Asia-Pacific conference on gender equality begins in Bangkok

Ministers, mostly women affairs, of the UN Asia-Pacific region have convened at its regional headquarters in Bangkok with an aim to agree on a common gender goal for the post-2015 development agenda.

Nurul Islam Hasibfrom
Published : 19 Nov 2014, 08:10 AM
Updated : 19 Nov 2014, 08:10 AM

The two-day conference styled ‘Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 review’ comes ahead of next year’s 20-year celebration of the adoption of the global agenda for gender equality –the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened the conference in cooperation with UN Women.

“This 20 year review of the Platform for Action occurs at the nexus between the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals and the formulation of Sustainable Development Goals,” ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar said in her opening address.

More than 700 participants including ministers and representatives of civil society have attended the opening.

She said this conference provided “a unique opportunity” to recommit Asia and the Pacific to the goal of gender equality.

Delegates to the conference will discuss and identify strategies for accelerating implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, as a key means of achieving gender equality.

They will also discuss measures for strengthening government institutions and accountability, forging stronger partnerships and enhancing financing in this regard.

In her video message, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka urged member states to remain vigilant so that a strong goal with required indictors and targets find a place in the next sustainable development goals.

The Queen Mother of Bhutan Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk presented the keynote paper at the opening.

She highlighted the urgency of eliminating violence against women and girls.

It would be possible, she said, when “women and girls are valued, when their ability to fully and freely exercise their human rights is wholly supported, when there is equality in the exercise of power and when decisions are made to fully resource comprehensive and evidenced-based interventions.”

Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Yongyuth Yuthavong underlined that “gender equality is a matter of human rights and is integral to the peaceful, equitable and democratic development of our country and of the region.”

The conference before ending on Thursday was expected to adopt the “Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, which will serve as the regional voice in next year’s global discussions and agenda setting.