Financing for Development: The Girl Generation welcomes focus on women and girls

Monday, 20 Jul 2015
  • Philip Andrews / TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation
    Philip Andrews / TooYoungToWed / The Girl Generation
Agreement to end extreme poverty puts the poorest first and focuses on women and girls.

Last week, global leaders attending the third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, comprised of 193 country delegations, signed up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). This is a global agreement on how efforts to end extreme poverty - through implementation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - will be funded.

According to Wu Hongbo, the Secretary-General of the Conference, “This historic agreement marks a turning point in international cooperation that will result in the necessary investments for the new and transformative sustainable development agenda that will improve the lives of people everywhere”.

But what does this mean for the global movement to end FGM? 

Dr Faith Mwangi-Powell, The Girl Generation’s Global Director, was at the conference. “We applaud the commitment made by global leaders to deliver on the promise of the SDGs by signing this agreement," she says. "It provides a strong framework to support developing countries as they seek their own economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty. For The Girl Generation, the new focus on putting the poorest first – particularly girls and women – is welcomed. This will be crucial if we are to end extreme poverty, and it is a strong signal of leaders’ commitment to the SDG’s principle of ‘no one is left behind’”.

We believe that the agreement provides a strong foundation for implementation of the SDGs, through which the viability of the Action Agenda will be measured. A focus on women and girls recognises that girls and women in the poorest countries rarely reach their full potential. By developing smart policies and providing targeted investments for their health, education and economic development, the SDGs will empower girls and women to realise their own dreams, and raise themselves and their families out of the cycle of poverty.

Among the proposed mechanisms for financing, domestic resource mobilisation is central. Indeed, countries have agreed to an array of measures aimed at widening their revenue base, improving tax collection, and combatting tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Countries also reaffirmed their commitment to official development assistance, particularly for the least developed countries, and pledged to increase South-South cooperation.

We are also pleased that there was a real push for a data revolution, and for using data not just as a reporting tool, but for decision-making at country level. The Action Agenda emphasises high-quality, open data, and commits governments to provide support to developing countries, especially the least developed countries, to build national statistical capacities. Pledges were made by more than 20 governments and international organisations to address the ‘data crisis’ which inhibits the ability of governments to make smart investments to fight poverty. The formation of a Global Partnership on Sustainable Data, to be launched in September 2015, underpins this commitment.

Ahead of the conference, The Girl Generation chaired a side event hosted by the Orchid Project, funded by the Human Dignity Foundation. Together, we called for greater recognition of the rights of women and girls, and for an end to harmful traditional practices. Supporting this were calls for the inclusion of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) as a key indicator to measure target 5.3 of the SDGs (which is to “Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations”). We are confident that the strong focus on women and girls in the Addis negotiations, and the emerging Action Agenda, provide a strong foundation for us to push further for the inclusion of this indicator.

The Girl Generation will continue to provide leadership on this issue, and we look to our members, partners and friends to collaborate with us in this regard. We believe that the SDGs provide us with a framework through which we can end FGM in one generation – which is why it is so important that FGM/C is included as a global indicator – as what gets measured, gets done.

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