Effective Implementation of 'Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action' Called For

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The General Assembly on 8 December, in resolution 50/42, called for the effective implementation of the "Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action", adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women. The Conference was one of the largest world gatherings ever held under UN auspices; it took place in the Chinese capital from 4 to 15 September.

On 22 December, the Assembly endorsed the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action--a comprehensive, ground-breaking plan for the international community to promote the status of women. In resolution 50/203, it called upon States, the UN system and "all other actors" to promote "an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective at all levels, including in the design, monitoring and evaluation of all policies", in order to ensure the Platform's effective implementation. The Assembly stressed that Governments had the primary responsibility for implementing the Platform and that commitment at the highest level was essential for its implementation.

Among its 38 provisions, the Beijing Declaration recognizes that the status of women has advanced in some important respects in the past decade, but that progress has been uneven, inequalities between women and men have persisted and major obstacles remain, with serious consequences for the well-being of all people.

The Platform for Action establishes a basic group of priority actions to be carried out over the next five years. It deals in depth with 12 critical areas of concern, considered as the main obstacles to women's advancement: poverty; education; health; violence against women; armed conflict; economic structures; power sharing and decision-making; mechanisms to promote the advancement of women; human rights; the media; the environment; and the girl child.

In his 10 November report (A/50/744) on the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, the Secretary-General indicated that he would ensure that the gender perspective was integrated into all aspects of the work of the Organization, and that he would work with his colleagues, the executive heads of the UN specialized agencies and UN programmes and funds to ensure a coordinated system-wide response, integrating the follow-up of the Conference with that of other global conferences.

On 28 December, the Secretary-General designated his Senior Adviser, Assistant Secretary-General Rosario Green, as his "adviser on gender issues". Ms. Green would assist in ensuring that the gender perspective was effectively integrated into policies and programmes in all areas of the work of the UN system and was fully taken into account in furthering the Organization's linkages with civil society.

On the subject of traffic in women and girls, the Assembly appealed (resolution 50/167) to Governments to address the root factors that encouraged trafficking in women and girls for prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages and forced labour, so as to eliminate trafficking in women. Governments were invited to combat such trafficking through nationally and internationally coordinated measures, and to consider the development of standard minimum rules for the humanitarian treatment of trafficked persons. Concerned Governments were urged to support comprehensive, practical approaches by the international community to assist women and children victims of transnational trafficking to return home and be reintegrated into their home societies. …