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UN Women’s briefing on the Gender Equality Forum at the Human Rights Council

28. Februar 2020 - 17:24

UN Women’s briefing on the Gender Equality Forum
Human Rights Council, 25 February 2020

First of all, I would like to thank UN Women for the invitation – it is really an honour to be
here today.
I also take the opportunity to congratulate and thank the governments of France and Mexico
for taking up the challenge and host the upcoming Generation Equality Forum.
My name is Valerie Bichelmeier – I am the VP and main representative at the UN in Geneva
of Make Mothers Matter, an international NGO advocating for women’s rights – or more
specifically the rights of women in their role as mothers.
I am also an active member of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Geneva. But
today I am representing the Women’s Major Group – which is a self-organised network of
hundreds of women’s rights organisations from all over the world, and which continuously
provides input, the gender lens, into the global policy processes on Sustainable Development

The UNECE Beijing+25 Forum
The Women’s Major Group has organised the CSO Forum, which took place last October
just before the UNECE Beijing+25 Regional Review meeting here Geneva.
Under the motto Feminists want system change, this CSO Forum gathered more than 400
women rights activists from nearly 300 organisations and 48 countries of the UNECE region.
It is a great example of CSO self-organising and working hard – all too often on a voluntary
Most of the substantive work started well before the forum, with participants working in self
organised groups on factsheets assessing the implementation of the Beijing Platform for
Action in the different sub-regions, and on different topics in relations to the 12 areas of
concerns of the platform – and making recommendations.
15 of these civil society representatives were able to take the floor at different sessions
during the UNECE Intergovernmental meeting, including a young activist from Turkey at the
opening. Based on the factsheets, they delivered our key concerns and recommendations.

Collaboration with UN agencies was key to the success of our Forum – And we would like to
take this opportunity to thank especially UN Women and the UNECE for their great support
and the fruitful collaboration – UN Women also generously contributed with logical and
financial support – including the sponsoring of 50 civil society representatives from the
eastern regions – that was much appreciated and key to the success of the Forum – so
again thank you.
I think that our message was clear: we want systemic change and we hope that the action
coalitions that will be launched with the Generation Equality Forums will deliver and bring
about such systemic change.

The Generation Equality Forum
As was already mentioned earlier, the Generation Equality Forum and action coalitions are
multi-stakeholder – and we think it is indeed critical to involve everyone. However, the
process MUST remain civil society cantered.

So how is civil society involved ?
To this effect, Civil society is represented in the core group that make the decisions…
And under the auspice of UN Women, a Civil Society Advisory Group has been established
last Summer which is composed of 21 civil society representatives. These were selected
through a civil society–led process to represent the diversity of constituencies and regions.
The role of this Civil Society Advisory Group is to support the decision-making of the Core
Group, in order to ensure that civil society’s priorities are indeed reflected in the organisation
and the outcome of the Forum.
To complement this Civil Society Advisory Group, an Advisory Working Group was also
established by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women New York, under the dynamic
leadership of its chair, Houry Geudelekian. This advisory working group is open to everyone.
About 450 women rights activist from all over the world participate, and Zoom meetings are
held every 2 weeks to share information and receive input and feedback – which is then
conveyed to the Advisory group.

Action Coalitions
The themes of the action coalitions were recently announced, and leadership is currently
being discussed.
• To echo CEDAW Expert Ms Rana and the representative of WILPF who spoke this
morning, we regret that Peace and Security is missing, and we hope that this will be
• Regarding the leadership of the action coalitions, needless to say that these leaders must
be Gender Equality and human rights champions.
• We also want to highlight the importance of choosing leaders who are progressive and
do not move back on the language set in the BPfA 25 years ago. We expect an open and
constructive dialogue on sensitive issues, and commitments to leading on issues that
brings us together and not further polarise.

Feminist and Women’s Movement Action Plan
In parallel, Feminist and women’s rights organisations plan to use the Beijing+25 process to
advance a Feminist and Women’s Movement Action Plan.
The idea is to use the power of existing commitments, that is not only the Beijing Platform for
Action, but also the SDGs, CEDAW and other international treaties, human rights
mechanisms and all relevant international commitments (e.g., International Conference on
Population and Development Programme of Action, New Urban Agenda of Habitat UNSC
Resolution 1325 and related resolutions, and the Paris Climate Accord), to promote
accountability and prompt action to achieve a gender-equitable and sustainable world.
Work is led by 2 members of the advisory working group. And again, Zoom meetings are
held every 2 weeks and open to all women rights activists. Thematic working groups were
formed on the six cluster themes used for the Beijing+25 review, and work is in progress.

So, everything seems to be in place to ensure that civil society and women themselves are at
the centre of the Beijing+25 process.
However, too many women’s organisations remain underfunded or not funded at all. Such
lack of funding seriously puts the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality, at
A commitment to gender equality must also go hand in hand with adequate funding of
women’s rights organisation – beginning with sponsoring of women’s rights activists –
especially youths and representatives from the global south- to participate in the generation
equality forum.

