United Nations-led Conference Opens on Gender Equality and Women?s Empowerment

Bangkok (ESCAP News) — The United Nations Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) opened the ?Asian and Pacific Conference
on Gender Equality and Women?s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review? today, with
its gaze firmly fixed on advancing the status of women and girls in the
region.

?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,? said United Nations Under-Secretary-General
and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, in her opening address
to more than 700 participants including ministers and representatives of
civil society. ?This Conference provides a unique opportunity to recommit
Asia and the Pacific to the goal of gender equality and the means of
accelerating the realization of human rights and opportunities for all
women and men, girls and boys.?

The Conference will review the progress and remaining challenges, and
identify priority actions, for achieving gender equality and women?s
empowerment in Asia and the Pacific. The Conference is convened by ESCAP,
in cooperation with UN Women, in advance of next year?s 20-year
commemoration of the adoption of the global agenda for gender equality ?
the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

In her video message to the Conference, the Executive Director of UN Women,
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, stressed: ?Member states are moving into the final
stage of crafting the post-2015 development framework, it is vital that in
your regional and global development cooperation you remain vigilant in
this process to maintain a strong gender goal as well as the targets and
indicators on gender equality across other goals.?

In her keynote address, Her Majesty Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk, the Queen
Mother of Bhutan, highlighted the urgency of eliminating violence against
women and girls, stating that the ?eradication of violence from the lives
of women and girls, along with peace, democracy and sustainable development
in the region, will become possible 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.?

Addressing the opening session, Mr. Yongyuth Yuthavong, Deputy Prime
Minister of Thailand 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.?

Over the next two days, 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, including such
measures as strengthening government institutions and accountability,
forging stronger partnerships and enhancing financing.

The Asia-Pacific Conference concludes on 20 November with the anticipated
adoption of 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.

For further information, contact:

Ms. Francyne Harrigan, Chief, Strategic Communications and Advocacy
Section, ESCAP, M: (66) 81 835 8677 / E: harriganf@un.org

Ms. Francesca Ross, Public Information Officer, Strategic Communications
and Advocacy Section, ESCAP, M: (66) 0846 852897 / E: rossf@un.org

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