Briefing on SRHR and SDGs - FEMNET-cover

Briefing on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This Briefing Pack has been prepared by FEMNET with support from Hivos Southern Africa and the Ford Foundation. It aims to provide information that can support key players in the Africa region to work with the the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development framework, by relating it directly to the plethora of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV challenges facing Africa, and adapting it to the regional context.

It highlights and discusses goals and targets that are linked to SRHR including goals number 3, 5, and 10

  • Why the SDGs are relevant for SRHR?
  • What is needed to ensure that SDGs linked to SRHR and HIV/AIDS are achieved?
  • Which other existing national and regional commitments exist that are linked to targets in the 2030 Agenda?
  • What is needed to translate the 2030 Agenda into a reality for all people?

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Breaking Down the Barriers: Macroeconomic Policies that Promote Women’s Economic Equality

The achievement of women’s economic equality and empowerment (WEE) is pivotal to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, yet it has received inadequate attention to date. The ground-breaking Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) called for the promotion of “women’s economic rights and independence, including access to employment, appropriate working conditions and control over economic resources.” In the subsequent two decades, however, most gender equality work shied away from the economic sphere. When WEE has been discussed, too often it is in relation to generating economic growth rather than gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights.

“A Panel of this stature must rise to the challenge, defining and prioritising the kind of far-reaching recommendations that will promote WEE. These recommendations must go beyond helping individual women, one by one, and seek instead to change the society within which they live and work, and in which their daughters and granddaughters will thrive as equals in the future.”

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Policy Recommendations by African CSOs to the 60th CSW

We the representatives of African women’s rights organizations, CSOs, academia and media working to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa met in Nairobi, Kenya from 10 – 12 February 2016 to develop a common position and roadmap for engaging with African governments prior to, during and after the CSW60.

We re-affirm the role of civil society organizations as key actors in the implementation of Agenda 2030, contributing to the goal of achieving gender equality and women empowerment. As such, we recommend the following policy actions:

  1. Adequate, accessible and sustainable financing for gender equality to implement SDG 5 and other gender related targets in other goals.
  2. Address existing gaps between laws and practice to accelerate the implementation of progressive laws at national, regional and global levels to prevent and eliminate VAW.
  3. Strengthen evidence on gender equality to inform policies and actions aimed at achieving gender equality.
  4. Guarantee the realization of women’s full and active enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms including their sexual and reproductive health rights without discrimination.
  5. Implementation of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) without compromising international human rights principles and national efforts to advance gender equality and women empowerment.
  6. Proactively respond to the shrinking space and resources for civil society particularly those working on women’s rights, affirming the need for a vibrant, strong and free civil society that is essential for sustainable development.
  7. Accelerate the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that affirms the participation of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction.
  8. Invest in infrastructure and time-saving technologies to reduce and redistribute the burden of women’s unpaid care work.
  9. Meaningful, inclusive and effective participation of women in social, economic and political development.
  10. Eradication of harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM/C,
  11. Invest and leverage the use of ICTs as an alternative means for the delivery of education and training particularly to women and girls.




African Women’s Position on the New Development Agenda

United Nations – Sunday, 2 August 2015, 193 governments agreed to a historic agenda for global sustainable development to be carried out over the next 15 years, which will be formally adopted by world leaders at the UN General Assembly in September. African women joined other women’s rights activists in applauding the new “2030 Agenda” for having the promise of being truly transformative for women and girls around the world. The new agenda includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework of 17 goals and 169 targets that build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire this year. Gender equality is addressed much more robustly than the MDGs did and recognize the issue as crosscutting.

The “2030 Agenda” includes significant victories for women and girls. Governments have committed to:

-> End discrimination and gender-based violence

-> End child marriage and female genital mutilation

-> Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health care services and education for all

-> Protect women’s and girls’ reproductive rights

-> Recognize and value the burdens of unpaid care work on women and girls

-> Expand women’s economic opportunities and ensure their rights to resources

-> Eliminate gender disparities in schools and ensure equal access to education


Gender equality, human rights and the empowerment of women and girls remains a critical driver to the achievement of the sustainable development goals. The prioritization of women’s rights will ensure that spatial, political, social and economic inequalities are addressed. Furthermore, the redistribution of wealth, power, opportunities and resources is critical for addressing prevalent inequalities between men and women, within and between countries. Although we have registered substantial gains in securing gender equality in the Post-2015 development framework, the lack of political will from some of the African Member states to safeguard gender equality and the human rights of women and girls throughout the Post-2015 development process remains of great concern to African women.

We are deeply concerned that Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon consistently called for removal of language on gender equality, reproductive rights, recognition of human rights and non-discrimination for all. In January 2014, the African Heads of States adopted the Common African Position (CAP) on Post-2015 articulating the continent’s priorities in the Post-2015 development agenda. The Common African Position has strong commitments to ensure that “No person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities.” African Heads of State specifically highlighted the inextricable link between gender equality, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and Africa’s structural transformation.

As we come to a close of what has been a protracted process and enter a new phase of implementation of the “2030 Agenda”, its follow up and review; we call on African leaders to demonstrate political will in implementing the “2030 Agenda” through domesticating at national level and allocation of adequate resources. In line with the commitment to gender equality within the African Union, we call upon them to implement progressive regional and global agreements such as;  The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; The International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) and The Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other related Infectious diseases. This will play a critical complementary enabling role for the new Development Agenda in the realization of women’s and girls’ rights and the achievement of gender equality.


Africa Civil Society Shadow Report on Beijing+20

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the agreement signed by 189 countries that attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

Over the last two decades, Africa has made significant strides in developing progressive frameworks to advance the rights of women. These strides have been evident in the adoption of the gender equality principle in the African Union’s (AU) Constitutive Act of 2002, the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa of 2003, and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa of 2004, to mention a few. At a national level and as is demonstrated in the state reports, there has been significant progress in critical areas such as: girls’ education, women’s political participation, maternal health, adoption of action plans on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, as well as laws and policies on violence against women, amongst others. In this regard, African states must be commended for continued efforts to sustain initiatives towards gender equality generally and women’s rights specifically.
As this report demonstrates, there is much more that can be done, not only by governments accelerating the allocation of adequate financial and human resources towards implementation of BPFA and other regional instruments, but also in responding to contemporary internal and external threats that hinder the transformation of the structural inequality. This report addresses gaps in reporting based on contemporary and renewed threats as well as areas where additional and persistent efforts are still required and offers a series of recommendations.


The report is structured around four main sections: the first section offers an overview of the evolution of the socio-economic and political terrain within which women’s rights work has occurred. The second substantive sections summarises the key findings from the 51 state reports and the trends noted across all 51 state reports that were submitted to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The third substantive section looks at the 12 critical areas, assessing gaps in state reporting and highlighting illustrative examples where innovation and/or where progress has occurred in specific states. These illustrations are not designed to highlight what all 51 reporting states have done in the 12 areas. The final section concludes with a set of recommendations.

Click here to Download and Read the Africa_Civil_Society_Beijing20_Shadow_Report