Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Bellagio Declaration. Preamble 1/3

The Bellagio Declaration on state obligation and role of the judiciary in ensuring access to justice for gender based violence, including sexual violence in an effective, competent manner and with a gender perspective

The participants at the International Judicial Colloquium on Women’s Access to Justice in the Context of Sexual Violence, held at Bellagio on 7 and 8 December 2017, adopted the following Conclusions and Recommendations. 

The participants recognised that gender-based violence against women and girls, including sexual violence is a form of discrimination and both a cause and consequence of inequality. They also noted with concern that such violence is growing in intensity in all regions and countries, both in its many longstanding manifestations as well in as newly emerging forms such as the prevalence of gender-based violence against women and girls in digital spaces and through the use of technology. They also raised concerns regarding the continuing impunity resulting from the failure of many justice systems to combat gender-based violence against women and girls and the failure of States to ensure that the justice system is capable of addressing it effectively.  

 The participants highlighted that sexual violence against women involves the violation of a range of human rights guaranteed to women and girls, including the right to life, bodily integrity, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, health (including sexual and reproductive health and rights), respect for private life, right to just and favourable conditions of work, and non-discrimination and equality
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Best Practices in Combatting Violence Against Women: Sweden. CONCLUSIONS 9/9

Sweden is a model country when it comes to women’s rights and in fighting men’s violence against women. The country has a strong history in upholding women’s rights exemplified by their feministic government, strong representation of women parliamentarians and developing legislation enhancing women’s rights. 

The national strategy to prevent and combat men’s violence against women is a priority for the Swedish government, thus the strategy itself is far reaching and inclusive. Prevention as a priority, rather than consequential action has required male participation to be necessary, a key aid in this gender based problem. By ensuring the strategy is well funded, and approaches root problems, Sweden has hopefully tackled this issue effectively. 

Shelters in Sweden are found up and down the country catering to different groups of women, and sometimes running on their own model. The importance of this lies in their effectiveness; they are capable of offering different services in terms of support, and also different funding models allowing for more inclusive services. While traditionally these shelters were only voluntary based, a positive shift in government involvement signals continued professional development. Based on Sweden’s history and the development of women’s shelters in Sweden it is likely while this trend continues, these organisations will nevertheless play a distinct role in both shaping policy and aiding victims. It could be said that the diversity observable in the shelters and organisations, in terms of structure and focal groups, is noteworthy.   

The challenges experienced by vulnerable persons are familiar with all nations. These groups present themselves to be practically difficult to manage due to either their status in law or the social context their group exists in. Importantly, Sweden appears to be aware of the issues raised in this analysis and has embarked upon training initiatives. The services available to women in these groups is observable both in the form of government action, and non-governmental organisations. Moreover, the fact that these services are free is instrumental, and often confidential in combatting men’s violence against women.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018


7.1 Undocumented Women 
 Undocumented migrants are one of the most vulnerable groups in Swedish society, moreover, due to their irregular status, such migrants are an under-researched group and are not included in the country’s Cause of Death Register (CDR).

In its resolution of 4 February 2014 on undocumented women migrants in the European Union (2013/2115(INI)), the European Parliament highlighted the following: 

“Migrant women are more vulnerable to physical abuse in general, but undocumented ones are even more so because their legal status puts them in such a position where they cannot reach to the police or hospitals or shelters for help and their abuser knows this and exploits this situation. Undocumented migrant women who find themselves in an abusive situation cannot even readily access women’s shelters. Most state-run women’s shelters require some form of identification in order to receive the person, so the victims are left with the awful choice between remaining in the abusive situation or becoming homeless.”

Over the years, Sweden has increased asylum seekers social rights.37 In Sweden, most survivors of domestic violence have access to support services regardless of immigration status, because access to welfare state services is based on residence within a municipality as opposed to a particular immigration status. However, the grey area is for undocumented migrants, as they are not covered by the benefits system because a residence permit and personal identification number are needed for registration with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Many shelters thus struggle to house undocumented survivors; the exact number of undocumented migrants in Sweden is not known.

The Swedish government-commissioned inquiry “to explore the incidence of violence, threats and violations affecting foreign women and their children who have been granted residence permits on the grounds of ties with a person resident in Sweden”.38 Even for documented migrants the seeking of support from abuse can be difficult when they rely on a partner for their legal status in the country. In the inquiry it was concluded that the probationary period exacerbates unequal power relationships in intimate relationships:

“The legislation means that it is the foreigner, and most often a woman, who alone bears the risk if the relationship ends during the first years, and moreover alone, or together with her child, must bear the consequences of violence. The person with whom an immigrant has ties, usually a man, is, on the other hand, able to make use of the legislation through his superior situation. Our investigations indicate that the number of men who systematically exploit the legislation is by no means small.”39 

The fear of deportation often traps undocumented women (along with those who are dependent upon their spouse’s visa), and clearly it is not uncommon for abusers to take advantage of their position. 

7.2 Transgender Women  
Transgender persons are especially exposed to different types of violence, including domestic violence and violence in close relationships. In the experience coming from the coalition of NGOs, it has been shown that transgender women face serious difficulties in accessing shelters or support centres due to their gender identity and/or expression. This further exposes them to violence, discrimination and exclusion.40

In Sweden, the Government has presented proposals to strengthen the protection of transgender people under criminal law. The legislative amendments would mean that transgender people would be afforded full protection under the hate crime legislation. In addition, if a motive for an offence was to violate a person or group of people based on gender identity or gender expression, this would constitute an aggravating circumstance. 

The Government has also proposed that 'transgender identity or expression' a basis for discrimination in the Discrimination Act be replaced with 'gender identity or gender expression'. Under the proposal, all individuals will be protected against discrimination regardless of how their gender identity or gender expression relates to what is perceived to be the norm. 

