The United Nations’ post-2015 development agenda is the next phase of the Millennium Development Goals, which provided a 15-year road map to tackle poverty and foster development in the world’s poorest countries. But as putting together the new agenda moves forward, it is becoming clear that the critical needs of women may be pushed aside.
Currently, there are 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals to meet by 2030. Two of the draft goals address health and gender equality, which is good news. The bad news is that the two countries leading the process for developing these goals — Kenya and Hungary — have removed sexual and reproductive health and rights from the health goal and watered down the gender equality goal, a major setback for women.
Kenya and Hungary have made these cuts ostensibly because they are trying to cut down the number of targets in their proposal. They think that emphasizing sexual and reproductive health and rights under two different goals is repetitive and they contend there is no consensus on these issues among member states at the UN. But in reality, the importance of sexual and reproductive rights for all individuals — particularly women and girls — means that these issues should receive extra attention in any set of development goals, and more than 50 states have spoken up to agree.