Advocacy by Make Mothers Matter at the UN: What impact for mothers?

Three principal areas are at the heart of the UN’s activities:  peace and security, human rights and sustainable development – three areas which directly concern mothers.

The UN doesn’t legislate. However, UN texts which are adopted, form the basis of member states’ policies and are more and more adopted in national and international law. The UN encourages exchanges between states and other stakeholders, including NGOs like MMM, to discuss global issues and to find solutions based on the universal respect for human rights.

MMM strives to influence the policies and laws of UN Member States

Through its advocacy, MMM works to influence the contents of texts adopted by member states by making them aware of the challenges faced by mothers, and by making suggestions and recommendations for policies favourable to mothers.

The aim is thus to influence policies which could eventually be put in place by governments at the national level, and thus bring positive changes to the lives of mothers and their children.

MMM takes part in the following commissions, which are more particularly relevant to mothers:

  • The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW): principal intergovernmental body to establish policies for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Assisted by UN Women, it meets once a year, usually in March, in New York, with one main theme.
  • Commission for Social Development (CSocD): responsible for the follow-up to commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development which was held in Copenhagen in 1995.  It meets once a year in New York, usually in February, when it covers themes central to social development.
  • Human Rights Council (HRC): a body whose principal objective is to examine situations where human rights violations have occurred and to make recommendations for solutions. Apart from violations specific to any one country, the Council deals with thematic questions such as extreme poverty, access to water and sanitation, discrimination towards women, the right to food, violence towards women, health, education, the environment etc. It meets three times a year in Geneva.

By its statements and interventions, Make Mothers Matter brings the “mother” dimension to the discussions, heightens awareness of the challenges mothers face and to the enormous potential which they represent. MMM relies on good practices seen in various countries or already put in place by its member associations in the field.

Follow-up on the implementation of human rights treaties commitments by States

The UN develops international law and identifies the legal responsibility of states in their relationships one to another, but also in the treatment of individuals in their country, based on respect for human rights.

Some international treaties adopted by the UN General Assembly, and open to ratification by states members, more specifically relate to women and MMM’s mission:

  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
  • The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (1979)
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

When a country becomes a party to a treaty, it undertakes to apply the rights and obligations of the treaty to its own national legislation. It must then periodically submit a progress report to a committee of experts which invites it to discuss it with them, and which can issue recommendations.

NGOs like MMM are also listened to by these experts. They can therefore play a role in recommendations made to countries during these sessions.

In Geneva, the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) also regularly looks into the situation of each member state where human rights are concerned, in a process based on cooperation between states. Each state has the right to put forward proposals for improvements in human rights with regard to other countries. These “recommendations” can be largely influenced by NGOs.

 

By working in close collaboration with its network’s member associations who have practical experience in the field,  MMM has the opportunity to influence any country’s national policies.

 

 

Recent News from the UN Delegation

Parents and the society as a whole must be educated on child development and supported to provide security and nurturing care to their children

09.07.19

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM took the opportunity of a discussion on Human Rights to reaffirms a child's rights to develop to their full potential and the importance of supporting and educating parents

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Mothers are not only victims of Climate Change: they also have a specific game-changing purpose

02.07.19

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM calls for the recognition and support of the skills and contributions of women in their multiple roles, including their role in education on sustainable development within

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Businesses must address the motherhood penalty and its root cause – the imbalance of unpaid care work

30.06.19

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - In an oral Statement to the council, MMM also called businesses to promote a more equitable sharing of unpaid family care responsibilities and work between women and men, but a

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Maternal depression and burnout must be acknowledged and addressed – also for Early Childhood Development

27.06.19

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM took the opportunity of the discussion on the right to mental health to draw attention to mental health issues affecting mothers around the world.

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Empowering Mothers for achieving the SDGs

20.06.19

UN New York, HLPF 2019 - We at MMM are convinced that empowering mothers can have a wide-ranging positive impact for the realization of many if not all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This was the key

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The world of work must adapt to people and families, not the other way around

16.06.19

UN Geneva, International Labour Conference - MMM joins the ILO's call for a push for gender equality, and more investment in human capital We also call for a paradigm shift to put people and the planet at the c

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