The legislative amendments should enter into force on 1 July 2018, except for the amendments to the provisions on agitation against a national or ethnic group in the Freedom of the Press Act and the Penal Code, which will enter into force on 1 January 2019.41 

Also, a number of women’s emergency shelters have embarked on training programmes that will enable them to deal with the special needs of LGBT women exposed to violence. The activities of the women’s shelters need to be expanded so that LGBT women can receive the help and assistance they require.42 

7.3 Islamic Women 
 Men’s violence against women in the context of Muslims is particularly difficult given the religious connotations of severing their faith while challenging gender-based violence. Muslim women felt a need to register a formal organization that acknowledged their experiences of linguistic and cultural misunderstandings as well as prejudicial treatment at “conventional” women’s centres. Thus, the Sisters Shelter Somaya shelter43 was established in 1998 in Stockholm by a group of women living in a suburb that had many inhabitants with Muslim and foreign backgrounds.

The founders were themselves Muslims: some immigrants, some converts to Islam. Many resented being met with the presumption that they needed to leave their religion and assimilate with the non-Muslim majority. One support worker said “A woman who comes to us does not want to get rid of God; she wants to get rid of her husband”. Somaya publicly declared itself to contribute with competence in the Swedish legal and welfare system as well as in various languages, including Swedish. Moreover, the organization affirmed that it offered a shelter where violence against women was not presented as a particularly “Muslim problem” rooted in Islam.
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Friday, May 25, 2018


6.1 Background  
Currently, three types of crime victim support organisations are available for abused women in Sweden:
1) women’s shelters and support centres for young women, 
2) crime victims support groups and 
3) municipal crisis centres.

Historically, organisations formed on a voluntary basis have borne the main responsibility for protecting women suffering from violence; while these organisations have some official employees they mainly rely on volunteers and are supported and supplemented by government grants/municipal reimbursement.26

Shelters are offered by the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters (Roks), and the Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (SKR). Both organisations’ mission is twofold, while directly protecting women suffering from domestic violence they also hold a position in politics, attempting to mould public policy. 

The Crime Victim Support Association (BOJ) purely focuses in providing individual support, and does not exclusively cater to women, and has around 100 local support groups. 

Subsequent to multiple amendments to the Services Act, there has been increasing involvement with municipal services. This has challenged the role of voluntary organisations, who have been criticised of having less knowledge in areas of law and psychology. Considering they are volunteer-based and not a government outlet, this seems natural. Optimistically, it has also signalled to some that “violence against women has achieved official recognition as a problem in Sweden, beyond the jurisdiction of the women’s movement”.

6.2 Roks, the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters 
Roks, the National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters in Sweden (Riksorganisation för kvinnojourer och tjejjourer in Sverige), is a feministic organisation working on the rights of women’s and young women's rights and liberation, as well as equality on all levels. It is the largest member organisation for women's shelters and young women's shelters in Sweden. Roks aims at safeguarding the common interests of the shelters in their work against male violence towards women. It also strives to shape public opinion and actively works to make the public aware of the reality that the shelters face. There are around 100 women’s and young women's shelters within the organisation. Most of the staff at the shelters are voluntary workers. In order to be accepted at a shelter one needs to attend a study circle arranged by the shelter.

6.2.1 The Women’s Shelters
 Each Women’s Shelter is independent and has its own working methods. They offer support based on the individual needs and wishes of each woman. This includes conversational support, giving advice on police reports or custody disputes and going along as support when visiting the police, lawyers and social services for example. Many shelters also offer sheltered housing for women and their children.
All shelters have an emergency helpline where women can call if the need support. Callers can choose to remain anonymous and no calls are registered. A number of shelters also have a separate legal hotline. Some shelters have text telephones to cater for women with impaired hearing. Other shelters specialize in receiving adults subjected to incest.

6.2.2 The Young Women's Shelters 
There are approximately  young women's shelters within Roks, out of which around ten are independent organisations. The young women's shelters work the same way as the women’s shelters but turn to younger women who, for example, have been subjected to threats, ill-treatment and sexual abuse, or, for some other reason, need to talk to another girl. They also actively work towards making the public aware of the girls’ living conditions.

6.3 The Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (SKR)
 The Swedish Association of Women’s Shelters and Young Women’s Empowerment Centres (Sveriges Kvinno- och Tjejjourers Riksförbund, SKR) works towards tackling men’s violence against women and providing them with support and empowering them. In line with the feministic values of Sweden, the SKR works on the ideology that gender equality must be addressed in many areas in society and discussed broadly in relation to men’s violence against women. The SKR is an association of women’s shelters (kvinnojour), young women’s empowerment centres (tjejjour), relatives’ associations and other organisations. While not officially affiliated with a political party, SKR works towards changing public policy in line with protecting women against violence.31

6.4 Crime Victim Support Association (BOJ)
 The Crime Victim Support Association (Brottsofferjourernas Riksförbund, BOJ) offers direct support for more than 40,000 people per year in a multilingual setting. It also operates on a voluntary basis and provides a free, confidential service for all victims of crime.32 BOJ offers emotional support, practical help, information services about filing police reports, investigations and legal proceedings and information in applying for crime victim compensation. Importantly, the services are not dependent on whether a crime has been officially reported.33 There are in total 60 BOJ local victim support centres around Sweden, designed to complement action by the public authorities.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018


5.1 Legislative Framework in Sweden to Combat Violence Against Women In Sweden, violence against women is regulated mainly in different chapters of the Penal Code (Brottsbalken). The Penal Code applies, in particular, to the following: 
 domestic violence,  
 sexual violence (including rape, sexual assault and harassment or stalking),  
 human trafficking,   
 cyber violence and harassment using new technologies, and   
 harmful practices, such as forced marriages.

There is no specific legislation on “honour” crimes but criminal acts in this context are covered by the Penal Code. However, there is a separate law on penalising female genital mutilation (FGM) (Lag (1982:316) med förbud mot könsstympning av kvinnor)21. It provides that FGM is considered a punishable crime in Sweden even if the act was committed in a country where it is not illegal. There is also a separate law on harassment and stalking (Lag (1988:688) om kontaktförbud).

