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Advancing Gender Equality and Human Rights to Stop the Biodiversity Crisis 

A Side Event to the  High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Agenda 

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Date: 7 July 2022

Format: Virtual

Time: 730am – 9am  NYC 

Objectives: 

  • Showcase specific recommendations from the global biodiversity framework discussion in mainstreaming and strengthening the human rights-based approach to achieving SDGs 5, 14 and 15. 
  • Showcase linkages between SDGs 5, 14, and 15 and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework 
  • Build synergies with the GBF and SDGs’ HLPF processes to build back better from COVID-19. 

Organized by: Women4Biodiversity and FARN in collaboration with UN Women, OHCHR, UNEP-WCMC and WWF International

Panellists:

  1. Sylvia Hordosch, UN Women 
  2. Shruti Ajit, Women4Biodiversity
  3. Katherine Despot-Belmonte, UNEP-WCMC
  4. Cristina Eghenter, WWF International
  5. Benjamin Schachter, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Moderator: Amelia Arreguin, Women4Biodiversity 

Purpose

To highlight opportunities to enhance synergies between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular analyzing how the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework can help achieve   SDG 5 on gender equality, contribute to SDGs 14, 15, and 17 and advance human rights. In this event, we will share reflections from the field and from negotiations in the post-2020 process (including key outcomes from the third and fourth meetings of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)) on advancing women’s rights and gender equality, with a focus on empowering women and girls,  reducing gender violence, achieving inclusive and sustainable development and securing better environmental outcomes that support a life of dignity for all.  The integration of human rights and adoption of human rights-based approaches can be a game-changer in driving transformative action for the achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality, strengthening the ‘“nature goals” 14 and 15, building back better from COVID-19 and ensuring the gender-responsive implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.     

Background

In preparation for the review of these in-focus SDGs at the HLPF, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG), in collaboration with other UN system partners, organized Expert Group Meetings to take stock of where we are in terms of progress towards the in-focus SDGs (SDG5 – Gender; SDG 15 – Life on Land). 

Human rights were identified as a prerequisite for a gender-just sustainable development and for the realization of the vision of “living in harmony with nature”. Rights-based approaches are anchored within the post-2020 GBF’s theory of change and enabling conditions. The recently adopted Resolution 48/13 on the rights to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment by the Human Rights Council in October 2021 encourages governments “to adopt policies for the enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as appropriate, including with respect to biodiversity and ecosystems”.

There is also a growing momentum of support for a stand-alone target on gender equality (Target 22) in the GBF. Human rights and the environment are inextricably linked and thus require equal respect and protection. In the context of biodiversity, rights over lands, resources, associated traditional knowledge and other rights that can be collectively held and enjoyed are particularly critical. This side event will draw attention to the importance of human rights in the GBF and advance a common understanding of how a rights-based approach to conservation works in practice. It will also further reflect on how applying a rights-based approach can help advance synergies with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework to build back better from COVID-19.

This joint side event is being proposed to take forward the work of the Human Rights Working Group on the Post-2020 global biodiversity framework and inform the SDGs’ HLPF discussions through women’s rights and gender equality and the interlinkages between the SDGs to build toward an inclusive, transparent, gender-just and rights-based sustainable development paradigm with human rights, including the right to a healthy environment, at its core. These elements are also very much reflected in the EGM reports undertaken to inform the HLPF.

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