HLPF update: day three

8 July 2022


Our focus at HLPF 2022 is to share our eight calls to action developed by members in reflection of the Sendai Framework Mid-Term Review – and integrate the voice of civil society on localisation and risk-informed development.

Becky Murphy, GNDR Policy Lead and UNDRR Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (SEM) Co-Chair is representing GNDR at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York from 5-12 July 2022.

These are the key messages coming from key sessions in day three of the conference:

Key event

The SDG 2022 report was launched by the UN Office of Data and Statistics. Read the latest progress being made against the SDGs.

Key session: SDG 5 and interlinkages with other SDGs – gender equality

Thursday 7 July focused on reviewing our progress against SDG 5: Gender equality. The morning session explored the most promising strategies and actions today for overcoming gender inequality and discrimination. The session asked member states and stakeholders: how can the empowerment of women and girls accelerate SDG progress and recovery from Covid-19?

Key messages of the SDG 5 session

  • We must listen to the lived experience of women facing gender-based violence 
  • The pandemic has caused reversals in gender equity and put us back years in our progress 
  • We have seen reversals of all the SDGs due to the pandemic and women shoulder the greatest burden 
  • According to the Malala fund, 20 million girls in developing countries may never return to school after the pandemic
  • Still less than 25% of leadership across the globe is held by women
  • Women are systematically underrepresented in government and leadership across the world
  • We must achieve complete equality between men and women in public policy 
  • Gender equality is an imperative that affects the future of the world
  • Achieving full potential of women is essential to achieve the SDGs 
  • We must build a world that is more prosperous, equal and peaceful with women as equal 
  • At the current pace it will take 40 years to get equality in leadership, government and parliament 
  • We must promote the economic empowerment of women 
  • We need a feminist foreign policy for meaningful progress in the SDGs 

GNDR intervention 

GNDR Policy Lead, Becky Murphy was invited on behalf of the Sendai Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism to make an official intervention from the floor on the linkages of tackling gender inequality across the agenda 2030 frameworks. Unfortunately the moderator ran out of time and cut stakeholder and civil society intervention. HLPF is a very challenging space for civil society to engage in. However, we were allowed to submit the following intervention in writing which feeds directly into the HLPF record:

Thank you very much for this very important session and for the opportunity to contribute.

My name is Rebecca Murphy, and I am Co-Chair of the UNDRR Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism (SEM) and Head of Policy for GNDR, the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction.

For those of you less familiar with GNDR, we are the largest network of civil society organisations working on disaster reduction. We currently have 1, 436 members across 127 countries.

We have a strong policy focus on localisation, risk-informed development and the role of civil society in convening the all-of-society approach, which is why we co-chair the UNDRR SEM.

UNDRR recently hosted the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and one of the key messages the SEM put forward in it’s declaration is the need to recognise gender equality not just as a marker for sustainable development but also that gender inequality is a serious driver of risk, that if not meaningfully tackled will significantly limit our ability to reach the targets set out in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the SDGs.

As part of our work in the lead up to the Global Platform, GNDR and the wider SEM conducted some research into our members’ perception of the Sendai Framework Mid-Term Review, collecting reflections of the progress, or lack of progress in the Sendai targets – specifically from our members based in the global south. From this, eight key recommendations were put forward as essential priorities for the second half of the 2030 agenda.

Tackling gender inequality and meaningfully including women leaders at all levels of decision making was one of the recommendations coming through strongly. This was felt by our members, not just to be important for equality but for the resilience of the whole community. Gender inequality is a risk driver and if not tackled, will serve to undermine our progress in risk reduction.

In our global report which you can see on the GNDR website, you will see that our members from across the globe shared over and over the negative impact of Covid, climate change and conflict on women and girls. When shocks, stressors and disasters hit, women are impacted first and the hardest. Women and girls bear the brunt of negative coping mechanisms; gender-based violence increases; girls are the first to drop out of school; be subject to early marriage; and in times of food insecurity are the last to eat.

However, women also have the capacity to significantly strengthen decision making on resilience and risk governance. Grassroots women leaders know the risks, capacities, vulnerabilities and needs of the community better than anyone. Their knowledge, capacity and skills are desperately needed at the table. We are working hard with UNDRR to make sure this is championed in the second half of the Sendai Framework implementation for meaningful risk reduction. However, understanding gender inequality as a serious threat and driver of risk needs to be integrated across all of the agenda 2030 frameworks. It is imperative that we are all held accountable for feminist policy that meaningfully tackles gender inequality and brings the voice and leadership of women to decision making at all levels.

So my question back to the panel is: why are we still having this conversation and what can civil society do to strengthen efforts to tackle gender inequality together?

Coming up next

Lastly, Friday the 8 July is not an official HLPF day. The conference officially reopens on Monday 11 July. However, GNDR will be supporting the NGO Major Group Day being hosted at the Ford Foundation from 9 am. Here we will host a roundtable discussion on how civil society organisations working on disaster risk reduction along with UNDRR can feed into the SDG discussions for risk-informed development.

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