5.2 National Strategy to Prevent and Combat Men’s Violence Against Women  Given the omniscient effect of gender in politics and government, it is unsurprising that stopping violence against women is a priority for the Swedish government. The National strategy to prevent and combat men’s violence against women came into force on the 1st of January 2017 for a ten-year period. It has four objectives:  
 increased and effective preventive work to combat violence; 
 improved detection of violence and stronger protection for and support to women and children subjected to violence; 
 more effective crime-fighting; and 
 improved knowledge and methodological development.  The strategy itself is far-reaching and inclusive of different aspects of violence against women (for example includes measures to combat violence in same-sex relationships as well as measures that counteract destructive masculinity and notions of honour. 
The participation of men is viewed as essential for this strategy. Prevention, rather than dealing with the consequences of violence against women, has been the government’s priority which requires a coordinated effort between all relevant actors at all levels. In doing so, the government has tackled key areas such as and breaking with the norms that justify violence, the purchase of sexual services and other restrictions on the freedom of action and life choices of women and girls. Improvements towards detection is also a very important factor.

Towards this strategy, the Swedish Government has allocated SEK 600 million to an action plan containing new measures for 2017–2020, in addition to SEK 300 million in development funds to municipalities and county councils.
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Statistics of Victims and Abusers in Sweden 5/9

 The Swedish Council for Crime Prevention (Brå)16 presented a new report on 27 March 2018, which highlights crime trends up until the year 2015 (it does not include figures from 2016, which are still preliminary).

It notes that the number of women killed by a current or previous partner has gone down by almost 20 % since the early 2000s. In 2008–2013, an average of 13 women died every year as a result of domestic violence; down from an average of 17 in the first decade of the new millennium and the 1990s, according to Brå.

The average offender in 2000–2013 was aged 32 and the average victim 39. Around 60 % of offenders and almost a third of victims were unemployed or receiving some kind of jobless benefits in 2002–2013. "People involved in deadly violence to a large extent belong to socio-economically disadvantaged groups," reads Brå's report.

Since 2000, a suspect has been sentenced in around 80 % of all cases of deadly violence, or died before conviction (but confirmed as the likely perpetrator). The majority of those sentenced were found guilty of murder, rather than manslaughter.

In the early 1990s, less than half were convicted of murder, compared to almost 80 % in 2009–2013, a rise attributed to an increase in gang conflicts rather than, for example, domestic violence.

In 2015, it was reported that around 5% of men aged 16–24 fear attack or assault, compared to around 7% of 25–44 years old. This compares to around 27% of women aged 16-24 years old, and 15% of 22–44 years old.

In their overall lifetime, 25% of women were subject to a crime in a close relationship, with around 24% experiencing psychological violence, and 15% experiencing physical violence. The Council noted that gross violation of a woman’s integrity concerns violence against women in close relationships who experience repeated violations. In 2015, 1,844 cases were reported yet it was acknowledged that many crimes go under the radar due to lack of reporting. It was indicated by the 2015 National Crime Survey that 26% of crimes were actually reported, with the highest willingness to report arising from gross assault (64%) and the lowest for sexual offences (8%).

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Saturday, May 19, 2018


4.1 Violence Against Women in Europe According to the 2014 survey by the European Union Agency for Human Rights (FRA) for which more than 42,000 women were interviewed,14 the scale of physical, sexual and psychological violence against women is still shockingly high in Europe: 

Table 2 FRA   survey (2014) – experiencing violence  
1. 62 million women in the EU have experienced violence since the age of 15
  1 in 3 women has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual assault since the age of 15, translating into 62 million women throughout the EU. 
 About 13 million women in the EU experienced physical violence in the 12 months prior to the survey interviews. This corresponds to 7% of women aged 18–74 in the EU. 
 About 3.7 million women in the EU experienced sexual violence in the 12 months prior to the survey interviews. This corresponds to 2% of women aged 18–74 in the EU.

 2. Women experiencing physical and sexual violence from their partner or former partner 
 1 in 5 (22%) of all women who is or has been in a relationship has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from the partner. 
 Of the women who indicate they have been raped by their current partner, about one third (31%) say they have experienced six or more incidents of rape by their partner. 

3. Violence does not stop in pregnancy and continues after separation 
 Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to violence: 42% experienced violence from their previous partner while pregnant (FRA 2014a:22).  
 After breaking up with a violent partner, 1 in 6 women continued to be victimised by their former partner. 
 1 in 10 women has been stalked by a former partner. Source :

The EU average for women experiencing physical or psychological violence in 2014 was 33 %, with Denmark (52 %), Finland (47 %) and Sweden (46 %) being on the top of the list.  However, the FRA survey also suggests that the higher level of gender equality could also lead to higher levels of disclosure about violence against women: "Incidents of violence against women are more likely to be openly addressed and challenged in societies with greater equality”. Bra has also indicated the Swedish system for recording each individual rape as a single offence (even if it regards the same people in the same year) contributes to the high number of reports.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018


3.1 Economic and Political Power In terms of the entire labour market, women earn 87 % of what men earn, when all pay is recalculated to full-time. Pay differentials are most pronounced in the county councils. The smallest difference is among blue-collar workers. According to Statistics Sweden’s bi-annual report on gender equality, published in 2016, only 6 % of CEO positions in listed companies were filled by women, and 5 % of board chairpersons and 29 % of board members were women. Across private and public sectors, the report showed that 37 % of managers were women, compared with 62 % for the public sector.9

Despite robust laws in place for male child care, in reality, many women work part-time along with carrying the main responsibilities for child-care which can have an adverse effect on women reaching top level positions. In 2016, Statistics Sweden detailed that women still take over 80 % of given parental leave days. In light of the fact that more women than men work part-time, take longer parental leave and care for sick children, the differences between women's and men's annual income becomes even higher: women earn 81 % of what men earn. When working life comes to an end, women receive on average 67 % of what men receive in pension funds.

