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HOME: POPULATION ISSUES: PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY: Beijing at 10
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The Beijing at 10 Review

49th session of the Commission for the Status of Women
28 February 11 March, 2005 in New York

Time to turn words into deeds

Ten years have passed since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. And it is time for action, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya A. Obaid told the plenary session of the Commission on the Status of Women during the 10-year review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action.

We are on a journeya journey for equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity

The challenge we face in 2005 and beyond is to turn these lofty words into deeds. To do this, we need stronger political commitment and partnerships, increased resources, greater capacity, and accountability, she told the group.

On the occasion of International Women's Day, Ms. Obaid also issued a statement strongly reaffirming the Beijing commitments Now is the time to energize efforts to put gender equality at the top of the international peace and development agenda, she said.

These were just two of UNFPA's many inputs into the Beijing at Ten review (see below), including participation in side events on girls' education, gender-based violence, refugees and youth. In addition, Ms. Obaid addressed a high-level event on maternal mortality hosted by UNFPA and WHO and attended by over 100 ministers and first ladies from Africa, the Arab States, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

UNFPA's strong participation in the Beijing at Ten review reflects the centrality of gender equality and women's empowerment to the achievement of the Cairo Consensus the guides the Fund and to the Millennium Development Goals that serve as a framework for international cooperation to reduce poverty and improve lives.

Women are at very heart of sustainable development and the fight against poverty.

This idea is central to the Cairo Consensus that guides UNFPA, the Beijing Platform of Action now under review, and the Millennium Development Goals, which grew out of Beijing, Cairo and other international conferences of the 1990s.

These three development platforms converge in their affirmation of womens human rights and the recognition that solving the worlds most pressing problems demands the full participation and empowerment of the worlds women. This point was reaffirmed by the a recent expert report from the Millennium Project.

There remains, however, a wide gap between principles and practices. Discrimination and violence against women remain pervasive, even though most countries now have policies in place to address these inequities.

UNFPA is committed to closing this gap. The Funds progress in implementing the Cairo Consensus also advances the Beijing Platform of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. In fact, these three development platforms strongly reinforce each other.

For instance, the strong emphasis that Beijing placed on womens rights and empowerment is fundamental both to what UNFPA does and to how it does it. Moreover, the Fund is addressing each of the twelve critical areas of concern identified at Beijing.

UNFPAs work very directly contributes to Millennium Development goals 3 (promoting gender equality and empowering women), 4 (reducing child mortality), 5 (improving maternal health), and 6 (combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). But UNFPAs focus on reproductive health and population issues, and its emphasis on women and youth, is central toward the achievement of all of the MDGs.

In addition to its participation in many Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) activities and site events, UNFPA's inputs to the Beijing at 10 review include:

  • contributions to a photo exhibition highlighting the UNs work toward the advancement of women

  • co-sponsorship of online discussions on womens health

  • advocacy materials outlining the linkages between Cairo and Beijing and arguing for greater investment in women as a means to sustainable development

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