The year 2015 marks a significant milestone – the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – which is the focus of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59). At the annual high-level gathering, taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9-20 March 2015, global leaders and activists will take stock of progress and remaining challenges for implementing this landmark agreement for gender equality and women's rights. States drafting the Declaration in 1995, identified 12 areas of concern all of which are still relevant challenges today.
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, UN Women launched a global campaign in 2014 titled "Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It", to reignite the urgency behind the Beijing call and galvanize a new generation to address gender equality issues. In the lead-up to the session, a record-breaking 166 countries have also undertaken national reviews on the status of women, and rich contributors from civil society have been generated. These reviews, coupled with the UN Secretary-General's report on Beijing implementation, will be a central focus of CSW59, where leaders will review progress and formulate concrete recommendations to step up their efforts to ensure gender equality and women's empowerment touches the lives of all women and girls worldwide.
Every year, CSW attracts thousands of NGO members and hundreds of country representatives from around the world to discuss critical issues for women, galvanize attention and spur action. Setting a new record this year, more than 1,100 NGOs and a total of 8,600 representatives have registered to participate.
For more information check the CSW59 Website
What was Beijing 1995?
“The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It still remains today the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, everywhere.
This landmark text was the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in September 1995. After two weeks of political debate, exchange of information on good practice and lessons learned, and sharing of experiences, representatives of 189 Governments agreed to commitments that were unprecedented in scope. More than 30,000 people also participated in the Forum of non-governmental organizations in Huairou, a unique space of advocacy, networking, training and knowledge sharing."
Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General.
Summary of the report can be found here.
CSW59 Political Declaration
Usually this document is released at the end of the 2 week session, however this year, the Political Declaration was signed on the first day and has identified 6 specific strategies for gender equality by 2030:
- Do more to strengthen implementation of laws;
- Bolster institutions vital to women’s empowerment;
- Transform discriminatory norms and stereotypes;
- Close resource gaps;
- Boost accountability;
- And enhance capacities and data to track progress
Statement by the International Alliance of Women (The organization I am representing)
"Accountability refers to the obligation of those in authority to take responsibility for their actions, to answer for them to those that are affected and to be subjected to some form of sanctions if their conduct or explanation is found wanting.
Accountability is about empowering people in particular women to articulate their priorities while taking more control over their lives. Accountability is about monitoring the effectiveness of local national, regional as well as international policies and providing data to improve the policies.
The International Alliance of Women will work for the adoption and implementation of participatory monitoring and accountability mechanisms that will make possible the fulfilment of promises held in the Beijing Platform for Action and the post-2015 Development Agenda hoping that this time commitments by duty bearers will prove credible."