African, Arab and French Women Issue Rio+20 Statements

24 October 2011: Groupings of African Women, Arab Women and French Women, as part of the Women Major Group, have issued input for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). The French group emphasizes the importance of human rights for sustainable development, and the African and Arab statements suggest criteria for green economy and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). The Arab statement also highlights the needs of the farming sector.

The African Women statement highlights that a truly sustainable green economy would involve economic development that takes place within the limits of nature and ensures fair distribution of resources among all countries and social groups, and between women and men. It underlines that social equity and environmental justice must remain at the heart of sustainable development and the outcomes of Rio+20. With regard to the green economy, the statement calls on governments to reaffirm their commitments to ensure access to water and sanitation, affordable transportation, land and property rights for women, energy and health services. It also calls on governments to: guarantee and uphold good governance and democratic processes that ensure peace and security; establish an IFSD that defends women's rights and interests; and take the necessary steps to provide new green livelihoods, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The Arab Women statement, which was given at the UNCSD Preparatory Meeting for the Arab Region, calls for: implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as the basis for a green economy and sustainable development; integration of gender issues in monitoring and evaluation indicators to ensure social justice and fair distribution of wealth; and creation of institutional tools to support women's participation in all levels of decision making. On farming and agriculture, the statement calls for: establishing social associations, networks, co-operatives and syndicates to help rural and farming communities stand for their rights; ensuring the right of access to data and information to help rural and farming communities take better decisions; providing appropriate technology and capacity building in order to ensure that the sector contributes to the green economy and sustainable development; and having developed countries take their environmental commitments seriously.

The French Women statement underlines that equality between women and men is at the core of the definition of sustainable development. It notes that Rio+20 is a good opportunity to redefine sustainable development, and to reaffirm that a balance between the environment, and social and economic sectors can only be achieved if human rights are respected globally. [African Women Statement] [Arab Women Statement] [French Women Statement (in French only)]