Civil society organisations delivered a statement on 19 November 2014 at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing +20 Review expressing their disappointment at the outcome of the intergovernmental review of the Beijing Platform for Action in the region.
From 17-20 November, States reviewed the Beijing Platform for Action, which is a global policy framework for the advancement of women's human rights and gender equality. Next year sees the 20th anniversary of the framework, and the review process is known as the 'Beijing+20 Review.'
GAATW was present at the event alongside other civil society organisations from the region to bring our key messages and recommendations to governments. Read the civil society outcome statement from the Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing+20 for more information.
Below is the Civil Society Statement on Agenda Item 5: Review of forward-looking policies to address challenges in achieving gender equality and women's empowerment, and opportunities for accelerating the implementation of the BPfA in the post-2015 era, delivered on 19 November 2014 by Abia Akram, CSO Steering Committee.
The Beijing Platform for Action is an unfinished agenda. We therefore regret the lack of progress on women's rights and the rollbacks in commitments we have seen here in the last two days, despite the support of the majority of governments for an advancement in gender equality and the realisation of women's rights. In light of this, it is especially critical that the following three issues to be addressed if the BPfA is to be implemented in the post-2015 era.
The first is the need for strong means of implementation to support the realisation of women's rights and gender equality. This requires more than simply increasing financing for sector-specific measures; it requires reform of all macroeconomic policies that undermine women's livelihoods including privatisation and liberalisation policies that increase the cost of essential needs-based services and weaken labour protections. It requires rejecting trade and investment agreements that restrict the regulatory sovereignty of governments. Further, it requires that any contribution of the private sector be contingent on the existence of binding human rights and environmental protection frameworks, given the historical and current role of corporations in perpetuating a fundamentally inequitable model of development.
Second, it requires the creation of clear, measurable, time-bound targets and indicators for each of the Critical Areas and their strategic objectives, to which governments must be held accountable. This must be supported by a process of comprehensive, disaggregated data collection, which provides for the input of civil society to complement government-generated data.
Third, we urge governments to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda reinforces governments' commitments under the Beijing Platform, as well the commitments made by governments in other regional and international processes. We cannot talk of sustainable development without recognition of and respect for the human rights of women and girls in all their diversity, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and without the meaningful participation of women and girls in the creation of the post- 2015 development framework. This goes beyond the inclusion of a strong stand-alone gender goal; it requires ensuring that the post-2015 development agenda as a whole is a feminist agenda that advances women's rights and gender equality. These should be integrated into targets and indicators of all goals in the post-2015 development framework.
Women and girls and the full realisation of their human rights – recognised, attested to, and signed on by all member states present here – must be the goal of any development framework which aims to create a more inclusive equal, equitable, just and sustainable world for all.