Civil society preparation
for the HLP meeting in Monrovia
This time round, the HLP meeting is focusing on those all too often excluded from global policy debates and discussions. Representatives to speak on behalf of youth, children, women, disability, and ageing took centre stage yesterday at the civil society preparation meeting yesterday (28 Jan)
After the London meeting of the HLP, one commentator remarked that youth have arrived. That trend continues here in Monrovia, with youth putting forwards a powerful argument for the pivotal role they will play in the success of the post-2015 agenda. Two key documents are feeding into this – the Global Youth Forum report from a meeting held in Bali last December, and the African Youth report which has the voices from the continent. Central to this is innovation and creativity that young people bring. Between the two meetings, youth have been working with HLP members Betty Maina and Paul Polman, as well as UN Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina Mohammed to ensure the youth perspective is understood.
Children have also found their voice here, with an impressive intervention by an 11 year old girl, calling for, among other things: access to quality education; participation in decision-making; healthcare; inclusion of disability; nutrition for human development; and freedom for violence, particularly for girls.
Common threads started to emerge, suggesting that although these constituencies are underserved, they face similar issues. For women, access and control of resources; peace and freedom from violence; and access to justice came out as central themes. Women’s groups have been working with Amina Mohammed and HLP members including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Emilia Pires and Betty Maina to better ensure the inclusion of gender equality in the post-2015 framework. A key question that came out was where are the voices of the poor in this debate – a voice that must be that of women. A clear call from this constituency is for a standalone goal on gender equality and empowerment, supported by mainstreaming across all parts of the framework, and a shift in focus from symptoms to root causes. The speaker representing women’s groups ended with a powerful quote: “the revolution and women’s liberation go together.”
The speaker representing ageing groups called for disaggregation of data in post-2015 framework, as it will reveal the role that age plays in poverty. The speaker was keen to illustrate that this isn’t about prioritising one group at the expense of others but understanding the interconnected experience of individuals and communities, giving the example of the role that grandparents play in bringing up children and youth in South Africa. A lifecycle approach to development would ensure inclusion of all stages of life. Equity was also key. Other interventions called for intergenerational justice.
The representative of the disability sector called for inclusive and equitable development. The lack of consistency within governments as regards disability means that it often falls through the cracks in development interventions. The post-2015 framework must ensure that disability is not lost in the lines of implementation. Lack of information was identified as a barrier to preventing disabled people from advocating for themselves. Inclusion of people with visual and audio disability was highlighted, with a call for resources and materials to be made accessible to all.
A call for rights-based approach to development echoed throughout the day. As we move into the second day of discussion in advance of the meeting with the HLP, the commonality between different groups, experiences and perspectives will emerge.
Neva Frecheville, Co-chair of Beyond 2015