Equal Rights – Equal Responsibilities

President's letter

Beijing + 20 – Economic Commission for Europe Intergovernmental meeting 6-7 November 2014 Geneva

By on 16 January 2015

Resolution 2013/18 of the Economic and Social Council encouraged the United Nations Regional Commissions to undertake a regional review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the Twenty-Third special session of the General Assembly to assess progress made toward gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe decided to hold the Regional Review Meeting on 6 and 7 November 2014 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

The meeting focused on five thematic panels on the following key issues: long-term trends in gender equality and the empowerment of women in the ECE region, closing gender gaps through economic and social policies, women’s representation in policy making and decision-making, ending violence against women and girls, governance and gender justice, and gender equality for sustainable development.

The meeting concluded that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action are as relevant today as they were twenty years ago. Governments and all actors addressed in the Beijing documents should be encouraged to finally implement the commitments undertaken in Beijing in 1995.

Despite progress, the current pace of change is too slow. There is a need to develop and implement comprehensive, well-funded strategies to accelerate change. This requires a transformational agenda.

The post-2015 development agenda represents an opportunity to reaffirm that gender equality is a pre-condition for sustainable development. There is a need to maintain high ambitions for gender equality and human rights for women and girls in the negotiations on the post 2015 Development Agenda.

Preventing and combating violence against women and girls are essential preconditions for equitable and inclusive sustainable development.

Increasing women’s economic participation is a precondition for their empowerment and economic independence and it has a positive overall economic impact.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights remains an area where there is a critical need to carry out more effective actions.

Legal frameworks and instruments to protect women’s rights have an important role to play, including the implementation of the CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention.

The implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 is crucial to address gender-based violence in conflict situations and to involve women actively in peace processes.

In order to speed up change, it is essential that more men and boys are involved as agents for change in gender equality issues. The meeting adopted a Declaration and Recommendations.

Recommendations and Declaration

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About the Author

About the Author: Joanna Manganara is the President of the International Alliance of Women, and a former Minister-Counselor for human rights at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. .

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