3.2 Participation in Decision-Making Sweden has one of the world’s highest representations of women in parliament. After the 2014 elections, 43.6 % (152) of the 349 seats were allocated to women. At present, in total 12 of the 23 government ministers are women.11 It has been suggested there has been a knock-on effect in Swedish politics in regards to women gaining seats in political

Several institutional, socio-economic and cultural factors factors might have contributed to the development of women’s representation in Sweden. Moreover, “the system of proportional representation (party list system) coupled with the early development of the Swedish welfare system, women’s opportunity to study and gain employment, low fertility levels and secular/protestant religious affiliation are of great importance explaining the high level of women in Swedish parliament.”13 Despite this, Sweden remains the only country in Scandinavia which has not seen a female Head of State. 

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018


2.1. Gender Mainstreaming as the Main Strategy to Achieve Equality 

In Sweden, gender mainstreaming is seen as the main strategy for achieving targets within equality policy. In recent years, to strengthen the gender mainstreaming work in municipalities, county councils, regions, county administrative boards, academia and other public domains, the Swedish government has handed out various assignments gathering experiences and developing knowledge and methods for the ongoing gender equality work. The use of gender mainstreaming as a strategy to reach the goals declared for Swedish gender equality policy dates back to 1994. According to the strategy, gender equality work must be integrated into the regular operations and not merely be dealt with as a separate, parallel track. For the work to have an impact and in order to reach the national gender equality goals, the organisation must systematically highlight and analyse the impacts of various proposals and decisions for women and men, respectively. The resulting knowledge shall in a next stage inform the design of the planning, implementation, follow-up and development at all levels of all public operations.4

2.1.1. The Gender Equality Agency 
The Swedish Government has commissioned the Gender Equality Agency to support 58 government agencies and one organisation with the work of integrating a gender perspective in all of their operations, in the context of the so-called “Gender Mainstreaming in Government Agencies (GMGA) programme”. Up until January 2018 the assignment was commissioned to the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.

The support provided by the Gender Equality Agency to the government agencies is offered in both the planning and implementation phases of the agencies’ development work. The programme includes, in particular, training activities, identifying and disseminating best practices and documenting the results of the agencies’ work.6

2.1.2. The Equality Ombudsman
 The Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO) is a government agency combatting discrimination and protecting equal rights and opportunities for everyone. The Equality Ombudsman reviews gender equality situations related, for example, to workplaces or educational institutions and oversees their compliance with the Discrimination Act which prohibits discrimination related to gender, transgender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability or age. 

2.1.3. The Minister for Gender Equality 
Within the Swedish Government, the Minister for Gender Equality is ultimately responsible for gender equality issues. On International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018, Lena Hallengren was appointed as the new Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality of Sweden. A new minister was needed, as on 7 March 2018, the United Nations SecretaryGeneral António Guterres appointed Ăsa Regnér, the previous Swedish Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, as Deputy Executive Director of UN Women with
responsibility for intergovernmental relations and strategic partnerships, as well as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations.

2.1.4. A Feminist Government 
On its website, the Swedish Government presents itself as “the first feminist government in the world”. The Government also highlights that gender equality is central to its priorities, both in decision-making and resource allocation: “A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice. Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state – for justice and economic development. The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which genderresponsive budgeting is an important component.”
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Exploring Best Practices in Combatting Violence Against Women: Sweden 1/9

Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union (EU), located in Northern Europe. In January 2018, Sweden had a population of 10 128 320, with an increase of 1,2  % compared with the same period previous year. The increase is partly due to the fact that many foreign citizens have been granted Swedish citizenship in the past two years: in 2017, in total 68 898 persons from over 160 countries became Swedish citizens, which represents an increase of 14 % compared with the previous record in 2016. Syrian citizens were the largest group to be granted Swedish citizenship: in 2017, Swedish citizenship was granted to 8 635 Syrian citizens which is nearly twice as many as in the previous year.

In Sweden, politics take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Executive power is exercised by the government, led by the Prime Minister. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament, elected within a multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent, appointed by the government and employed until retirement. The current democratic regime is a product of a stable development of successively added democratic institutions introduced during the 19th century up to 1921, when also women's suffrage was introduced. 

Sweden is well known for progressive gender politics and an advanced welfare system. The Scandinavian nation is a forerunner of gender equality driven by both an intellectual and practical feminist movement. By the mid-19th century women were given compulsory primary education, and at the start of the 20th century, social change in the realm of gender equality and work life gained traction, with gender neutral language to public offices applications among other accomplishments. By 1921, women had received the vote and present day Sweden consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for gender equality.
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Friday, May 11, 2018

CSW62 (2018) Agreed conclusions 10/10

Strengthen the collective voice, leadership and decision-making 

jjj. Ensure that the perspectives of all rural women and girls are taken into account, and that women, and girls as appropriate, fully and equally participate in the design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation of policies and activities that affect their livelihoods, well-being and resilience, and that women and their organizations, and girl- and youth-led organizations,  are fully, safely and actively able to participate in the decision-making, policies and institutions at all levels, including by promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, the right to vote and to be elected as provided by law, as well as to participate in local and self-governing bodies such as community and village councils, and in political parties and other organizations;

