Cablegate: Ece - Beijing+15 Regional Review Meeting

Published: Fri 6 Nov 2009 01:15 PM
DE RUEHGV #0988/01 3101315
R 061315Z NOV 09 ZDK
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: ECE - Beijing+15 Regional Review Meeting
1. SUMMARY. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
(ECE) convened its "Beijing+15 Regional Review" meeting, November
2-3, 2009, in Geneva. The meeting will feed into next year's
session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to be
held at UN headquarters on March 1-12, 2010. The 2010 CSW will
undertake as part of its work a fifteen-year review of the
implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), in 1995
(Beijing+15 commemoration). The main purpose of the ECE meeting was
to take stock of the progress made in the region on gender equality
and women's empowerment and to address the major challenges ahead.
2. France chaired the ECE Beijing+15 meeting, with Albania, Norway,
and Ukraine serving as vice-chairs. Jan Kubis, Executive Secretary
of the ECE, and Carolyn Hannan, Director of the UN Division for the
Advancement of Women, made opening remarks. ECE members and
representatives of accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
were invited to participate. It should be noted that NGOs
participated actively, and made several formal and informal
statements. The Beijing+15 review process includes the submission
of national reports by UN member states, which are subsequently
posted on the websites of the respective UN regional commissions.
The U.S. report has been drafted and will be submitted to the ECE in
the very near future.
Remarks by Carolyn Hannan, Director, UN Division for the Advancement
of Women
--------------------------------------------- ----------
3. In her opening remarks, Carolyn Hannan, speaking on behalf of
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, highlighted significant events that
will take place in 2010. In addition to the CSW (March 1-12, at UN
headquarters), there are the following:
-- The Annual Ministerial Review of ECOSOC, in July, will focus on
"Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in
regard to gender equality and empowerment of women."
-- The UN General Assembly will include a high-level event on women,
in September.
-- The 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on
Women, Peace, and Security, will occur in October.
-- The 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the 10th
anniversary of its Optional Protocol will occur in December.
4. Hannan highlighted progress in the UN over the last five years:
-- In October 2006, the Secretary General's in-depth study on all
forms of violence against women was launched in the UN General
-- In 2008, the Secretary General launched his UNiTE to end violence
against women campaign, and has reached out to involve male
-- In 2008 and 2009, Security Council Resolutions 1820, 1888, and
1889 were adopted.
-- In March 2009, the Secretary General launched his database on
violence against women. 81 countries have provided input.
-- The Interagency Task Force on violence against women has pilot
projects in ten countries.
-- The UN Trust Fund on violence against women continues to attract
-- More states continue to ratify CEDAW and its Optional Protocol.
-- Recent CSW Agreed Conclusions have contained concrete
recommendations at the global and regional levels.
-- Active women's groups and networks continue to be formed.
5. Hannan said further progress is needed in the following areas:
-- combating violence against women in conflict and post-conflict
-- improving maternal health (MDG 5);
-- increasing women's participation in decision-making, including
increasing women's representation in national parliaments;
-- increasing women's participation in economic decision-making, and
their access to economic and financial resources, including land,
property, and housing;
-- lifting women out of poverty, as women are disproportionately
represented in the informal sector or perform unpaid work.
6. Hannan also commented on the new composite gender entity, noting
that a three-year process led to the adoption of UNGA Resolution
63/311 on "System-Wide Coherence." She reported that the Secretary
General wants to move quickly on setting up a composite entity. He
looks to member states for decisions on the details of the entity by
the 2010 CSW. These would include specifics on the entity's
staffing, funding, governance, and reporting lines.
Statements by ECE members
7. Statements by the ECE members highlighted advancements made and
challenges remaining.
Achievements mentioned by delegates included: women's participation
in the labor market; women's political participation at local
levels; new or strengthened legislation on gender-based violence;
and the creation or strengthening of institutional mechanisms on
gender equality and women's empowerment.
Remaining challenges included: the gap between legislation and
implementation; decent work for women and labor market segregation;
the gender pay gap; the situation of migrant women and women
belonging to minority groups; the persistence of gender stereotypes;
the lack of sex-disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data; and
the inclusion of men in advancing gender equality, including through
better sharing of family responsibilities.
U.S. Statement
8. The U.S. statement addressed recent trends, ongoing challenges,
and areas on which we believe the United Nations and member states
should focus: violence against women in armed conflict and recent
actions in the UN Security Council to counteract it; the growing
realization that empowering women makes good economic sense and the
need to strengthen public-private partnerships; the increasing
realization of the need to involve "non-traditional"
allies-including men and religious leaders-in combating violence
against women; the need not only to adopt laws on women's equality
but also to vigorously implement them; and the need for all
countries to muster up political will. The U.S. statement will be
available on the U.S. Mission Geneva website,, as
well as on the ECE website
9. In addition to statements by governmental and NGO participants,
the ECE meeting contained panel discussions on three topics: (1)
gender-sensitive economic policies in the context of the economic
and financial crisis; (2) gender and the corporate sector; and (3)
new partnerships, networks, and alliances for gender equality.
10. The outcome of the meeting was a non-negotiated document
entitled "Chairperson's Conclusions" that presented the Chair's
summary of the discussions along with his recommendations for
further action. His recommendations included: enforcing
legislation against gender-based violence; defending the rights of
women migrant workers and those working in the informal sector;
engaging a wide range of actors, including NGOs and the private
sector; reconciling work and family responsibilities; and promoting
a gender-sensitive analysis of the impact of the financial crisis.
Several delegations, including the United States, suggested minor
revisions to the Chair's text (most of which were accepted). The
ECE member states joined consensus on this document. The Chair
clarified that the document reflected the discussion and
recommendations put forth during the session, but that not all the
ECE member states agreed with all the proposals put forward. The
Chairperson's Conclusions will also be available on the ECE website.
11. The U.S. delegation to the ECE Beijing+15 Regional Review
Meeting cleared this report.
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