The 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF2018), an annual accountability mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be hosted at the UN Headquarters in New York from Monday, 9 July, to Wednesday, 18 July 2018.

This year, the forum will be reviewing SDG implementation, with a specific attention given to water and sanitation (Goal 6), sustainable energy (Goal 7), sustainable cities (Goal 11), consumption and production (Goal 12), the protection of terrestrial ecosystems (Goal 15) and sustainable development on partnership for the goals (Goal 17). The theme will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

As part of WILPF’s work to improve multilateral action for conflict prevention, gender equality and peace, our Women, Peace and Security Programme will monitor the forum and work with our coalition the Women’s Major Group around gender and conflict issues. Our main focus this year will be on Goal 17 regarding means of implementation and accountability.

To support our action, today we are launching a social media campaign aimed at mobilising the recognition of Member States, the UN and the international community of local women’s important work and strengthening action that implements the SDGs in a way that works for women in conflict situations.

What Is WILPF’s SDG Social Media Campaign About?

Each day, women peace activists and women human rights defenders around the world contribute – directly and indirectly – to ensure sustainable development across all SDGs, basing their actions on disarmament, women’s meaningful participation, and human rights.

In Colombia, more than 100 provisions on gender, including zero tolerance on sexual and gender- based violence, were integrated into the peace agreement based on women civil society’s recommendations.

In Nigeria, women are mobilising to prevent and address violence both around and outside of elections, as well as build networks that support women’s political participation.

In Sweden, civil society has utilised the SDG commitment to promoting policy coherence to strengthen advocacy on restricting arms exports to countries that discriminate against women and addressing immigration and asylum policy.

Key Challenge: Securitising Development

However, our analysis and the work of our partners and sections, including WILPF Sweden and the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, also demonstrates that the SDGs are not always addressed from a conflict and/or a gender lens. Gender and peace financing remain far from a reality, with militarisation and arms proliferation remain the challenges that have not been taken into consideration by the world’s leaders.

In addition, some states have taken #MoveTheMoney in the wrong direction: As Anna Möller-Loswick of SaferWorld has recently shared, the 2016 expansion of OECD-DAC aid “risks diverting aid more towards a military agenda for fighting wars rather than non-violent, preventative and developmental approaches.” Meanwhile, as she also notes, a third of all US foreign aid in 2015 went to military aid and security assistance.

This approach is not sustainable. The UN Secretary General’s focus on prevention recognises that sustaining peace requires a pivot away from short term crisis response and toward long term prevention. This requires supporting local women’s work for nonviolence and justice, and building social systems that realise women’s political participation and economic, social, and cultural rights.

Our Demands: What do we want?

WILPF believes the SDGs have the potential to be an important tool for addressing conflict prevention gaps and moving from political economies of war to political economies of peace and gender justice. This requires implementation through a human rights framework that addresses other obligations, including on disarmament, women’s human rights and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

However, current approaches are moving in the wrong direction.

One year from now, in 2019, the High Level Political Forum will review SDG 16 on Peaceful societies. One year ahead of this review, it is important that governments recognise that military aid is not the answer to SDG 16.

If the SDGs are going to work for women in conflict, they must act as a lever to increase investment in gender equality and peace, rather than rationalising further security investments in the name of development. And they must push transformative, rather than incremental action:

  • This includes shifting the balance of power in the financial architecture to address systemic issues and create the conditions to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
  • This requires Member States to recognise their extra-territorial obligations, including around regulating arms that risk gender-based violence.
  • This requires strengthening policy coherence, consistent with both SDG 5 and 16 as well as UNSCR 1325 and the Arms Trade Treaty
  • This is based on reorienting peace work around local women’s experiences and voices for justice and rights.

Goals can only be successful if structural barriers, including gendered inequalities, are addressed for every person everywhere, including in conflict areas.

Key Messages

The 2030 Agenda is a critical opportunity. A universal agenda means SDGs that work for women and girls in conflict. This requires:

  • Women’s meaningful participation: Political and financial support for national, regional and global civil society engagement mechanisms to ensure local women’s meaningful participation for justice with impact (consistent with Rio Principle 10);
  • Extra-territorial accountability: National reporting and action to eliminate SGBV (SDG 5.2) due to arms (16.4) (consistent with the Arms Trade Treaty gender criterion);
  • Peace financing: National reporting on military versus social expenditure (SDG 17.2) and action to #MoveTheMoney from war to gender equality (consistent with Beijing Platform (E2) and Agenda 21 (22.16) (rather than the opposite direction);
  • Enabling environment: International financial architecture that creates the conditions to respect, protect and fulfill human rights by addressing systemic issues, including gender inequality and arms proliferation.

How can you support WILPF’s SDG social media campaign?

We have developed 17 visuals for you to use on social media to raise awareness: one for each SDG. Each visual highlights some of our many local WILPF and partner actions. We will be posting 1-2 visuals per day during the High Level Political Forum (9-18 July) and we hope you will join us!

  • Download the visuals you wish to share below;
  • Use our WILPF and the SDGs image as your Facebook and Twitter profile picture during the campaign
  • Share visuals on your social media channels; and
  • Tag WILPF and our Women, Peace and Security Programme (Twitter: @WILPF and @Peace_Women; Facebook: @WILPF and @WILPFPeaceWomen; Instagram: @wilpf).
  • Use hashtags: #WomenLead2030; #MoveTheMoney


Find #WomenLead2030 Social Media Toolkit here>>

Read more about WILPF’s #WomenLead2030 Campaign here>>