kkk. Mainstream a gender perspective in decision-making processes and the management of natural resources, inter alia, in land, forestry, fisheries, marine and water management bodies, as well as in planning relating to rural infrastructure and services, transportation and energy, leveraging the participation and influence of women in managing the sustainable use of natural resources;    lll. Protect and promote the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and collective bargaining so as to enable rural women workers and entrepreneurs to organize and join unions, cooperatives and business associations, while recognizing that those legal entities are created, modified and dissolved in accordance with national law and taking into account each State’s international legal obligations;    mmm. Ensure that the perspectives of rural women, and girls as appropriate, in armed conflict and post-conflict situations and in humanitarian emergencies are taken into account and that they effectively and meaningfully participate, on equal terms  with men, in the design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation of policies and activities related to conflict prevention, peace mediation, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, as well as take into account the perspective of women and girls who are internally displaced and refugees; and ensure that the human rights of all rural women and girls are fully respected and protected in all response, recovery and reconstruction strategies and appropriate measures are taken to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against rural women and girls in this regard;    nnn. Ensure that women affected by natural disasters, including those caused by the adverse impacts of climate change, are empowered to effectively and meaningfully participate, on equal terms with men, in leadership and decision-making processes in this regard; 
ooo. Support the effective participation, decision-making and leadership of rural women in enterprises, farmer and fisher organizations, producer cooperatives, trade unions, civil society and other relevant organizations ensuring a safe and enabling environment, and provide support for those organizations, including by investing in programmes that provide opportunities for rural women and girls to exercise their voice, agency and leadership; 

ppp. Develop and implement policies and strategies that promote rural women’s and girls’ participation in and access to the media and information and communications technologies (ICTs), including by increasing their digital literacy and access to information;    qqq. Recognize the important role the media can play in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls, including through non‑discriminatory and gender-sensitive coverage and by eliminating gender stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements, and encourage training for those who work in the media and the development and strengthening of self-regulatory mechanisms to promote balanced and non‑stereotypical portrayals of women and girls, which contribute to the empowerment of women and girls and the elimination of discrimination against and exploitation of women and girls; 
rrr. Support the important role of civil society actors in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of rural women; take steps to protect them, including women human rights defenders, and to integrate a gender perspective into creating a safe and enabling environment for the defense of human rights and to prevent violations and abuses against them in rural areas, inter alia, threats, harassment and violence, in particular on issues relating to labour rights, environment, land and natural resources; and combat impunity by taking steps to ensure that violations or abuses are promptly and impartially investigated and that those responsible are held accountable;

sss. Fully engage men and boys to take an active part in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, including those in rural areas, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls both in public and private spheres; design and implement national policies and programmes that address the role and responsibility of men and boys and aim to ensure equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men in caregiving and domestic work; transform with the aim to eliminate those social norms that condone violence against women and girls, and attitudes and social norms by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys, including by understanding and addressing the root causes of gender inequality such as unequal power relations, social norms, practices and stereotypes that perpetuate discrimination against women and girls; and engage them in efforts to promote and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls for the benefit of both women and men, girls and boys.
  47. The Commission recognizes its primary role for the follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which its work is grounded, and stresses that it is critical to address and integrate gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls throughout national, regional and global reviews of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to ensure synergies between the follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender-responsive follow-up to the 2030 Agenda.    48. The Commission calls upon Governments to strengthen, as appropriate, the authority and capacity of national mechanisms for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, at all levels, which should be placed at the highest possible level of government, with sufficient funding, and to mainstream a gender perspective across all relevant national and local institutions, including labour, economic and financial government agencies, in order to ensure that national planning, decision-making, policy formulation and implementation, budgeting processes and institutional structures contribute to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, including in rural areas.

49. The Commission calls upon the United Nations system entities, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme, within their respective mandates, and relevant international financial institutions and multi-stakeholder platforms to support Member States, upon their request, in their efforts to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls.

50. The Commission encourages the international community to enhance international cooperation and to devote resources to developing rural areas and sustainable agriculture and fisheries and to supporting smallholder farmers, especially women farmers, herders and fishers in developing countries, particularly in the least developed countries.    51. The Commission recalls General Assembly resolution 72/181 and encourages the secretariat to continue its consideration of how to enhance the participation, including at the sixty-third session of the Commission, of national human rights institutions that are fully compliant with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), where they exist, in compliance with the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.    52. The Commission calls upon UN-Women to continue to play a central role in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and in supporting Governments and national women’s machineries, upon their request, in coordinating the United Nations system and in mobilizing civil society, the private sector, employers’ organizations and trade unions and other relevant stakeholders, at all levels, in support of the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.   

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

CSW62 (2018) Agreed conclusions 9/10

Implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all rural women and girls

m. Design, implement and pursue gender-responsive economic and social policies that aim to, inter alia, eradicate poverty, including in rural areas, and combat feminization of poverty, ensure the full and equal participation of rural women in the development, implementation and follow-up of development policies and programmes and poverty eradication strategies, support increased rural employment and decent work, and promote the participation of women at all levels and sectors of the rural economy and in diverse on-farm and off-farm economic activities, including sustainable agricultural and fisheries production;

n. Pursue macro-economic policies that support diverse economic activities, including smallholder agricultural production and the food security and nutrition of all rural women and girls and their communities by fostering the positive and mitigating the negative impact of international investment and trade rules;

o. Emphasize the need for business enterprises, including transnational corporations and others, to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for human rights abuses by their operations, products or services on the wellbeing of women and girls in rural areas and provide for or cooperate in their remediation;    p. Design and implement and pursue fiscal policies that, inter alia, promote gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls, inter alia, by facilitating greater access to social protection and financial and business services, including credit, for women in rural areas, in particular women heads of households;

q. 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;    r. Mainstream a gender perspective, and include sustainable agricultural and fisheries development issues, in national agricultural and rural development policies, strategies, plans and programmes, enabling rural women to act and be visible as stakeholders, decision makers and beneficiaries, taking into account the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication;    s. Strengthen and support the critical role and contributions of rural women, including women farmers and fishers and farm workers, to enhancing sustainable agricultural and rural development, eradicating poverty, achieving food security and improved nutrition and the economic well-being of their families and communities; ensure their equal access to agricultural technologies that are affordable, durable, sustainable and accessible to women farmers and fishers, through investment, the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms,  and  support research and development and integrated and multisectoral policies to improve their productive capacity and incomes, strengthen their resilience, and address the existing gaps in and barriers to trading their products in national, regional and international markets;

