Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Investing in Justice for Women

by Dr Jeni Klugman - Managing Director, Georgetown Institute of Women and Peace and Security & Lead Author, Report of the High-Level Group on Justice for Women

Photo ©UNDP Papua New Guinea

Justice for women and girls is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, with its commitment to gender equality (SDG 5) and its promise of peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG 16).

UN Women, IDLO and the World Bank recently convened the High-level Group on Justice for Women, along with the Task Force on Justice of the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. It delivered a comprehensive report to better understand common justice problems for women.

For too many women, gaps persist between the promise of justice and its reality. Women living in poverty experience more frequent and more complex, interrelated legal problems and, every additional legal problem can increase their probability of experiencing more.

The Justice for Women report provides a global overview of legal discriminations.

• More than half of women have experienced a legal problem over the past two years.
• From health to consumer issues, similar shares of women and men face civil legal problems. However, women face more family-related legal problems and restrictions on their rights.
• In Australia, people with multiple disadvantages face problems six times more than those with none.

A strong case for investing injustice for women
Justice for women is a basic human right, reflected in such core treaties as CEDAW, and it is critical to progress on all the SDGs. But women’s justice makes economic sense.

For the first time, this report brings together the evidence demonstrating that investing injustice for women—and especially eliminating legal barriers, reducing gender-based violence and child marriage—produces high returns to the economy and society.

Women’s justice, security, and inclusion, as captured in the WPS Index, is strongly associated with human development.

• Ending child marriage could generate annual gains from lower population growth, for example, estimated by the World Bank and ICRW to exceed US$20 billion in 2015 and US$560 billion in 2030.
• Women’s land rights are associated with better outcomes on many economic and development fronts.

Fortunately, many proven actions, including eliminating discriminatory laws, are cost-effective, relatively easy to implement and produce sizeable gains. However, additional resources are required to enforce existing and new laws. Providing affordable legal services for disadvantaged groups likely require more money.

What works to advance justice for women

The Justice for Women report framed promising approaches to women’s justice under five categories.
Eliminating discriminatory laws signals that gender-based discrimination is unacceptable. Since 2013, there have been 87 changes in legal gender equality in 65 countries. With the support of UNDP, the G-20 along with women activists, academics, and politicians successfully lobbied for gender equality in Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution. Fourteen principals safeguarding women’s rights were ratified, including reproductive rights, marriage equality, and protection from domestic violence.

Preventing and responding to intimate partner violence has moved to the top of the global, and in many countries, national agenda. The pace of national legislative reform on domestic violence has been rapid since 1976 when only one country prohibited marital rape. Now a majority of countries have laws on domestic violence.

This legal reform needs to be accompanied by supportive policies and regulations, as well as community engagement. Strategic litigation can be a way to bring about a gender-responsive interpretation and application of the law. In Afghanistan, UNDP has been working with community religious leaders to increase women’s knowledge of their legal rights.

Overcoming disadvantage for poor and marginalized women requires targeted policies and programs. This can be done through social protection programs—the focus of this year’s CSW.

Others include:
• Legal aid to enable poor people to seek justice that would be otherwise out of reach
• Support from paralegal services
• Promoting legal literacy to create an awareness of legal rights and duties
• Empowering women, economically and as rights holders, is part of ensuring justice.
• A legal identity can be a stepping stone to women’s empowerment. Access to some government programs are conditional on having a legal identity.
• Strengthening women’s land rights has intrinsic and instrumental importance for both women and men. Family law, inheritance law, and land law affect the right to own and control property. In collaboration with UN Women and other UN agencies, UNDP finds that in Algeria and Saudi Arabia, daughters are eligible to receive only half the inheritance of sons, while marital rape is not a crime.
• Eradicating patriarchal biases in family law has been successful in many countries.
What works to change the pervasive under-representation of women in decision-making in the justice sector?
• Political will is the most important.
• Fair and transparent selection, nomination, and promotion processes.
• Improving data and tracking progress. Most countries license attorneys and bar associations, who collect, but do not publish, demographic information.

Evidence suggests that measures, such as legal reforms, are best coupled with community efforts. A one size fits all approach is not effective—programs must adapt to the local context.

