CSOs welcome participation, but question lack of progressive language and effective means for implementation
The Asia-Pacific States adopted the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment today. The declaration includes the States' commitments to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and will feed into the global review process dialogue to be held in 2015 at the 59th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).
In a press statement civil society organizations from across the Asia Pacific region expressed their disappointment at the regressive outcomes document agreed to by the States. They questioned the lack of progressive language on sexual rights and on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). CSOs also reiterated the need for accountability and financial and political will to ensure States' commitments under the BPfA, including ensuring that these commitments are included in the post 2015 development agenda.
CSOs welcomed stronger language on migration issues, women and the media, and women in conflict situations. They also welcomed the opportunity to participate in the review process, including through active caucuses representing women with disabilities and young women.
The Queen Mother of Bhutan, Her Majesty Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Shamshad Akhtar, and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Mr. Enele Sopoaga, closed the ceremony of the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review. The Queen, Mrs. Akhtar, and Mr. Sopoaga lit a symbolic globe with the words "moving gender equality forward." The conference ended when participants joined Thai singer Nadda Viyakarnand in performing "I am Woman" by Australian singer Helen Reddy.