t. Strengthen national, regional and international efforts, as appropriate, to enhance the capacity of developing countries to support rural women farmers, including smallholder farmers, and those in subsistence farming and fisheries, horticulture and livestock to achieve food security and improved nutrition, including through appropriate mechanization in agriculture, sustainable agricultural practices,and education and training on vaccination and management techniques and public and private investment to close the gender gap in agriculture and facilitate rural women’s access to extension and financial services, agricultural inputs, land, water and irrigation;    u. Strengthen sustainable production and consumption patterns, including family farming, respecting and protecting traditional and ancestral knowledge and practices of rural women in particular the preservation, production, use and exchange of endemic and native seeds, and supporting alternatives to the heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides harmful to the health of rural women and girls and their communities;

v. Invest in and strengthen efforts to empower rural women as important actors in achieving food security and improved nutrition,  ensuring that their right to food is met, including by supporting rural women’s participation in all areas of economic activity, including commercial and artisan fisheries and aquaculture, promoting decent working conditions and personal security, facilitating sustainable access to and use of critical rural infrastructure, land, water and natural resources, and local, regional and global markets, and valuing rural women’s, including indigenous women’s, traditional and ancestral knowledge and contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and marine biodiversity, for present and future generations;    w. Ensure integrated food and nutritional support for rural women and girls, including those who are pregnant and breast-feeding, and their access at all times to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food requirements for an active and healthy life;    x. Invest in provision of and access to quality, resilient and gender responsive infrastructure and time- and labour-saving technologies, information and communication technologies (ICTs), safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, and safe drinking water and sanitation for all, including through technology transfer on mutually agreed terms, to improve the lives, livelihoods and wellbeing of all rural women and girls;

y. Promote women’s leadership and their full, effective and equal participation in decision-making on water and sanitation and household energy management and to ensure that a gender-based approach is adopted in relation to water and sanitation and energy programmes, through measures, inter alia, to reduce the time spent by women and girls in collecting household water and fuel, and to address the negative impact of inadequate water and sanitation and energy services on the access of girls to education as well as to protect women and girls from being physically threatened or assaulted and from sexual violence while collecting household water  and fuel and when accessing sanitation facilities outside of their home or practising open defecation; 
 z. Commit to encourage urban-rural interactions and connectivity and eliminate geographic and territorial disparities by strengthening gender-responsive sustainable and affordable transport and mobility, technology and communication networks and infrastructure, underpinned by planning instruments with a gender perspective, based on an integrated urban and territorial approach that maximizes the potential of these sectors for enhanced productivity, social, economic, and territorial cohesion, as well as safety and environmental sustainability; 

aa. Optimize fiscal expenditures to extend social protection coverage to all rural women and girls and establish nationally appropriate social protection floors to ensure access to social protection, without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to ensure sustainable, long-term financial support for social protection systems and make information on social protection measures and benefits widely available and accessible to all rural women and girls bearing in mind that social protection policies play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality and supporting inclusive growth and contribute to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, including those living in rural areas; 

bb. Protect and promote the right to work and rights at work of all rural women in both agricultural and non-agricultural employment, taking into consideration international labour standards and national labour laws, including by setting wages that allow for an adequate standard of living, implementing policies and enforcing regulations that promote decent work and uphold the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, and taking measures to address gender-based discrimination, occupational segregation, the gender pay gap and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions;

cc. Promote the economic empowerment of rural women and the transition of rural women from the informal to the formal economy by improving their skills, productivity and employment opportunities including through technical, agricultural, fisheries and vocational training, including their financial and digital literacy and facilitate the entry and re-entry of all rural women, especially young women, into the labour force;    dd. Encourage and facilitate rural women’s entrepreneurship and expand opportunities for their enterprises, cooperatives and self-help groups, to diversify and increase  their productivity by engaging in sustainable agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, including mariculture, cultural and creative industries and other areas of economic activity, and improving access to financing and investment, technology and infrastructure, training and diverse markets;

ee. Increase trade and procurement from rural women’s enterprises, cooperatives and women-owned businesses,  by building the capacities and skills of rural women, especially young women, to benefit from public and private sector procurement processes, including public food programmes, and fostering their access to local, national and international value chains and markets; 

ff. Take measures to facilitate the financial inclusion and financial literacy of rural women and their equal access to formal financial services, including timely and affordable credit, loans, savings, insurance, and remittance transfer schemes, integrate a gender perspective in finance sector policy and regulations, in accordance with national priorities and legislation, encourage financial institutions, such as commercial banks, development banks, agricultural banks, micro-finance institutions, mobile network operators, agent networks, cooperatives, postal banks and saving banks, to provide access to financial products, services and information to rural women, and encourage the use of innovative tools and platforms, including online and mobile banking; 

gg. Recognize, reduce and redistribute rural women and girls disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work, as well as contributions to on-farm and off-farm production, by promoting policies and initiatives supporting the reconciliation of work and family life and the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, through flexibility in working arrangements without reductions in labour and social protections, and through the provision of infrastructure, technology and public services, such as water and sanitation, renewable energy, transport and information and communications technology, as well as accessible, affordable and quality childcare and care facilities and maternity, paternity or parental leave and by challenging gender stereotypes and negative social norms and facilitating men’s increased participation in unpaid care and domestic work and family responsibilities, including as fathers and caregivers; 

hh. Take steps to measure the value of unpaid care and domestic work in order to determine its contribution to the national economy, for example through periodic time-use surveys, and include such measurements in statistics as well as in the formulation of gender-responsive economic and social policies;    ii. Invest in and strengthen family-oriented policies and programmes in rural areas that provide the necessary support and protection and are responsive to the diverse, specific and changing needs of rural 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; as these 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 rural women and girls and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity;

