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NCSW, UNWOMEN and SHIRKAT GAH organize National Consultation on SDG's

NCSW, UNWOMEN and SHIRKAT GAH organize National Consultation to review and develop gender indicators for monitoring SDGs in Pakistan
“This is just the beginning, more steps are needed. We need to also be mindful that there are other sector meetings and discussions taking place. Therefore it is important to prioritize and see where intervention can be done rather than being seen as a standalone process”, said Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson, NCSW

Mr Asif Bajwa, (Chief Statistician, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics), Ms Khawar Mumtaz (Chairperson NCSW) and
Mr Jamshed Qazi (Representative of the UN WOMEN).
23 November 2015, Islamabad: The National Commission on the Status of Women in collaboration with UN Women and Shirkat Gah held a National Consultation to review and develop  gender indicators for SDGs for Pakistan on 23rd November 2015 at Ramada hotel, Islamabad.  
This consultation is one of many to ensure that the targets in SDG Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), and the gender equality-related targets in the other goals, are supported and clearly delineated by indicators that capture the transformation and progress we seek and reflect the scale and ambition of this Agenda. The recommendations of these consultations are to be shared with the Planning Commission’s SDG unit to support in the SDG monitoring and implementation phase.
The Background: On 25 September 2015, Member States came together for the historic adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to which Pakistan is also a signatory. This is a pivotal point, as never before has gender equality and women’s empowerment been given this level of focus, prioritization and action by the global community. Gender equality and the empowerment of women is embedded throughout the framework through a strong stand-alone goal to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls (Goal 5) and gender mainstreaming across all goals and targets.
The choice of indicators to monitor the implementation of the framework will be of critical importance and will to a large extent determine whether policy efforts are channeled adequately and the goals and targets are achieved or missed. Globally, discussions are currently underway on the indicators to be employed for global monitoring. Pakistan has also started to discuss the implementation of SDGs and the indicators to be used to monitor the SDGs at the national level.
Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women emphasized in her welcome remarks the need to develop a consensus on priority SDG indicators. Further, she found it encouraging to see that national representatives, government officials and the civil society were there to give their expert input, all under one roof.

Mr. Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative of UN WOMEN Pakistan said he was delighted to see that Pakistan is one of the first few countries in the world to roll out the localization of the SDG’s process.  “We have no time to loose when it comes to working towards achieving the Government’s Vision 2025”. Mr. Kazi was pleased by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s statement at the Global Leaders’ meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in New York on 27th of September, where the Prime Minister expressed a long-term commitment to obtain gender equality for Pakistan. However, Mr. Kazi emphasized that “the journey has just started and there is considerable distance to be covered by the Government to achieve the SDGs by 2030”. Further, he said that UN WOMEN hopes that the localization process will lead to the development of robust indicators for effective monitoring of the progress across different goals from a gender lens.  

Mr. Zafar ul Hassan, Chief of Poverty Alleviation at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform presented on the way forward and said that effectiveness of coordination and liaison between federation and federating units, with each other and within their own structure, is a must. Further, he emphasized that a credible and harmonized database for the tracking and monitoring progress must be in place, as well as adequate resource allocation for social sector at all levels of the government.
Ms. Maryam Aurangzeb, Member National Assembly and Chair Parliamentary SDG Taskforce, presented the mechanisms of implementation of SDGs and work areas of the SDG Taskforce and stated that the development framework needs to be updated.
“We are all sitting here, we all mean good, we all want Pakistan to be seen as responsible, not see any children dying from diseases and we want to empower people with disabilities, but we really have to connect with people at the very grassroots level. And for that we need to engage with parliamentarians.  Then we can see the change”, she said.
Mr. Naeem-uz-Zafar; Member Social Sector; Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, presented an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets and said;
“It’s naive to think that our country can progress without including the women. I see SDGs as a big opportunity. We must for instance look at the labour market, both informal and formal. We have to see what hindrances these areas have for women, then solve them.”
Ms. Uzma Quresh, Programme Coordinator Women’s Economic Empowerment Program-UN WOMEN Pakistan walked the participants through the different indicators of SDG no. 5. She highlighted the challenges faced by Pakistan within areas of violence, child marriages, discrimination, domestic work, unpaid care, access to clean water and access to public services.
Ms. Sarah Zaman, Director for Bodily Rights, Shirkat Gah, presented on SDGs from a gender perspective and shared limitations, challenges and opportunities on how to localize the SDGs.  
The participants then formed into 6 groups with representation from Government departments and civil society. After the deliberations the 6 groups presented their findings/suggestions on various SDGs.  
At the end of the group presentations and the discussions that followed, it was suggested that a full day consultation be held to engage subject experts and relevant stakeholders in further discussions and deliberations on the SDG indicators from a gender perspective.
Mr. Asif Bajwa, Chief Statistician, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, said in his closing remarks;
 “We have to temper our wish list with what is possible to achieve based on the technology, expertise, resources and abilities that are available in Pakistan”.
Mr. Bajwa emphasized that the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics is currently compliant to the System of National Accounts (SNA) and is determined to work towards proper intervention at the global level as there is a small window of proposing gender sensitive indicators during the UN Statistical Division’s meeting in March. He appreciated the getting together of such a diverse group of relevant stakeholders to push the discussions on gender sensitive indicators for SDGs forward as this is the need of the hour, keeping in mind the SDG are to be implemented by January 2016. He shared that the PBS envisions working in collaboration with NCSW for the proper documentation and data collection on gender related issues
Ms. Khawar Mumtaz supplemented by saying that it had been an extremely useful exchange of knowledge. She also acknowledged the technical advice and support of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and UNWOMEN for the upcoming Survey on the Economic and Social Wellbeing and also other endeavours that the NCSW has previously been pursuing.
“This is just the beginning, more steps are needed. We need to also be mindful that there are other sector meetings and discussions taking place. Therefore it is important to prioritize and see where intervention can be done rather than being seen as a standalone process.”

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