This morning the opening ceremony of the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place in the General Assembly of the United Nations. Several organization- and country-representatives delivered speeches, which provide us with some useful insights in the overall trends and specific agenda’s during the session to come.
All spokespersons confirmed the importance of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). This agenda captures the centrality of gender and gender equality. It is not entirely surprising that progressive, moderate and conservative states alike underline the BPfA. After all “one of the key roles of the CSW is to monitor progress and address remaining gaps in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.” (Ms. Marjon V. Kamara from
Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, emphasized the importance of linkages for gender equality, empowerment of women and girls, and protection of all their human rights throughout the UN system. She made a strong case for SRHR when she followed this statement up by saying: “The right to sexual and reproductive health is fundamental to women’s empowerment and gender equality.”
Ms. Silvia Pimentel, Chair of CEDAW, also made the case for linking gender equality, women’s rights and human rights, by referring to interaction with the human rights machinery.
Ms. Tutwiler, Deputy Director-General for Knowledge at FAO, made extensive use of statistics from the very recent report State of
Several countries made statements on behalf of regional groups:
“Measures such as comprehensive sexuality education, outlawing early and forced marriage and preventing teenage pregnancies or combating harmful traditional practices reduce maternal mortality and have huge development dividends in terms of family health, educational levels, people's ability to lift themselves out of poverty, and positive effects on economic growth at family, community and national levels.”
Also interesting was the statement by
The opening statements from the various CSW56 member states will continue tomorrow afternoon. Dutch Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt will then address the CSW with a much awaited statement including the relevance of gender equality itself.
Joni van de Sand / WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform