UN Member States in the Asia-Pacific and Arab regions affirmed their commitments to accelerate and intensify actions toward gender equality, at regional review meetings organized by the UN regional commissions in November.
Both review meetings resulted in regional declarations that will inform CSW 64 and Beijing+25.
UN Member States in the Asia-Pacific and Arab regions affirmed commitments to accelerate and intensify actions toward gender equality, at their respective regional meetings leading to the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-64). The Arab regional review quantified and highlighted the economic value of gender equality, noting that women’s participation in the economy could increase the region’s GDP by USD1.5 trillion by 2025. The Asia-Pacific review meeting pledged to strengthen national capacities to collect and use disaggregated data to provide a clear picture of the gender gap.
In addition to informing CSW 64 in March 2020, the regional reviews also comprise the preparations for the 25-year review of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action. This anniversary (Beijing+25) will be marked with a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly in September 2020.
The Asia-Pacific meeting took place from 27-29 November 2019, in Bangkok, Thailand, organized by UN Women and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP). It resulted in a 13-page document outlining a wide range of actions toward gender equality, including commitments to integrate a gender-responsive approach into national follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and Beijing+25.
The Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+25 Review expresses concern about the negative impacts of rising inequalities, rapid demographic change and climate change, which, it is noted, hampers efforts toward gender equality. The Declaration covers many actions in the areas of, inter alia: equitable and inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work; poverty eradication; environmental conservation, climate action and resilience-building; and peaceful and inclusive societies.
The Arab review found that women’s participation in the economy could increase the region’s GDP by USD1.5 trillion by 2025.
The meeting of UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Member States convened in Amman, Jordan, on 28 November 2019, organized by UN Women and ESCWA. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, League of Arab States (LAS), lamented that Arab women’s economic participation remains the lowest globally, stressing that this is “no longer acceptable.”
The Arab Declaration on Progress in the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action after 25 years highlights the challenges of poverty, unemployment, widening class inequalities and the impacts of terrorism in the region. Member States call for, inter alia: continued review of national legislation to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women; greater commitment to UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security; and adoption of a new Security Council resolution to address the situation of women in the State of Palestine.
Regional review meetings for Africa and Europe took place in October 2019. [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Regional Review Process] [ESCWA Press Release] [ESCAP Press Release][ENB coverage of the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995]