UN Foundation teams and initiatives announced a series of commitments to advance gender equality at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, convened by UN Women and hosted by the Government of France between June 30 and July 2, 2021. During the next one to five years, the teams and initiatives will work with partners to implement policy, programmatic, advocacy, and financial commitments that amount to a total pledge of nearly $13 million.
Commitments were made by eight UN Foundation teams and initiatives: the Girls and Women Strategy team, Clean Cooking Alliance, Data2X, FP2030, Girl Up, the Global Health team, United Nations Association of the USA, and the Universal Access Project. Their commitments span all six Generation Equality Action Coalitions, which are priority themes key to unlocking gender equality progress: Gender-Based Violence (GBV); Economic Justice and Rights; Bodily Autonomy and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights; Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality; and Feminist Movements and Leadership.
The world has failed to fulfill the promises made to girls and women at the landmark 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Generation Equality is a once-in-a-decade chance to mobilize a powerful coalition of gender equality actors and advocates from every sector to finally, and fully, realize the ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals for everyone, everywhere.
“Gender inequality remains a global emergency and the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” says Michelle Milford Morse, Vice President of Girls and Women Strategy at the UN Foundation. “The UN Foundation will meet this moment with the urgency it demands, and a strong set of commitments aimed at achieving the ambitions set forth in Beijing. We are determined to create a better and fairer world for all, including girls and women in all their diversity.”
Details of each commitment made by a UN Foundation team or initiative are listed below.
Girls and Women Strategy
The Girls and Women Strategy team has made multiple programmatic, advocacy, and financial commitments within the Gender-Based Violence, Economic Justice and Rights, and Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalitions. Totaling a financial commitment of $1 million over one year, the team commits to:
● Launching the WithHer Fund in collaboration with the Spotlight Initiative to mobilize new donors to provide core and flexible funding for local grassroots women’s rights organizations working on gender-based violence.
● Convening Five for 5, a peer-learning and connection platform for business leaders to adopt five workplace policies to advance SDG 5 and Generation Equality.
● Convening the Nest, a network of networks to collaborate and mobilize around Generation Equality. The Nest includes networks of women leaders in government, business, and philanthropy, as well as networks of male allies and gender champions.
Clean Cooking Alliance
For its one-year commitment, the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) will further efforts within two Action Coalitions in which their work intersects: Feminist Action for Climate Justice and Feminist Movements and Leadership. “I am thrilled to announce CCA’s commitments to furthering SDG 5 under Generation Equality and specifically highlighting the gender and energy nexus,” says Dymphna van der Lans, CEO of the Clean Cooking Alliance. “We are proud to be a part of this monumental moment nearly 25 years after the Beijing conference to cultivate change and advance gender equality. Whether working with national governments, policymakers, clean cooking companies, or leadership organizations alike, CCA is committed to helping women reach their full potential by cultivating spaces for women to assume their rightful place in the global energy transition.”
In addition to the commitments listed below, CCA will collaborate with Girl Up to create a Clean Cooking Club challenge for Girl Up’s thousands of clubs across the globe. CCA will also facilitate the Gender and Climate workshop at the Girl Up Leadership Summit to increase participants’ understanding of the intersection between climate change and gender by exposing them to issues, experts, and youth activists. CCA commits to:
● Supporting the implementation of Kenya’s Ministry of Energy’s gender and energy policy by providing targeted capacity building on the implementation of the policy and strengthening monitoring and evaluation.
● Designing regional workshops focused on the Ministry of Energy’s gender and energy policy development and implementation processes to address the gender-environment and energy nexus.
● Co-developing a customizable tool which would support other national governments to develop a gender and energy policy on the gender-environment and energy nexus.
● Raising awareness of tools and resources, like gender-lens investing and gender-informed business approaches to clean cooking actors through knowledge transfer webinars and gender-smart advisory support.
● Encouraging clean cooking actors to commit and integrate gender considerations into their green job training and upskilling programs through CCA’s gender-smart advisory support, a customizable gender technical assistance program for clean energy companies.
● Promoting innovative learning tools and resources for policymakers and companies alike that measure the transformative power of gender-informed approaches through clean and efficient cooking technologies.
● Equipping and empowering women and girls with educational tools and resources to take on leadership roles in green economy sectors through targeted partnerships with initiatives like Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET).
Data2X is committed to tracking all gender data commitments made in support of Generation Equality and will build a dedicated microsite to showcase and monitor them. As part of its commitment, Data2X will assess similarities across sectors and domains and drive multi stakeholder collaborations to fuel gender data collection, financing and use. “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the ambitious agenda outlined in the Global Acceleration Plan will only be possible if we have the data to understand the lives of women and girls and to be accountable for our promises to them,” says Emily Courey Pryor, Executive Director of Data2X. “At Generation Equality and beyond, we must commit to collecting, funding and acting on gender data for better, smarter policies and a more just and equitable world.”
Family Planning 2030
Over the next five years, Family Planning 2030 (FP2030) will expand its global partnership between governments, donors, youth, civil society, and others to advance SRHR and gender equality through family planning. “The right to bodily autonomy, to decide when and whether to have children is a fundamental human right at the core of gender equality,” says Mande Limbu, FP2030 Director of Global Initiatives. “Commitments to the FP2030 partnership are aligned with and contribute to the Generation Equality Agenda.” As part of the Feminist Movements and Leaders and Bodily Autonomy and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Action Coalitions, FP2030 commits to:
● Facilitating locally driven and globally supported accountability efforts to ensure quality services, responsive to the needs and preferences of clients, including underserved populations.
