Launch of the Sustainable Development Goals

Dear MenEngage members & partners,

After years of civil society advocacy, stakeholder consultations and government negotiations, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ready to be adopted! World leaders will gather to do so this week during the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit from 25-27 September at the UN headquarters in New York. This “transformative agenda for sustainable development” will follow-up the Millennium Development Goals, and should be achieved by 2030.

New agenda: good news or bad news?

Good news! The agenda is truly promising to tackle gender inequality once and for all. It has been widely received as a significant step in the right direction to improve the lives of women and girls. Feminist activists described it as “a bold vision” and “a real victory” for women and girls. The agenda includes a stand-alone goal to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (SDG #5), as well as many targets that include gender equality and/or speak specifically to women and girls. You can find the full framework here.

The SDGs framework recognizes engaging men and boys as a key strategy to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls – it is included in Paragraph 20, the “gender paragraph” of the Declaration which accompanies the goals & targets framework. MenEngage members and partners have contributed to making that happen. See at the bottom an overview of MenEngage Calls for Action from the past years.

If you want to know more about the SDGs, in particular what they mean for women and girls as well as gaps in the agenda, we recommend you to watch this 1-hour “speed-course” video from a recent seminar hosted by the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC).

New agenda adopted, mission accomplished?

No! The coming years these 17 goals, 169 targets and their indicators (to be developed next year) will have a lot of influence on the policy making, programming and budget allocations of governments around the world. The Summit in September marks the kick-off of an even more important phase: implementation & realization.

Therefore the MenEngage Alliance will continue to stand with our gender equality, human rights and social justice partners to advocate for operationalization of the agenda through gender transformative approaches, including policies and programs that support the rights and empowerment of women and girls, address root causes such as power inequalities, negative stereotypes, human rights violations, and harmful gender norms. We will hold governments to account, and provide concrete recommendations that include transformation of harmful notions of masculinities, and engage men and boys as partners, allies and stakeholders – together with and/or alongside women and girls, with people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

To do that, we need YOU!

Your projects, your research, your expertise, your experiences, your good practices, your lessons learnt… And work together through our partnerships among civil society, UN agencies and governments to upscale and institutionalize gender transformative approaches, so they can have a wider impact. Together, we can make a difference, from the work on the ground to policy making.

So share openly, share freely – how do you do it? Share with us anything that you want to, and in any form you want to share it – from a few sentences to fully developed materials. Please reply to this e-mail and also include tim@menengage.org.

For example, how do you work on transforming gender norms, empowering women and girls, transforming masculinities and/or engage men and boys to:

  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination, violence and harmful practices against all women and girls (targets 5.1; 5.2; 5.3);
  • Ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development (target 4.7);
  • Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (target 5.6 – we added the important recognition of sexual rights here); and ensure 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 (target 3.7);
  • Promote shared responsibility of unpaid care and domestic work (target 5.4);
  • Support women’s equal rights to economic resources, such as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources (target 5.a);
  • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women (target 5.b);
  • Ensure women’s political participation and leadership (target 5.5);
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels (target 5.c).

There are many other relevant goals and targets in the agenda, and you can share anything that you want to.

MenEngage advocacy resources and tools:

Please feel free to use any of below materials for your own activities: