Monday, December 15, 2014

DECLARATION from the NGO Forum review of the Beijing Platform for Action

We, the 700 participants in our diversity from around 350 groups, networks, and institutions and 56 countries of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region, gathered in Geneva from 3-5 November 2014 for the NGO Forum review of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) 
We recognise and celebrate the significant achievements made in this region impacting women’s lives, as well as at policy and institutional levels.
However, the ECE region is economically and socially diverse, and many changes over the last 20 years raise deep concerns for sustainability, women’s and human rights. We are at a tipping point as a region with convergence of multiple crises: financial, energy, climate and food. The austerity measure response to the economic and financial crises has resulted in unprecedented unemployment, drastic cuts to public expenditures, and household level social and economic insecurity, disproportionately impacting women and girls. We recognize the global demographic shift to an aging population - particularly relevant to our ECE Region. The global gap between rich and poor grows daily.
We face myriad threats to the Beijing commitments. Women experience time poverty; overburdened by unrecognised unpaid work. In addition to gender mainstreaming, we must urgently address the root causes of inequality. Violations of and threats to girls and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights call for protection and advancement of the BPA and prior commitments, ICPD and CEDAW in the post 2015 agenda. Transformation requires addressing the structural and macro issues that perpetuate inequalities, discrimination and exclusion.
The increase in violent extremism, bio-politics, and wide range of population phobias, has resulted in gross violations of human rights of women and girls. Militarization is increasingly used as the answer to conflict, leading to skyrocketing military and arms expenditures at the expense of social and human rights protections.
The approach to development cooperation has been shifting, inextricably linking development, aid, trade, investment and foreign policy; reducing women’s rights to a sub-text of global capitalism rather than central to achievement of peace and sustainable development. Financing for civil society and women’s organising has been reduced to government subcontracting, jeopardizing fundamental civil society self-organizing and partnership.
We are especially appalled by the situation of women in specific regions on particular issues. Increasing unemployment in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and complacency toward women’s issues in Western Europe and North America, reinforce and compound one another. Violence against women and girls remains pervasive, and is further perpetuated through technology and social media. Racial discrimination, especially against migrants who are often undocumented and have no public voice, results in gross violations of women’s rights. Women in vulnerable situations, including Indigenous women and women with disabilities, experience disproportionate rights violations; while girls and older women lack social protections.
Therefore, we call for:
1.      Fulfilment of the Beijing commitments to all human rights and systematic implementation of a women’s rights approach delivered through and monitored by strong well-funded Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women; buttressed by an accountability, resourcing, tax and public fiscal and revenue framework capable of sustainably financing progressive realization of women’s human rights.
2.      Women are at the heart of sustainable development; the post-2015 SDG agenda must include a clear and stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s rights with clearly articulated means of implementation for women’s rights and empowerment. Girls and women’s rights must be recognized throughout the other SDG goals and specific strategies.
3.     CEDAW must remain the framework for monitoring and accountability of BPA commitments.
4.      Demand women’s equal access to resources including land, credit and funding towards intergenerational social, cultural, development, environmental, economic, civil and political rights and justice;
5.     Robust and sustained investment in women and girls’ rights including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; ending violence against all women and girls; and particularly ending child, early and forced marriage as well as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM);
6.     Urgent and systematic focus on women of all ages as users, shapers and leaders of new technologies.
7.    Sharing power with young women and girls as leaders and agents of change and ensure responsibility and accountability of men and boys for gender equality.

5 November, 2014

The Geneva NGO Forum appreciates the extensive volunteer support and contributions of women’s and feminist organizations and individuals, as well as all the partners that supported the Beijing+20 NGO Review especially the Governments of Switzerland, the State of Geneva, the City of Geneva, Canada, the Netherlands, and the USA, among others. We deeply extend our gratitude to the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) and UN Women for their collaboration. The forum was convened by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), Geneva. Further information is available on

Fragmento de obra de Roberto Noboa

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