● Advocating for meaningful youth participation in decision-making at all levels, and policies and strategies that ensure transparency, equity, and respect.
● Strengthening partnerships across sectors, including HIV, cervical cancer, climate change, and humanitarian.
● Publishing an annual report that highlights critical family planning data, including financing to support evidence-informed decision-making by country, regional, and global stakeholders.
To contribute to advancing feminist movements and leadership, Girl Up will provide financial, technical, and other resources to strengthen young feminist leadership over the next two years. “Twenty five years after Beijing, young feminists are leading the charge for gender equality and social justice,” says Sia Nowrojee, Senior Director of Global Community. “Girl Up is committed to supporting these young feminist leaders in all their diversity to create safe, inclusive spaces for meaningful participation in a growing global movement.” Totaling a financial commitment of $11 million, Girl Up commits to:
● Engaging 187,000 youth leaders by investing in inclusive online community and learning platforms with rigorous virtual and in-person training to build individual leadership skills and advance intersectional, feminist advocacy.
● Strengthening a global network of 6,500 school- and community-based clubs to engage 97,500 youth leaders.
● Providing direct support to youth grassroots advocacy and education across the globe.
● Hosting an annual global Leadership Summit for young feminists.
● Leveraging 1.2 million social media supporters to tell the story of young feminist leaders, amplify Generation Equality and SDG 5, and raise awareness of intersectional advocacy.
● Developing and implementing internal policies, strategies and initiatives that center the voices and decisions of diverse youth leaders.
● Creating inclusive partnerships and linking to best practice to ensure that Girl Up programs and operations are globally relevant, inclusive and rigorous.
The Global Health team collaborates closely with partners at the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The GPEI is committed to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in its efforts to eradicate polio. The initiative’s Gender Equality Strategy 2019-2023 aims to promote the integration of a gender perspective into different aspects of the GPEI’s programming, to support countries in addressing gender-related barriers to polio vaccination to increase coverage, to support women on the front-lines and to increase women’s meaningful participation at all levels of the polio program. The GPEI is honored to commit to integrating a gender perspective into GPEI’s programming to support countries in addressing gender-related barriers to polio vaccination, to increase women’s meaningful participation and decision-making across all levels of the polio program, and to utilize gender-sensitive indicators to ensure girls and boys are reached equally.
As part of the Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalition, this five-year commitment will be realized through the following key areas:
● Law & Policy- GPEI’s Gender Equality Strategy, 2019-2023 is mainstreamed in the GPEI’s new strategy for 2022-2026, Delivering on a Promise, through collection and analysis of sex disaggregated and gender data, capacity building, communications and gender parity.
● Data & Accountability – Track and monitor gender-sensitive and gender-specific Key Performance Indicators.
● Financing – Commit up to 1% of direct allocations to gender work.
United Nations Association for the USA (UNA-USA) will mobilize its extensive network across the U.S. to further the goals of the Feminist Movements and Leadership Action Coalition. During the first-year membership, the UNA Women Affinity Group will spearhead the commitment and dedicate programmatic resources and advocacy guidance to chapters across 42 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. “Youth participation and leadership is essential to strengthening civic engagement,” says UNA-USA Executive Director Rachel Bowen Pittman. “Young advocates in our movement represent 60% of our 20,000 members, and we’ve seen firsthand how young Americans across the U.S. are already mobilizing in their communities to advance progress on the Global Goals and to work toward a more just, sustainable, and equitable future. UNA-USA is committed to engaging young advocates in all our programs and initiatives, including our Cities for CEDAW initiative and UNA Women Affinity Group.”
Over the course of a year, UNA-USA and the UNA Women Affinity Group commit to:
● Identifying and supporting UNA university and community chapters that are interested in or have engaged with the Cities for CEDAW Initiative.
● Fostering an inclusive Cities for CEDAW coalition of UNA chapters while also elevating youth voices in the campaign.
● Conducting targeted training, creating meaningful partnerships between university and community chapters, providing support persons, and broadening existing resources.
● Developing and implementing internal strategies and initiatives to elevate youth voices in the internal decision making and planning process.
● Guiding over 220 chapters to evaluate and adhere to our Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEA&I) policy.
Universal Access Project
A powerhouse coalition of NGOs and corporate investors are committing to realizing a more gender-just world through the Resilience Fund for Women in Global Value Chains. As part of this collaboration, the Universal Access Project (UAP) will provide significant organizational and staff resources to manage the Fund which expects to raise at least USD $10 million over three years. The Fund will provide unrestricted funding to local and regional women’s funds and local women-led organizations addressing gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights – issues that are foundational to building women’s economic resilience in supply chain communities around the world.
“Feminist and women-led organizations know best what communities need in the way of solutions, as the pandemic laid bare the systemic inequities that hit women the hardest, especially marginalized women,” says Seema Jalan, Executive Director of the Universal Access Project. “The Fund represents a new, collective commitment by its founding partners and investors to the Generation Equality Forum, and specifically to accelerating progress towards SDG 5 through investing in local, feminist leadership and organizing; shared governance; and learning, transparency and accountability.”
Through an investment of $750,000 and in the spirit of the Generation Equality Forum, UAP commits to centering the ideas, expertise, and priorities of women in all their diversity in supporting the health, rights, and well-being of women who form the backbone of global supply chains and their communities. This new commitment builds on UAP’s longstanding efforts to engage government, business, media and philanthropy for sexual and reproductive health and rights and justice.
Some or all of these commitments will be displayed on the Generation Equality Forum virtual commitment map from June 30 – July 2.