jj. Promote and respect women’s and girls’ right to education at all levels, throughout the life cycle, including women and girls living in rural areas and those who have been left furthest behind, by providing universal access to quality education, and free and compulsory primary and secondary education, ensuring inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory quality education, promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, eliminating female illiteracy, and striving to ensure the completion of early childhood, primary,  and secondary education and expanding vocational and technical education for rural women and girls; and foster, as appropriate, intercultural and multilingual education for all; 
kk. Eliminate gender disparities and commit to scale up financing and investments in public education systems to fulfill the right to education for women and girls in rural areas by addressing gender-based discrimination, negative social norms and gender stereotypes in education systems, including in curricula, textbooks and teaching methodologies; combat gender norms that devalue girls’ education and prevent women and girls from accessing education; provide inclusive, safe, non-violent and accessible schools with gender- and disability-sensitive infrastructure, including lighting, and safe, accessible and affordable transportation to school; maintain separate and adequate sanitation facilities; train, recruit and retain qualified teachers in rural areas, especially women teachers where they are underrepresented; support rural women and girls with disabilities at all levels of education and training; ensure that rural women and girls have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, and promote an effective transition from education or unemployment to decent work and active participation in public life;

ll. Take steps to promote educational and health practices in order to foster a culture in which menstruation is recognized as healthy and natural, and girls are not stigmatised on this basis, recognising that girls’ attendance at school can be affected by negative perceptions of menstruation and lack of means to maintain safe personal hygiene, such as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools that meet the needs of girls; 

mm. Ensure that pregnant adolescents and young mothers, as well as single mothers, can continue and complete their education, and in this regard, design, implement and, where applicable, revise educational policies to allow them to remain in and return to school, providing them with access to health-care and social services and support, including childcare and breastfeeding facilities and crèches, and to education programmes with accessible locations, flexible schedules and distance education, including e-learning, and bearing in mind the important role and responsibilities of, and challenges faced by, fathers, including young fathers, in this regard; 

nn. Intensify efforts to prevent and eliminate violence and sexual harassment against girls at, and on the way to, school, including, inter alia, by implementing effective violence prevention and response activities in schools and communities, engaging men and boys, educating children from a young age regarding the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, designing educational
programmes and teaching materials that support gender equality, respectful relationships and nonviolent behaviour;

oo. Develop policies and programmes with the support, where appropriate, of international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations, giving priority to formal, informal and non-formal education programmes, including scientifically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive education, relevant to cultural contexts, that provides adolescent girls and boys and young women and men in and out of school, consistent with their evolving capacities, and with appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians, with the best interests of the child as their basic concern, information on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, physical, psychological and pubertal development and power in relationships between women and men, to enable them to build self-esteem and informed decision-making, communication and risk reduction skills and to develop respectful relationships, in full partnership with young persons, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, educators and health-care providers, in order to, inter alia, enable them to protect themselves from HIV infection and other risks;

pp. Address the digital divide, which disproportionately affects rural women and girls, by facilitating their access to ICT and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to promote their empowerment and to develop skills, information and knowledge that are needed to support their labour market entry, livelihoods, well-being and resilience and expand the scope of ICTenabled mobile learning and literacy training while promoting a safe and secure cyberspace for women and girls;   
qq. Strengthen measures, including resource generation, to improve women’s health, including maternal health, by addressing the specific health, nutrition and basic needs of rural women and taking concrete measures to realize the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health for women of all ages in rural areas, as well as quality, affordable, available and universally accessible primary health care and support services; 
rr. Increase financial investments in quality, affordable and accessible health-care systems and facilities and safe, effective, quality, essential, and affordable medicines and vaccines for all and health technologies, including through community outreach and private sector engagement, and with the support of the international community, towards achieving each country’s path towards universal health coverage for all rural women and girls; 
ss. Increase investments in a more effective and socially accountable health workforce and address the shortage and inequitable distribution of doctors, surgeons, midwives, nurses and other healthcare workers in rural areas, by promoting decent work with adequate remuneration and incentives to secure the presence in rural and remote areas of qualified health-care professionals, enabling safe working environments and conditions, and expanding rural and community-based health education and training and strengthening education for health professionals; 
 tt. Take measures to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, as well as neonatal, infant and child mortality and morbidity,  in rural areas and increase access to quality health care before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth to all rural women and girls through interventions such as training and equipping community health workers, nurses, midwives, to provide basic pre- and post-natal care and emergency obstetric care, inter alia, by providing voluntary, informed family planning and empowering women and communities to identify risk factors and complications of pregnancy and childbirth and facilitate access to health facilities; 

uu. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes, and recognizing that the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on all matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, as a contribution to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and the realization of their human rights;

vv. Intensify national and international efforts to improve public health, strengthen health care systems, and increase the availability of motivated, well-trained and appropriately equipped health professionals and health workers, as well as access to health facilities, including access to diagnosis services, and for the prevention, treatment and care of non-communicable and communicable diseases, as well as neglected tropical diseases, by integrating gender-based approaches for the prevention and control of diseases based on data disaggregated by sex, age and other characteristics relevant in national contexts; 

ww. Strengthen efforts to achieve universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support for all women and girls, including those living in rural areas, living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV and AIDS, including co-infections and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and 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 rural and remote areas in HIV and AIDS responses;

 xx. 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 and enhance international cooperation, inter alia, to counter, with a view to eliminating, the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and forced labour; 

yy. Strengthen and build the resilience and adaptive capacity of all rural women and girls to respond to and recover from economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters, humanitarian emergencies and adverse impacts of climate change, natural disasters and extreme weather events by providing essential infrastructure, services, appropriate financing, technology, and social protection, humanitarian relief, forecast and early warning systems, and decent work for women; 

