Submission to the Government of Canada on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Government of Canada recently posted their Post-2015 Development Agenda. It included Canada’s Core and Cross-Cutting Priorities. A request was made for feedback on Canada’s approach during the negotiations of the Post-2015 Development agenda. The WPSN-C joined other Canadian voices in response.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development has stated that it will be posting a summary of submissions on its website.

Please see our full submission below or as a download.


We are writing as members of the Women, Peace & Security NetworkCanada (WPSNC). The WPSN-C came together to support and monitor Canada’s full compliance with the suite of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122).

We are pleased that the Government of Canada has requested feedback to help inform Canada’s approach during the negotiation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

We note and are encouraged to see the empowerment of women and girls as one of Canada’s core and cross-cutting priorities. We urge you to ensure that this goal and a human rights-based approach inform work on the other two cross-cutting priorities and the full agenda.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda requires an explicit understanding of the connections between sustainable development and the goals of the women, peace and security agenda. Security must be defined by the people involved, in particular women and reflect the priorities of local communities. Human rights, effective participation and reduction in violence are crucial elements. Peace and a reduction in militarism are crucial if progress is to be made on economic development goals.

Bearing this in mind, we urge the Government of Canada, in its approach to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to

  • Strengthen women’s participation and leadership – in all post-2015 discussions and beyond. This involves providing funding for women’s organizations so they can consult with members and bring their voices to local, regional and global discussions. Canada should also endorse and support the active participation of women (including indigenous, local and older women) in the SDG discussions as well as in conflict prevention initiatives, humanitarian response efforts, peace negotiation and conflict resolution processes, and post-conflict reconstruction including the political, economic, health and environment spheres.
  • Playing a credible role on the global stage. Canada must do more than say it is a leader, it must actually lead. This involves ensuring that all Canadian foreign policy levers support the empowerment of women and girls. It also involves being a responsible global player on climate change and ratifying international instruments such as the Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Commit to ambitious financing goals. Canada’s aid budget has declined in recent years. This should be reversed to ensure stable and predictable funding for the SDGs in general and women’s rights objectives in particular. While Canada’s financial commitment to maternal and, newborn health is commendable, it should incorporate a stronger rights-based focus and be complemented by other initiatives. If the empowerment of women and girls is a true priority, we would expect to see long-term Canadian financial commitments to women’s rights initiatives and grassroots organizations in general and women, peace and security initiatives in particular.
  • Strengthen the rights-based approach to the empowerment of women and girls. Global norms like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the UNSC Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security provide a strong normative basis for the rights of women and girls. These international agreements need to be translated into strong action by states. Canada should be a strong supporter of women’s movements and organizations to hold their governments accountable for these commitments.
  • Recognize the principal of ‘universality’ in the post-2015 Social Development Goals in a concrete fashion. This means that Canada’s approach should include robust commitments to ensure that progress is made here at home on key social development issues, including the challenges faced by First Nations populations (including income inequality, domestic assault, sexual abuse and violence by allocating funding for skill-building, creating job opportunities, developing resources to provide refuge from abuse and violence, improve child and community nutrition, safe and affordable housing).

We look forward to continued engagement with the Government of Canada as it prepares for negotiations on the Post-Development agenda as well as during the negotiations and implementation of the agenda.

The observations provided do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of all members of the WPSN-C.

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