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The unfinished agenda on Beijing goals

Civil society organisations who had a three-day meeting in Bangkok to discuss what their governments had done to achieve gender equality, on Sunday said the biggest barrier in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action was a lack of an accountability mechanism. 

The Beijing Platform for Action was adopted at the 1995 United Nations fourth world conference on women, offering a policy framework and roadmap for achieving gender equality and women's rights. Tessa Khan, of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, told the media that over 400 activists from the region met and discussed issues and also the way forward from 2015 . The Beijing meet had identified 12 critical areas of concern including poverty, violence, women and armed conflict, economy, health, environment, unpaid work, among others. While more girls were going to school, women earn low wages and very few have any decision making powers. One in three women in the region will suffer sexual violence in her lifetime, activists said. 

Ms. Khan said the situation in the region was grim and migration, unpaid work for women, climate change and health issues particularly relating to HIV needed to be addressed. There is a lot of unfinished business and many countries are yet to implement comprehensive sex education programmes in schools, or tackle the many forms of gender based violence. Issues of migrant workers and indigenous women who are facing displacement due to corporate land grabbing needed urgent attention. She called for a solid reporting mechanism and time bound targets till next March at the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women of the UN Economic and Social Council in New York.

The civil society groups identified big gaps in commitment and action and said development cannot be merely economic growth. They criticised the economic growth which had its impact on women who suffered from privatisation and were victimised by cheap labour offered by governments to tempt investors. Governments continue to target women's bodies for family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for women and adolescent girls must be addressed urgently, said activist Nalini Singh. The international Migrants Alliance said migration due to climate change was on the rise and migrant workers were treated like slaves. Eni Lastari of the Alliance said the new threat of migration in the region was due to climate change and governments needed to safeguard the rights of workers. 

Development justice is the need of the hour, activists said. The civil society groups will come out with a set of recommendations for the Asia and Pacific conference on gender equality and women's empowerment - Beijing plus 20 review - which begins on Monday. 

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:42:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/the-unfinished-agenda-on-beijing-goals/article6606777.ece

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