zz. Develop and adopt gender-responsive strategies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change to support the resilience and adaptive capacities of women and girls to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change, through, inter alia, the promotion of their health and well-being, as well as access to sustainable livelihoods, and the provision of adequate resources to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making at all levels on environmental issues, in particular on strategies and policies related to the adverse impacts of climate change, and ensuring the integration of their specific needs into humanitarian responses to natural disasters, into the planning, delivery and monitoring of disaster risk reduction policies and into sustainable natural resources management;

aaa. 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, and noting the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for indigenous women and girls; 

bbb. Promote and protect the rights of older women in rural areas by ensuring their equal access to social, legal, and financial services, infrastructure, health care, social protection, and economic resources and their full and equal participation in decision making; 

ccc. Promote and protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities in rural areas, 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; 

ddd. Promote and protect the rights of Afro-descendant rural women and girls, including, where applicable the recognition of their lands and territories, and mainstream a gender perspective when designing and monitoring public policies, taking into account the specific needs and realities of rural women and girls of African descent;    eee. Strengthen the capacity of national statistical offices and other relevant government institutions to collect, analyse and disseminate data, disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, and gender statistics, to support policies and actions to improve the situation of rural women and girls, and to monitor and track the implementation of such policies and actions, and enhance partnerships and the mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance to enable developing countries to systematically design, collect and ensure access to highquality, reliable and timely disaggregated data and gender statistics;

fff.  Promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by reaffirming the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, pursuing policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors and reinvigorating the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development;

ggg. Take steps to significantly increase investment to close resource gaps, including through the mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including public, private, domestic and international resource mobilization and allocation, including by enhancing revenue administration through modernized, progressive tax systems, improved tax policy, more efficient tax collection, and increased priority on gender equality and the empowerment of women in official development assistance to build on progress achieved, and ensure that official development assistance is used effectively to accelerate the achievement of of gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;

hhh. Urge developed countries to fully implement their respective official development assistance commitments, including the commitment made by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to developing countries and the target of 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to the least developed countries, and encourage developing countries to build on the progress achieved in ensuring that official development assistance is used effectively to help meet development goals and targets and help them, inter alia, to achieve gender equality the empowerment of rural women and girls; 

iii. Strengthen international cooperation, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation, and invite all States to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation focusing on shared development priorities, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in government, civil society and the private sector, while noting that national ownership and leadership in this regard are indispensable for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls;

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Monday, May 7, 2018

CSW62 (2018) Agreed conclusions 8/10

46. The Commission urges Governments at all levels and as appropriate, with the relevant entities of theUnited 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, including rural 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 wellbeing;
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. Design and implement national policies and legal frameworks that promote and protect the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all women and girls, including those living in rural areas, and create an environment that does not tolerate violations or abuses of their rights, including those involving domestic violence, sexual violence and all other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination; 
d. Enact legislation and undertake reforms to realize the equal rights of women and men, and where applicable girls and boys, to access natural resources and economic and productive resources, including access to, use of, ownership of and control over land, property and inheritance rights, including in diverse types of land tenure, appropriate new technology and financial services, including credit, banking and finance, including but not limited to microfinance, as well as equal access to justice and legal assistance in this regard, and ensure women’s legal capacity and equal rights with men to conclude contracts;

e. Enact legislation to promote women's, including rural women’s, land registration and land title certification, regardless of their marital status, and address practices and stereotypes that undermine their land rights, including in the context of customary and traditional systems, which often govern land management, administration and transfer in rural areas; 
f. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women and girls, including in rural areas, and implement targeted measures to address, inter alia, the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, and the marginalization they face,  through the development, where needed, and adoption of laws and comprehensive policy measures, their effective and accelerated implementation and monitoring, and the removal, where they exist, of discriminatory provisions in legal frameworks, including punitive provisions, and setting up legal, policy, administrative and other comprehensive measures, including temporary special measures as appropriate, to ensure women’s and girls’ equal and effective access to justice and accountability for violations of the human rights of women and girls, and ensure that the provisions of multiple legal systems, where they exist, comply with international human rights obligations;
g. Eliminate, prevent and respond to all forms of violence against rural women and girls in public and private spaces, through multisectoral and coordinated approaches to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of violence against rural women and girls and end impunity, and to provide protection as well as 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, domestic violence, gender-related killings, including femicide, as well as elder abuse, as well as of addressing 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; 
h. Eliminate harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, which affect women and girls in rural areas disproportionately and may have long-term effects on girls’ and women’s lives, health and bodies, 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 which condone such practices and empowering parents and communities to abandon them; 
 i.  Pursue, by effective means, programmes and strategies for preventing and eliminating sexual harassment against all women and girls, including harassment in the workplace and in schools, and cyber bullying and cyber stalking, including in rural areas, with an emphasis on effective legal, preventive and protective measures for victims of sexual harassment or those who are at risk of sexual harassment; 
j. 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, ensuring coordination between line ministries, gender policymakers, gender machineries 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, and paying increased attention to the needs of rural women and girls to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes adopted in all spheres and that the disproportionate number of rural women living in poverty is reduced; 

k. Eliminate barriers and afford equal and effective access by all rural woman and girls to justice, legal remedies and legal support by, inter alia, providing adequate law enforcement and public safety infrastructure, accessible and affordable services, increasing rural women’s and girls’ legal literacy, such as awareness of and information about their legal rights, including on the existence of multiple legal systems, where they exist, providing legal assistance, gender-responsive training for police and security forces, prosecutors, judges and lawyers as well as other relevant authorities and officials in rural areas, as appropriate, putting in place mechanisms to ensure accountability and judicial remedies, and mainstreaming a gender perspective into justice systems at all levels to ensure the equal protection of the law for rural women and girls, taking into consideration, inter alia, the UN rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules); 
l. Guarantee the universal registration of births, including in rural areas, and ensure the timely registration of all marriages for individuals living in rural areas including by removing physical, administrative, procedural and any other barriers that impede access to registration and by providing, where lacking, mechanisms for the registration of customary and religious marriages, bearing in mind the vital importance of birth registration for the realization of their rights;

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