the right to social security as well as access to public services;

q. Strengthen the capacity of national mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, at all levels, with sustainable and adequate funding, including through official development assistance, to support the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the design, delivery and evaluation of social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, enhancing their linkages and implementing these three focus areas;

r. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women and girls and implement targeted measures to address, inter alia, multiple and intersecting forms of  discrimination and ensure that all women and girls enjoy equal access, both in law and in practice, to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, which can, among others, contribute to the eradication of  poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty and, in particular, the feminization of poverty, and to the reduction of inequalities through the adoption, where needed, of laws and comprehensive policy measures and their effective and accelerated implementation and monitoring, ensuring women’s and girls’ access to justice and accountability for violations of their human rights; ensure that the provisions of multiple legal systems, where they exist, comply with international human rights obligations;

s. Promote and protect the rights of indigenous women and girls living in rural and remote areas by addressing  the  multiple  and  intersecting  forms  of  discrimination  and  barriers  they  face,  including violence,  ensuring  access  to  quality  and  inclusive  education,  health  care,  public  services,  economic resources, including land and natural resources, and women’s access to decent work, and promoting their meaningful participation in the economy and in decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas,  while  respecting  and  protecting  their  traditional  and  ancestral  knowledge,  recognizing  that indigenous  women  and  girls  living  in  rural  and  remote  areas, regardless of age, often face  violence and higher rates of poverty, limited access to health care services, information  and  communication  technologies  (ICT),  infrastructure,  financial  services,  education  and employment,   while   also   recognizing   their   cultural,   social,   economic,   political   and   environmental contributions, including to climate change mitigation and adaptation;

t. Promote and protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities, who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including by ensuring access, on an equal basis with others, to economic and financial resources and disability-inclusive and accessible social infrastructure, transportation, justice mechanisms and services, in particular in relation to health and education and productive employment and decent work for women with disabilities, as well as by ensuring that the priorities and rights of women and girls with disabilities are fully incorporated into policies and programmes, and that they are closely consulted and actively involved in decision-making processes;

u. Adopt national gender-responsive migration policies and legislation, in line with relevant obligations under international law, to protect the human rights of all migrant women and girls,
regardless of migration status; to recognize the skills and education of women migrant workers to promote their economic empowerment in all sectors and, as appropriate, facilitate their productive employment, decent work and integration into the labour force, including in the fields of education and science and technology; recognize the importance of protecting labour rights and a safe environment for women migrant workers and those in precarious employment including preventing and addressing abuse and exploitation, protecting women migrant workers in all sectors and promoting labour mobility; provide newly arrived migrant women with targeted, genderresponsive, child-sensitive, accessible and comprehensive information and legal guidance on their rights and obligations, including on compliance with national and local laws, obtaining of work and resident permits, status adjustments, registration with authorities, access to justice to file complaints about rights violations, as well as access to basic services; encourage cooperation among various stakeholders including countries of origin, transit and destination in ensuring that migrant women and girls have adequate  identification and the provision of relevant documents to facilitate access to social protection mechanisms; and facilitate the sustainable reintegration of returning migrant women and girls by providing them with equal access to social protection and services;

v. Take measures to adopt or develop legislations and policies that provide rural women’s access to land and support women’s cooperatives and agricultural programmes, including for subsistence agriculture and fisheries, in order to contribute to school feeding programmes as a pull factor to keep children, in particular girl children, in school, noting that school meals and take-home rations attract and retain children in schools and recognizing that school feeding is an incentive to enhance enrolment and reduce absenteeism, especially for girls;

w. Strengthen efforts to achieve universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, and provide HIV-sensitive social protection measures, including cash transfers and other multisectoral programmes, as appropriate, to ensure access to health-care, education, housing and employment for all women and girls, living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV and AIDS, including co-infections and other sexually transmitted infections; address their specific needs and concerns without stigma or discrimination, and promote the active and meaningful participation, contribution and leadership of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS in HIV and AIDS responses;

x. Promote the effective and meaningful participation of older women, where relevant, in the design and implementation of normative and political frameworks related to social security and social protection systems, public services and infrastructure that benefit them;

y. Promote access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure and mainstream a gender perspective when designing and monitoring public policies, and, taking into account the specific needs and realities of women and girls of African descent and bearing in mind the Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent;

z. Ensure that women and girls belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities have equal and non-discriminatory access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure, including quality education, and take steps to provide affordable child care and affordable transportation to and from work;

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