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The Beijing Platform for Action was adopted exactly 25 years ago, these days

Twenty-five years ago, on September 4-15, 1995, more than 17,000 official delegates and 30,000 civil society activists from 189 countries attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

26 women from Armenia participated in the conference: 8 members of the official delegation and 18 representatives of non-governmental organizations.

By the way, Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin I was one of the unique clergymen who sent a message to the participants of the conference in those days, noting that injustices must be corrected, “women are equal to men before God, the Creator.”

The 189 countries participating in the conference, including Armenia, committed themselves to the unanimously adopted Beijing Declaration and Action Plan. The Action Plan is by far the most comprehensive and fundamental agreement in the field of women’s rights, empowerment, and gender equality. The volume of the document and the strictly coordinated structure are impressive themselves. In each of 12 areas: situation analysis, setting of strategic goals and instructions for their actions addressed to governments, civil society and other responsible bodies. Unfortunately, the Armenian translation of the document is only available in a short version.

In fact, it was the Beijing Platform for Action that introduced the Equal Opportunities for Women and Men Equality Resolution, which sought to bridge the gap between women’s proclaimed rights and their effective realization.

The Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities Resolution within the post-Beijing process, finding its confirmation in all subsequent program documents, was supplemented with the concept of equal results.

Back in May of last year, the UN Women announced the launch of the Beijing + 25 process, in which governments and non-governmental organizations around the world will summarize the achievements of the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan over the past 25 years, as well as outline new challenges and further steps. The motto of the Beijing + 25 process is “Generation Equality. Realizing women’s rights for an equal future”.

 

It should be reminded that Armenia has a more than active role in the Beijing +25 process that started all over the world, as in 2020-2021 ․It is chairing the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which oversees the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

Armenia has also been elected the leader of one of the six action coalitions of the Generation Equality Forum, the Technology-Innovation Coalition, in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan. Generation Equality Forum, scheduled to take place in 2020 in Mexico City, Paris, has been moved to next year due to the coronavirus and will be held in the first half of 2021.

 

It should be noted that the 64th session of the Committee on the Status of Women, which is one of the key events of the Beijing + 25 process, was held online this year. The 64th session was scheduled for March 9-20 in New York at the UN headquarters, and the session was to host about 12,000 representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world. However, the organizing committee of the commission, citing the dangers of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus, decided to reduce the activities of the 64th session and instead hold a procedural meeting on March 9th. Many planned and parallel events were canceled.

 

The session adopted a Political Declaration, reaffirming the political will of the member states to implement the Beijing Platform for Action and acknowledging the emergence of new challenges that will require even more systematic, intensified efforts and action in the near future. The Declaration reaffirms that gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls will play an important role in advancing all the Sustainable Development Goals, which is especially relevant on the eve of the UN Decade of Global Action for 2030 (2020-2030).

 

A high-level meeting dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action with the participation of world leaders is expected in the near future. It will take place on October 1st, within the framework of the 75th jubilee session of the UN General Assembly. Ahead of the meeting, the UN states that today, 25 years later, no country in the world has succeeded in approaching the full implementation of the principles enshrined in the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan.

 

Although some of the activities under the Beijing +25 process are being conducted online in the face of COVID-19 challenges, expanding women’s rights and opportunities remains a global agenda.

 

Full text in Armenian

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