Though studies, debates and agreements on development and its financing have been present in international negotiations for decades, they have gained particular importance in recent years as a result of the urgent challenges posed to governments and societies by the complex range of economic, political, social and cultural phenomena known as “globalization”.
The information technology revolution and the ever increasing flow of goods, services, capital and people throughout the world are only some of the most evident manifestations of Globalization. In this process of constant and accelerated transformation, power relations between different actors and at different levels (international, regional, national and local) have been deeply affected with a varying range of results, depending on the type of transformation and the actor in question.
Nevertheless, large segments of the world population, especially within the medium and less developed countries, have seen a significant deterioration in their standards of living. Many people have not benefited from the advancements and opportunities
that globalization offers and, in numerous instances have been negatively affected by it - in this context women are one of the most affected groups.
Although important progress has been made since the First United Nations Conference on Women (Mexico, 1975), women, especially those belonging to the poorest and most marginalized sectors, still live in disadvantaged conditions that limit the free exercise of their rights and their capacity for development. There is thus a need for the implementation of concrete actions to rectify these conditions and guarantee women’s development and by extension, the development of their societies.
It is therefore of primary importance to foster research, participation and monitoring, not only of national and international agencies but also of civil society organizations dedicated to the advancement of women in the negotiations and implementation of
international agreements relating to development. Two tasks are particularly urgent: 1) integration of the principles and actions contained in internationally agreed resolutions on women’s empowerment (Cairo, Beijing) in agreements on financing for development; and 2) monitoring of the progress made on the implementation of the first task from a gender perspective.
As will be demonstrated, the existing international agreements on development, especially those known as the “Monterrey Consensus” include very limited commitments on gender equality. It is thus important to strive for a greater introduction of measures to strengthen gender equality in conceptual, financial and operational terms, while also assuring the implementation of already accepted measures.