This booklet examines extent to which the Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) are incorporated into national development plans of South Asian governments. It also examines how far health statistics on each country are taken into account by South Asian governments while planning.
The main argument of the book as is that the health sections of most national development plans only partially take into account the Concluding Observations of CEDAW. The gaps were larger in countries recovering from conflict and where democratic spaces were lesser. The gaps between Concluding Observations and national development plans were largest with regard to ‘controversial’ issues’ like providing treatment to survivors of violence against women as well as for low priority issues like women's mental health. Further, the gaps were wider with regard to health/sexual and reproductive health of ‘controversial groups’; like unwed adolescent girls and women, and women who were married but in other relationships. To address this gap it is suggested that the CEDAW encourages South Asian governments to incorporate comments on each sector into their national planning process, and report back to the CEDAW . It is also suggested that the CEDAW and the national governments together identity gender and health experts (well versed with the Convention), public health financing experts, women’ federations and women’s health rights groups who could be part of the planning process of the health section of the national development plan. Lastly, the national governments and other stakeholders, while planning the health section, must identify and analyse sex-disaggregated data on health financing, health risks, health systems, health laws, health services and health outcomes. There is a danger that if such analysis and integration does not happen the Concluding Observations, gender and health statistics and national development plans go in different directions.