Looking ahead
How can we accelerate progress? Governments and partners are now preparing Acceleration Actions on Justice for All for the SDG summit in September. Those working at the intersection of SDG5 and SDG16 can contribute by mobilizing further actions and registering them as commitments with the United Nations ahead of the SDG Summit. UNDP is a critical partner in making this happen.

The report Justice for Women, its executive summary and the infographic summary are available online in English and Spanish. The report of the Task Force on Justice, and related reports are available online in English, Spanish and French. The Justice for Women video can be viewed online alongside related activities.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019


By Aysha Jaral - TLBBHFoundation Guest Blogger from Pakistan

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” -Nelson Mandela

There is nothing more innocent and pure in this world than the children. But are we holding out on protecting children’s rights?

We are living in 21st century and our children are still bearing corporal punishments in schools. A large number of our beggars are children under the age of 10 years. Everyday we hear a new story of child sexual abuse and it is a crying shame.

Whenever I think about children and children rights, it reminds me of a wonderful Oscar winner movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which shows the reality that how cruel world use the innocent children for their own purpose.

Now lets have a look how much work for the protection of children rights has been done and is in process.

UNICEF is responsible for 7 global SDG indicators and co-custodian for further 10 indicators. Its work is structured around 5 overarching areas of well-being for every child. These are;

1. Every child survives and thrives

2. Every child learns

3. Every child is protected from violence and exploitation

4. Every child lives in a safe and clean environment

5. Every child has a fair chance in life

So, SDG agenda 2030, can bring a hope to the children all around the world. Every child has right to live, to get quality education and good health. Their mental health is really important, because the future belongs to them.

As Frederick Douglass says; “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”


By Elizabeth Ofori, GM @TLBBHFoundation

As an SDGs Advocate and Consultant, one thing that I'm particularly concerned about is how the Global Goals translates into the different narratives of different localities, communities and national stories or conditions.

Today, thinking critically about Goal 4 - Quality Education within the context of the Ghanaian people, I have concerns about the approach of the Ghanaian Government, CSOs in the educational space and individuals championing the educational cause as to whether we are actually making progress or just going round in circles.

One huge challenge regarding the Goals and the activities of various groups in the cause is the issue of Sustainability.

The first target for Goal 4: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

For the Ghanaian people, it may look like we’re making some progress here with the government’s new free SHS policy. And before I am misunderstood, I do acknowledge that this is also a step in the right direction.

Then again, my concerns still remain:

1. Is this new free SHS program sustainable?

2. Is it an initiative that has been clearly communicated to all stakeholders especially different political groups, as well as major educational stakeholders?

3. What happens to the program when there’s a change in the political climate (I. E. A new government comes to power)

4. How is the program being funded?

5. Who is being held accountable especially for resources being used for the program?

6. Are both girls and boys having equal access to this?

7. What’s the quality and standard of this free senior high school? Is the free education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes?

8. How is the progress of the free senior high school going to be measured and evaluated in a holistic way that considers all aspects of its progress

I could go on and on but the point is, Quality Education is an important goal and I believe “quality” in this regard is not supposed to be a one size fit all thing but rather a dynamic and interactive measure that considers the unique features of the environment at play.

Let’s keep the conversation going!

#SDGs #Sustainability #4QualityEducation


Tuesday, August 6, 2019


By Nida Jannat, The Lady B Bless Humanitarian Foundation - Guest Blogger - Pakistan

Without justice, there can be no peace. He who passively accepts evil as much as involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it ~ Martin Luther King.

As an ambassador of The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I opted for Goal #16 that calls for Peace and Justice and Strong Institutions. 

As the whole world has witnessed a long tale of suppression, brutality, and injustice enunciated in a variety of documents. In the 21st century, we are witnessing an akin situation in Kashmir that reminds me of dark ages where discrimination and ferocity were on the climax. The same paradigm of brutality is being practiced in Jammu and Kashmir to curtail the voice for self-determination and freedom of expression of indigenous.

Justice is an integral part of democracy, but if authorities breach the laws and launch crackdown on its citizens, we must call it state-terrorism rather putting the veneer of militants to stifle locals that are struggling for their survival.

