Background

The Chair invited HLCP to consider, for possible endorsement by CEB at its second regular session for 2014, a CEB statement on the occasion of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20) which will be commemorated at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, to be held from 9 – 20 March 2015.  He expressed appreciation to UN-Women for taking the lead in producing the draft CEB statement and invited the representative to introduce the Briefing Note. 

Discussion

Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women, briefed the Committee on the status of preparation for Beijing +20, and introduced the draft CEB Statement, which had been prepared in consultation with the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality.  The 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was taking place at a historic moment as the international community was accelerating efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the formulation of a post-2015 development agenda and SDGs. The alignment of these two processes – Beijing+20 and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda – provided a unique opportunity to position gender equality, women’s empowerment and the realization of women’s human rights at the center of the global agenda.

Reviews of the progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action were ongoing at national and regional levels with a view to recognizing achievements and identifying remaining gaps and challenges, and developing strategies for accelerating implementation.  The national and regional review processes would inform the global review which would culminate in the 59th session of the CSW. UN system organizations were encouraged to actively participate in the review processes at all levels as well as the 59th session of CSW. 

In addition, UN Women was organizing, with partners, a series of global events focusing on the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform for Action and on emerging issues, including women and ICT, and the role of men in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.  UN-Women was also undertaking a major communication campaign entitled “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity – Picture It!” to raise public awareness of the issue.  Beijing+20 provided an important opportunity for Member States and the entire UN system to express their re-commitment to the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

In introducing the draft CEB statement, Ms. Puri noted that the statement reaffirmed the Beijing Platform for Action as the global normative framework for achieving gender equality, recognized that gender equality and women’s empowerment were central to sustainable development and called on the post-2015 agenda to be bold and ambitious and foster transformations in gender relations by addressing the root causes of gender inequality.  The draft joint statement expressed the commitment of CEB members to intensify action in support of the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, including through system-wide and coordinated efforts at all levels.  In closing, Mr. Puri invited HLCP members to join the “He for She” campaign (http://www.heforshe.org/), a solidarity movement for gender equality, and informed that a Global Leaders Summit to scale up gender equality commitments was planned for September 2015.

In the ensuing discussion, Committee members expressed strong support for the draft CEB statement and thanked UN-Women for its leadership in this regard. The UN system’s role in advancing a progressive and forward-looking agenda that emphasized women’s and girls’ human rights was noted.  Several members took the opportunity to brief HLCP on agency-specific initiatives in support of Beijing+20: UNFPA was holding an emergency directors’ meeting on gender-based violence; UNDP and UN-Women were organizing a two-day conference on women and poverty; ITU and UN-Women have launched the Gender Empowerment and Mainstreaming in Technology awards (GEM Tech); UNEP and UN-Habitat were preparing analytical reports on women and the environment; and WMO would be holding conference on 5 November 2015 on the theme of gender dimensions of weather and climate services. Some members offered proposals for incorporating additional topics in the draft, including the issue of female genital mutilation; the situation of indigenous women and women with disabilities; and the role of ICT. The Committee also noted that the statement should project a tone that appropriately reflected the voice of top UN officials and requested UN-Women to review and, as appropriate, edit the draft text in this regard.

Action

The Committee:

Agreed that the CEB statement to the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action would be finalized by UN-Women in light of the Committee’s discussion and based on any additional written comments received  (Annex IV). The text would then be submitted to CEB for endorsement and onward transmission to the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.