From 1-12 March 2010, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) undertook a fifteen-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly marked the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in a commemorative meeting during CSW on 2nd March 2010. The key message from the General Assembly was that "gender equality and women’s empowerment is key to long-term development, economic growth and social advancement for all".
The CSW forwarded a draft decision ‘Declaration on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women’ to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for adoption and for transmission to the General Assembly for endorsement.
In the Declaration, the representatives of the Governments’ participating at the 54th session of the CSW:
- Reaffirm the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and the declaration of the Commission on the Status of Women on the tenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women;
- Welcome the progress made thus far towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women, stress that challenges and obstacles remain in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and, in this regard, pledge to undertake further action to ensure their full and accelerated implementation;
- Emphasize that the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is essential to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, and stress the need to ensure the integration of a gender perspective in the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on accelerating progress towards the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015;
- Recognize that the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the fulfillment of the obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are mutually reinforcing in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women;
- Call upon the United Nations system, international and regional organizations and all sectors of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, as well as all women and men, to fully commit themselves and intensify their contributions to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
The following Resolutions were agreed and submitted to ECOSOC where they were adopted.
- 54/1 Declaration on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women;
- 54/2 Women, the girl child and HIV and AIDS;
- 54/3 Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts;
- 54/4 Women’s economic empowerment;
- 54/5 Eliminating maternal mortality and morbidity through the empowerment of women;
- 54/6 Strengthening the institutional arrangements of the United Nations for support of gender equality and the empowerment of women by consolidating the four existing offices into a composite entity;
- 54/7 Ending female genital mutilation.
The then Minister of State for Equality, Disability and Mental Health, Mr. John Moloney, TD attended the Commission on the Status of Women and delivered a Statement on behalf of Ireland. The Irish Permanent Mission to the United Nations hosted a side event on Maternal Mortality, chaired by HE Ambassador Anne Anderson with the participation of former President Mary Robinson, Ms Melanie Verveer (President Obama’s Ambassador at Large on Women’s Affairs), Ministers from two Irish Aid partner countries (Tanzania and Sierra Leone) and Minister Moloney.
Resolution 54/4 was the most relevant to the Gender Equality sector in Ireland while the remaining resolutions were of interest to colleagues from Department of Foreign Affairs and Irish Aid.
Resolution 54/4 on Women’s economic empowerment, notes that women’s economic empowerment is crucial in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, and contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Resolution recognises that recovery measures should take into account the negative impact of the financial and economic crisis on women and men and should integrate gender equality concerns in all response measures. The Resolution also notes that women’s economic empowerment is a key factor that contributes to sustainable economic development.
The Resolution calls on States, inter alia:
- To incorporate gender perspectives into social and economic policies;
- To adopt and apply a systematic approach across all areas and at all levels in order to accelerate women’s full participation in economic decision-making at all levels and ensure the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation and evaluation of economic and development policies;
- To develop and implement gender-sensitive policies and programmes aimed at promoting women’s economic empowerment, including through enhancing their access to full and productive employment and decent work for all and to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, and at supporting women’s technical, managerial and entrepreneurial capacities and initiatives, with the aim of ensuring sustainable and adequate income generation and empowering women as equal partners with men in these fields;
- To fulfil their commitments to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and to ensure the equal access of women and girls to education for all; and
- To adopt and apply effective measures, including legislative measures, to ensure the application of the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for equal work or work of equal value, to promote equality of opportunity and treatment among men and women in respect of employment and occupation, and to enable persons with family responsibilities who are engaged or wish to engage in employment to be able to do so.