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Library Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document

Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document

Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document

Resource information

Date of publication
January 2011

Below you can find excerpts of the Women's Major Group submission for the consultation on the Zero-Draft of  the Outcome Document for Rio+20. I invite you to read the full submission on the official Rio+20 website. The submission, signed by several organisations also working on tenure and natural resources issues, identifies "Women's land rights and ownership tenure, and prevention of land grabbing" and "Food security and food sovereignty: women's voice over agriculture and biodiversity" as two of the nine key emerging issues to be tackled at Rio+20. Women's land rights are mentioned several times as a key element in achieving gender equality and creating an equitable and sustainable world. Notably, when it comes to advocate for more gender-sensitive Sustainable Development Goals, the first one identified by the submission is to: "Secure women’s greater access and control over assets, land tenure, inputs and natural resources including traditional common lands". Hope this submission would help in strengthening the profile of women's rights issues, including those related to tenure of natural resources, in the Rio+20 Conference.

[From the Rio+20 website] The Women's major group has submitted its input for the zero-draft for Rio+20. The submission was developed over the last 6 months by over 70 women's organizations from over 40 countries worldwide. Throughout the world women are key actors in maintaining the sustaining livelihoods and welfare of their families and communities, and in making a transition to a more equitable and sustainable world. The Women's major group asks that governments in Rio+20:

  • Sustainable and equitable economies : Commit to gender-sensitive development of binding international and national measure

  • Governance of sustainable development: Commit to gender-sensitive development of binding international and national measure

  • Commit to targets and indicators for women’s engagement

  • Include gender equality goals in Sustainable Development Goals

Also, Women ask attention for the following "emerging issues" and ask actions are agreed on them in Rio+20:

  • Food security and food sovereignty: Women’s voice over agriculture and biodiversity

  • Rush for Land: Women’s land rights and ownership tenure, and prevention of land grabbing

  • Halt privatization and commodification of the commons: Women most affected

  • Women and children’s greater harm from radiation: Need for phasing out of nuclear

  • Promotion of clean renewable energy technologies and phasing out of unsustainable energy

  • Strengthen gender priority in Climate Change policies

  • Women and migration

  • Women and children at risk: Need for new approaches to minimizing risks of novel technologies and chemicals

  • New challenges to water availability: Burden for women

Excerptsof the Women's Major Group Summary follow:

Women’s Vision for Rio+20: an Equitable and Sustainable World
Social equity, gender equality and environmental justice must form the heart of sustainable development, and of the outcomes of the Rio+20 UN conference in 2012. Twenty years after the first Rio conference, great social and economic inequities still remain. These inequities especially affect women and children, who make up the majority of those living in poverty.

Measures to ensure equity, equality, social and environmental justice need to be prioritized, as these are the cornerstones for achieving sustainable development globally. These measures should promote:

Gender equality in all spheres of our societies: education, employment, ownership and control over resources, access to justice, political representation, institutional decision-making, care giving and household and community management. A world where women can fully deploy their potential in all spheres of our societies, meaning without gender-based violence, where women share in land ownership and financial resources, where women and girls are equally represented in all areas and in which women’s sexual and reproductive rights are assured.


4. Views on the ‘Objective of the Conference’ including ‘Emerging Issues’
(this section refers to point 4.a. of the Rio+20 guidelines for submissions)

The Rio+20 agenda includes setting priorities for work on “Emerging Issues”. Women’s priority and sectoral issues, including some identified among the UNEP Foresight 21 Challenges for the 21st Century List, include:

Food security and food sovereignty: Women’s voice over agriculture and biodiversity
Women produce much of the world’s food. They need secure land tenure and resource rights to ensure their productivity. Their traditional knowledge about seeds, farming skills and livestock management needs to be recognized. Given that women constitute more than 50% of those who “go to bed hungry every night” (World Disasters Report on Hunger), food security systems need to address issues of equitable distribution of food, and need to address reasons behind crop failures, collapsing fish stocks and food price increases, including large-scale industrial bio-energy production. A review of the unfair legal framework for intellectual property in this field is needed to defend food security and food sovereignty, especially for women. Effective measures should be adopted at the global level to prevent speculation in the food market and maintain sustainable fishing practices both near shore and on the high seas. To increase the social and environmental resilience of communities and prevent loss of agricultural biodiversity, women’s production needs to be supported, including through improved access to education, resources and markets. To defend food security and food sovereignty, their rights to choose what to plant, eat and sell, must also be ensured.

Rush for Land: Women’s land rights and ownership tenure, and prevention of land grabbing
Women’s land rights need to be ensured. Women farmers and indigenous peoples are currently losing their territories, resources and livelihoods in the grabbing of land by governments, local and foreign investors, including for large-scale bioenergy production. This results in increased in poverty and lack of food security and food sovereignty. The increasing influence of corporations and other economic actors over environmental policies is also leading to privatization of common lands. Women are among the main victims of this trend, as they are deprived of access to resources that are of essential importance to their livelihoods and communities. These practices should be halted and community and indigenous rights should be respected, protected and strengthened. In consultation with women’s groups, plans need to be put in place at all levels to ensure that land purchases do not threaten and compromise the livelihood of rural women.


The world stands at a crossroads, and the future of our planet Earth and its human communities lays in (y)our hands. United in our diversity we, women from all regions in the world, call on our governments and other stakeholders to renew the commitments on equitable and sustainable development made at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. We commit ourselves to contribute to a peaceful and healthy planet, in which human rights are well respected and women’s voices are well-represented. We urge you to act in the spirit of global solidarity, trust, environmental and social care, and incorporate our recommendations into Rio+20 decisions.

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