Progressio wants High Level Panel to go further on development

By staff writers
June 1, 2013

Progressio has commended the High Level Panel report on post 2015 development for the inclusion of specific goals targeting women and girls.

But water for food and farming remains a big hole in what needs to be a waterproofed development agenda, the NGO declares.

Women and access to water are two cornerstones of development and both need to be supoprted by new poverty eradication goals, it says.

The Panel, co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, has been conducting consultations for the past six months on what should replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.

However, their report shows they are still some way off recognising some of the most basic needs of poor people.

Chris Mweembe, a Progressio development worker based with Environment Africa in Zimbabwe, hoped the report would have an emphasis on "empowering farmers, women's movements and water committees."

A number of these important and popular concerns have not been acknowledged in the report, he notes.

"While we are disappointed that the report did not live up to its potential for water, we are encouraged to see that there is a specific recommendation regarding women and girls, as they are key to the implementation and success of all development programmes and targets," said Lizzette Robleto-Gonzales, Progressio's Governance Policy Officer.

Welcoming the report overall, she added:"By including gender equality specifically, the Panel have highlighted the crucial role women play in development but the Panel should have gone further to specifically consider women in fragile states where governance structures are so weak that they do not allow for women's rights to be upheld."

Progressio says it is disappointed that the Panel has not prioritised the importance of sustainable access to water for food security and livelihoods. Equal access to water for small scale farming is critical to lifting people out of poverty.

"So often we hear from communities that we work with that 'water is life, without it we cannot grow crops and we cannot eat'," the NGO commented.

Lis Martin, Progressio's Environment Policy Officer explained: "Access to water is not just essential for drinking. David Cameron and his co-chairs have failed to recognise the need to address water holistically.

"Without sustainable and equitable access to water for farming for the world's poorest people, especially women, the Panel's vision of a world free from poverty cannot be achieved," she said.

The months ahead must be used to agree targets and indicators for how poor people, especially women, can be key decision-makers in the sustainable management of their natural resources, Progressio believes.

Building upon the consultations that have influenced the report and continuing to listen to people living at the sharp end of poverty is key, so that the next stages of thinking about what replaces the Millennium Development Goals are truly reflective of what poor people need, says the NGO.

* The High Level Panel report can be read in full here: www.post2015hlp.org

* More on Progressio: http://www.progressio.org.uk/

[Ekk/3]

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