Global Policy Forum

DAWN Criticizes High-level Panel Report


In a statement, the global women’s network Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) puts forward heavy criticism of the report published by the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda on 31 May 2013. DAWN argues that the report does not pay attention to women's concerns and instrumentalizes their human rights, while also propagating a questionable model of corporate driven economic growth.

June 13, 2013 | dawn

From People's Rights to Corporate Privilege: A South Feminist Critique of The HLP Report on Post 2015 Development Agenda

See the full statement here

The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda conveys a questionable sense of optimism for women. The report at first appears to have positively responded to the world-wide call from women to have a stand-alone and expanded gender equality goal. There are targets for gender, children and young people across several of the goals, as well as possibilities for indicators on gender, children and young people to be later developed at country level. Sexual and reproductive health and rights is also explicit.

Yet, are any of these really new development commitments? We don’t’ think so. Instead of building on previous international agreements that could move the agenda towards an integrated set of human rights for women, the HLP has chosen to privilege only certain rights. Worse, they have incorporated these rights within a text that strongly legitimizes new corporate privileges. The role of the State is also downplayed and its primary role is limited to providing an environment for business to prosper. DAWN laments the fact that the framers of this report have ignored calls for economic models and approaches that more effectively combine human development, human rights, and environmental sustainability, as well as addressing inequalities between peoples and states.
In many places in the economic south, rural areas are being opened for export oriented ‘extractivist’ industries. However the report does not recognize the collective rights of indigenous and other rural and remote communities where women, children and young people often bear the brunt of the effects of dispossession and mal-development.  Rural people are framed as workers and consumers, and not as full rights holders.

What ought to be central to the post 2015 development agenda is attention to the kind of growth generated, and its overall contributions toward wellbeing and sustainability for all. This requires addressing the structural conditions that make economic inequality prevalent among and within countries and social groups. There is no automatic link between economic growth and poverty reduction. Several southern countries are in fact experiencing high “jobless” economic growth due to high prices of commodity exports. Studies have revealed that in some cases gender-based wage inequality had even been a stimulus to economic growth (Seguino 2000). The discussion should therefore be reoriented to identifying specific sources of economic growth, and then evaluating carefully the re-distributional effects of economic policy, as well as ensuring there is respect for human rights and ecological limits.


The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda falls significantly short of providing substantive direction and support to Member states. The framework it promotes downgrades the importance of human rights and environmental sustainability in favor of a model of corporate driven economic growth. But as responsible global and national citizens, we cannot allow the Post 2015 Development Agenda to be a corporate or donor driven agenda. Therefore, DAWN will continue to work with our partners and allies to advance an agenda that truly leads to sustainable and fair development.

From People's Rights to Corporate Privilege: A South Feminist Critique of The HLP Report on Post 2015 Development Agenda


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