New York, 8 July 2019
It has been four years since the U.N. released the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious plan for global change divided in 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Every year, the progress made by governments to achieve the SDGs is closely monitored at the UN High Level Political Forum. For the first time since the 2030 Agenda was adopted, Equinet and equality bodies will be represented at this crucial event.
While the SDGs aim at achieving positive and structural change in various fields (education, urbanism, climate action, health, etc.), they are also driven by strong underpinning values. Undeniably, equality is one of the core values of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In “Equality Bodies Contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, Equinet is demonstrating the extent to which the Agenda promotes equality and non-discrimination. Goal 5 is specifically focused on achieving gender equality, while Goal 10 is concerned to reduce inequalities not only between countries but also within countries. But equality is also mainstreamed in seven of the other goals (Goals 1, 3, 4, 8, 11, 16 and 17). This means that a majority of Goals are rooted in the achievement of equality.
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights puts it: “Equal, inclusive and just societies, without
discrimination, are the ultimate realization of the vision embodied in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This vision is the bedrock on
which the 2030 Agenda is built”.
The central objective of the SDGs is to leave no one behind, therefore to reach out to the people who are the most discriminated, marginalized and vulnerable.
This means that the 2030 Agenda will not be achieved unless substantive equality for all is achieved worldwide. And for doing so, equality bodies will be essential partners.
As public independent institutions mandated to combat discrimination and promote equality, they are in a key position to implement the SDGs. In particular, equality bodies are particularly well suited to implement and achieve Goal 10. They can do so in many ways, including by providing legal support to those experiencing discrimination, providing policy advice and recommendations on equality issues, collecting equality data and communicating on equality issues.
The 2030 Agenda provides a vision for change rooted in equality and equality bodies are central actors of change when it comes to achieving equality. They foster individual change, by directly assisting victims of discrimination. They also foster organizational change, by advising and promoting good practices on equality for employers, service providers and policy makers. Finally, they foster social change, by promoting equality as a central value for just and inclusive societies.
This year, the theme of the High Level Political Forum will be ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ Goal 10 on reducing inequalities will be under review, and Equinet will convey the voice and experiences of equality bodies in Europe.
"It is now time for the UN and for governments to realise the potential of equality bodies when it comes to achieving the Goals they set for humanity four years ago.” Equinet Chair and Deputy Ombusdwoman of Croatia, Tena Šimonović Einwalter.
We will speak at the side event on “Confronting ageism and empowering older people to ensure social, economic and political inclusion of all” (9 July) and the Training Learning Event on “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality through human rights” (10 July). We will partner with the side event on “Reducing inequalities: A look at persons with disabilities” (10 July) and the one on “Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda. Leaving no one behind while accelerating SDG implementation” (12 July). For more details of our participation at these events, please see here.
bodies are already working to ensure that no one is left behind. They should
not be left out of the 2030 Agenda.
 Bachelet, M., 4 July 2019, “The Ripple Effect of Rights-Based Approaches: Creating Waves of Positive Change” , SDG Knowledge Hub