Virtual Expert Group Meeting: Implementing Beijing+25 Commitments in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive and progressive blueprint for achieving gender equality to date. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reinforces its ambitions, through advancing Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. The Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on the Beijing+25 Review was convened by ESCAP and UN Women in late 2019 to review progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals. More than 600 participants from 54 countries and 166 civil society organizations attended the Conference which culminated in the adoption of the Asia-Pacific Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment - a comprehensive set of commitments and actions on region-specific issues that can move forward the gender equality agenda over the next 5 years.
With its adoption, countries in Asia and the Pacific committed, inter alia, to ensuring women’s economic empowerment and the integration of women into the formal economy. Governments agreed to take appropriate measures to implement these commitments.
The implementation of these commitments has been negatively impacted by the emergence and stronghold of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this context, women are often caregivers for both children and older persons and may therefore suffer from both financial and health-related impacts as they struggle to balance productive and reproductive roles during the on-going crisis. In a region where most women are engaged in vulnerable or informal employment and/or businesses, many working mothers have little recourse to social protection to support public health measures such as school closures. Evidence is also emerging to suggest that violence against women and girls has increased, while the availability of relevant services and support to address these issues, including essential social and other health services including sexual and reproductive health services, is decreasing.