Recently, the despots of the region have launched mass mobilization of troops in Jammu and Kashmir to provoke residents that could endanger the peace in the valley and also lawful efforts have been taken to reduce the autonomous status of Kashmir.

Several innocents women and children have been targeted using cluster ammunition that is prohibited in Geneva Convention. Security council and concern institutions should exert power to calm the situation.

The peace process is being deteriorated in Kashmir continually. I request my all SDGs fellows to launch awareness campaigns in their respective areas for the sake of peace and prosperity it will be viewed as your huge contribution towards peace and justice.

Dear readers, repeat after me: We will save humanity from atrocities. We are not going to tolerate bloodshed in Kashmir. We will remain firmly under the umbrella of democracy to incorporate peace and justice.

Let us stand against injustice!

Sunday, August 4, 2019


By Sahib Zadi - The Lady B Bless Humanitarian Foundation - Guest Blogger Pakistan

Pope Francis said “Wasting food is like stealing from the poor”. I believe it is indeed true. Every second a person dies of hunger. The FAO estimates that as many as 25,000 people lose their precious lives everyday as a result of hunger. More than 1 billion people suffer from hunger. This means that 1 in every 6 person on Earth don’t get enough food to live a healthy life.

Zero hunger; The 2nd goal of the SDGs, growing up in the world, it is one of the most dominant goal to discuss and to be solved.

Nutritious food is a basic human right. No human alive deserves to go to bed with an empty stomach. But we all are abusing our rights by trashing our food, food which starving children would have died for.

Approximately 9 million people in the world die of hunger each year according to world hunger statistics. 98% of those who suffer from hunger live in developing countries. 553 million live in the Asian and Pacific regions, while 227 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean account for 47 million. India has the highest population of hungry people.

According to the report, Pakistan losses thousands of mothers and children due to lack of food. In Pakistan, district Tharparkar is said to be one of the dangerous regions of the country in terms of people’s survival. Every year, hundreds of people die in the area due to food insecurity and malnutrition.

On average, 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. Not only food industry but we are all food waster too. Every day, people throwing their meals away, at restaurant, at home, at school and at wedding halls. Many people scraping full plates of food into bins, which millions of people would died for.

The consequences of food wastage are utterly atrocious. Food loss and waste are large contributors to world hunger because people don’t share their food with others. If someone can’t finish food, share it with a person.

A beautiful quote by Mother Teresa “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one”. This may decrease the death rate of hunger in our society. While changing our daily dining habit is the easiest and the most effective way to solve this issue. There are few steps that I strongly believe we are can take. There are some NGO’s that work towards reducing food waste and eradicating world hunger.

Thus, we also need to take action immediately. We need to minimize our domestic food waste and we need to be aware of the consequences of food wastage to humans, nature and the economy and we need to donate money or food to the NGOs who are working for world hunger. This is how we can be a hero, “A Zero Hunger Hero”.

Friday, August 2, 2019


By Ayesha Latif - The Lady B Bless Humanitarian Foundation - Guest Blogger Pakistan

Hillary Clinton says; “Human rights are the women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights”.

Yes, I agree with her because I have never doubted the power of women to change the world.

We have heard a lot that “Educate a woman and the community will prosper”. Yes, I do believe because when you educate a woman you actually educate a family and this is how the community succeeds.

Last month, I got to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and thanks to Lady B Bless Humanitarian Foundation for making us aware of the value of these goals. I really appreciate what you did.

Gender Equality; the fifth goal of SDGs. Growing up in a male dominant society, I realized that it’s one of the most important goals to discuss and to be solved. A society where a woman is considered to just look after their home and family. Its really hard to listen to something like, ‘This job is not for women, only men can do’. According to the International Labor Organization, in Sindh Pakistan women work more than their men but still, their wages are lower than men. This is how our system shows discrimination and makes men superior to women.

What a beautiful saying by Malala; “When God created man and woman, he was thinking, ‘Who shall I give the power to give birth to the next human being?’ and God chose the woman. And this the big evidence that women are powerful.”

Educate your girls. Make them confident. And say no to ‘Gender Discrimination’