The world has dramatically changed since the Beijing Conference, with the raise of Internet
and the advent of mobile communication, the rise of migration – especially women’s
migration, and climate change becoming a harsh reality for many – among many other
While the BPfA remains a landmark document and a key reference for action, the Generation
Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions offer an opportunity not to be missed to both deliver
on the commitments made 25 years ago and take into account these tremendous changes.
I’ll end with a (short) quote, which was the conclusion of the statement delivered by our youth
activist at the opening of the UNECE regional meeting:
“We are calling on you to put considerable time, effort, and funding into implementing the
commitments that you have made as States. Let’s walk the talk.”
Thank you



Kategorien: english

Civil society interventions at the UNECE regional review meeting on Beijing+25

1. Dezember 2019 - 18:18

All Beijing+25 interventions delivered by civil society at the UNECE regional review can be found here.


Civil society organisation have identified priorities and prepared statements from their regional and thematic perspectives. These statements were prepared in the 3 months prior to the conference by all who had joined the listserve, as input for the discussions in the break out groups during the CSO forum. They laid the foundation for our common interventions at the Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting. The input from the CSO forum is still being added and when ready, the final statements are uploaded onto the website. We greatly value all the input given! Disclaimer: the statements reflect the perspectives of the authors and contributors as stated at the top of each factsheet. These are not negotiated consensus positions, but give an overview of priorities and diverse views of the women’s and feminist movement in the UNECE region.

Regional position papers Central Asia Download Caucasus Download Eastern Europe Download European Union (and Norway, Switzerland) Download North America Download Western Balkans (and Turkey) Download Thematic position papers

Ending discrimination against women and girls in all their diversity

Rights of LBTI & gender non-conforming women and people Download Women migrant rights Download Indigenous peoples’ rights Download Widows Download Women with disabilities Download Older women Download

Guarantee equal participation and decision-making

Women’s political participation Download Others to come

Ensuring women’s bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights

Sexual reproductive health & rights Download Others to come

Ensure feminist economic policies and climate justice

Structural economic barriers to women’s rights Download Tax justice and gender equality Download Corporate and institutional accountability to the Beijing+25 process Download Rural women & economic empowerment Download Climate, environment & women’s rights Download Women labour movements Download

Ensure peace, justice and accountability

Peace & security, and displaced women Download Accountability and monitoring for women’s rights and gender equality Download Financing for implementation of BPfA Download

Ending violence against women, girls and women human rights defenders

Violence against women & girls (VAWG) Download Addressing anti-women’s rights groups, shrinking spaces, neo-conservatism and women human rights defenders Download Others to come

Ensure women’s rights in media, education and technology access

Women in the media Download Others to come




Kategorien: english

Knowledge Exchange Session with 2020 VNR Countries

20. November 2019 - 18:49

As part of the preparatory process for the 2020 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), UN DESA is organizing a knowledge exchange session between volunteer countries, UN entities, international organizations and stakeholders to showcase tools, methodologies and approaches that could support the VNR process at the national level.


The session will be held on 20 November 2019, from 15:00 – 18:00 in Oslo, Norway.


limited number of seats will be allocated for major groups and stakeholders to share concrete technical expertise with VNR countries on the following topics:


  1. Leaving no one behind
  2. Data and monitoring
  3. Private sector engagement
  4. Stakeholder engagement
  5. Identification of acceleration actions to achieve the 2030 Agenda
  6. Inter-sectoral coordination and strengthening institutions
  7. Monitoring and evaluation


If your organization has a tool that could be shared at the knowledge exchange session, please, fill the form below by October 28:


Kategorien: english

Civil society reflections on Beijing+25 in the UNECE Region: Opening Statement, Art Exhibition, and Livestreams

13. November 2019 - 19:41
Civil society reflections on Beijing+25 in the UNECE Region: Opening Statement, Art Exhibition, and Livestreams Opening statement: civil society reflections on Beijing+25 in the UNECE Region

Opening session: intervention
Beijing+25 – UNECE Regional Review Meeting
29 October 2019

“My name is İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu and I am a 26 year old lawyer and a PhD student at Koç University in İstanbul researching International Human Rights Law. I am also a member of the Beijing+25 Global Youth Task Force, and today I am speaking on behalf of the Women’s Major Group.

This opening speech has been prepared collectively with other young feminists like myself, and informed by more than 410 civil society members from 45 countries in the region.

I am grateful that they have given me, a young feminist, the floor to deliver this message. I was a 2 year-old baby when the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted, yet it continues to be the most progressive blueprint for achieving gender equality and advancing the rights of all women to date. However, almost 25 years have passed and we are still miles away from fully realizing the commitments made in 1995.

In fact, we face critical challenges today that threaten to roll-back the many achievements we have gained and continue to live in a world in which patriarchy, sexism, capitalism, ageism, racism, heteronormativity, and xenophobia drive women’s oppression and inequality. We face a climate crisis that, if not dealt with right now, will leave us all with no future to speak of.

Having said this I would like to share with you some of the key messages that we retained from the Civil Society Forum that took place yesterday. (28 October 2019)”


You can endorse the statement up until 29 November 2019. We will publish the endorsing organisation on this page on 30 November 2019. Endorse the statement here.


İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu (Beijing +25 Global Youth Task Force), Emma Rainey (Young Feminist Europe), Xenia Kellner (Young Feminist Europe), Luíza Drummond Veado (OutRight Action International), Rashima Kwatra (RFSL – The Swedish Federation for LGBTIQ Rights), Pip Gardner (Beijing +25 Global Youth Task Force), Elisabeth Keuten (Beijing +25 Global Youth Task Force), Hanna Gunnarsson (Women Engage for a Common Future), Sanne Van de Voort (Women Engage for a Common Future)

Kategorien: english