Beijing Platform for Action under the microscope | ACORD @ CSW59
ACORD and UN Women held a side event during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 59 at the United Nations in New York on 17 March 2015.
The panel discussion took stock of the Beijing Platform for Action 20 years after it was implemented. It also marked the launch of “Looking Back, Moving Forward! Multi-stakeholder voices the Beijing Plan of Action,” a report produced by ACORD.
Watch webcast of the event HERE.
ACORD’s Executive Director, Ousainou Ngum, stated that the report was very much an eye opener for him and showed him that if anything, the civil society must re-think its position. Ngum also mentioned that in order for states to act, citizens must be active. He made it clear that the report was meant to highlight the strides that have been made and the distance still to be travelled in the journey to equality.
Highlights from the report were presented by ACORD’s Head of Policy and Advocacy, Salina Sanou. She mentioned that while the report was a preliminary draft and the final draft was not yet complete, the countries that were included in the report (Kenya, Uganda, Chad, Mauritania, Ethiopia and Rwanda) were merely a small fraction but all the countries did share a few common factors. All the countries had faced a conflict at one point or another and they also have a patriarchal system. She went on to state that while there are a great deal of problems, there have been a great deal of strides made in the right direction pointing at the strides made in Kenya and in Uganda towards equitable representation in political circles.
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Lakshmi Puri, reiterated the strides made at the Beijing conference. She insisted that while the preliminary report focused on six African countries, the facts and figures within it were applicable right across Africa. She stated that there was tremendous opportunity across Africa, with progress and legislation to match. She emphasised the need to make the gains of the past conferences and the report turn into irreversible gains.
Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA general-secretary, spoke of Africa and the perception that Africa is not her stereotype, she insisted on the need not only for critical numbers but also for transformative leadership to move away from the systems and mistakes of the past.
The final panelist to speak was Ms. Violet Shivutse of GROOTS Kenya who reminded everyone that there was a great need to communicate with the every-day woman at their level, so that they do not feel neglected by the women leaders who sometimes seem inaccessible.
After all the panelists spoke, the moderator for the discussion, Ms. Lopa Barnejee, Chief, Civil Society Section, UN Women in New York, opened up the floor to questions and comments from the delegates.
The Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) constitutes one of the most important global frameworks for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. It was adopted in 1995 by the Fourth World Conference on Women and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
BPFA outlines strategic objectives and key actions for governments, the international community and civil society, as well as the private sector, to commit to women and girls empowerment through 12 critical areas: poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, the economy, power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights, the media, the environment and the girl child.
For effective implementation, the BPFA has been reviewed each five years to assess country progress, gaps and challenges. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has led this process. There have been three reviews to date: in 2000, 2005 and 2010.
This year’s review of the BPFA is unique as it is the 20th anniversary of the platform. The United Nations Economic and Social Council has called on member states to undertake national level reviews. The outcome of these reviews will contribute to joint regional level reviews in different parts of the word and these will be presented during the 59th session of the CSW and on the website of UN Women.
Read more about ACORD's work for women's rights and gender equality.
Download the report "Looking Back Moving Forward. A regional synthesis report of Beijing +20 reviews from Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Rwanda and Uganda."