Next year the global community will mark the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995).
In preparation of this and the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners, the African Union Commission (AUC) and UN Women, are leading member States and stakeholders in the regional review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly.
In her remarks to the meeting, Ms. Thoko Ruzvidzo, Director of the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the ECA, said although progress has been recorded in some areas, a lot remained to be done.
“Let us celebrate the significant achievements made, but also determine a common plan of action. The most critical out of this meeting that we come out with political messages that will galvanize action in the coming ten years before the agenda 2030 comes to an end and another 43 before the 2063 agenda,” she said.
“In order to achieve greater gender equality, we need transformative policies and results, along with adequate and predictable financial resources.”
Ms. Ruzvidzo, who also led the regional review of twenty-five years of implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by going through what member States had presented and a draft report under preparation, said she was elated that so far 49 countries had submitted their progress reports, the biggest ever. More countries are expected to submit theirs before March next year.
She bemoaned the lack of resources and data for hampering efforts to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
To design and implement appropriate policies, while mobilizing greater resources, we need to go beyond business as usual, said the ECA Director.
“We need to disrupt negative stereotyping of women and girls; break social norms and harmful practices that perpetuate inequalities; include women and girls into decision-making processes; harness innovations and technology-based tools for women to leapfrog; allow more women into the formal sectors; empower women in conflict-resolutions and peacebuilding process; and ensure a culture of accountability and effective implementation. These are just a few of many policy directions that are possible to pursue,” said Ms. Ruzvidzo.
She said with only one decade remaining of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, there was need for countries to swiftly and effectively empower women and girls so that they are able to fulfil their human rights and dignity, while improving their socio-economic conditions to achieve a sustainable life.
“In this endeavour, we could certainly utilise our vast experiences in development so to take-off as countries and as one continent, and thereby showcase to the world our achievements in achieving the SDGs and the Aspirations enshrined in AU’s Agenda 2063,” the ECA Director said.
“I believe our meeting this week could generate an effective roadmap for the continent to progress more effectively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.”
Ms. Ruzvidzo took the meeting through the progress report looking at 12 critical areas flagged by the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action which are women and poverty, women in power and decision-making, education and training of women, institutional mechanisms, women and the media, women and the environment, the girl child, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, human rights of women, women and health, and violence against women.
Also under review is the five-year milestone that will be reached towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ms. Ruzvidzo said 2020 would be a pivotal year for the accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere, adding the mistake done in the beginning was failing to put a cost to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.
The Africa regional review of 25 years of implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 4th Specialized Technical Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on the Review of the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (STC on Beijing + 25) are being held in Addis Ababa at the African Union Commission under the theme; Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).