Joint CND & CCPCJ Virtual Event commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Being Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women and girls
From the event’s website: 2020 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995). 2020 was intended to be ground-breaking for the accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, even limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back. Joining the “Generation Equality” movement to realize women’s rights for an equal future, in particular in light of the current pandemic, the Vienna-based Commissions – the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice – organize together with UNODC an MS Teams Event. The event aims to raise awareness for the commitments made 1995 in Beijing, in particular in relation to the work of the Commissions in Vienna and UNODC, highlighting the joint contributions, and discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women and girls and further deepening pre-existing inequalities.
Chair: […]All of these areas are closely linked to the priorities that the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has on its agenda.
I am very proud to observe that the CCPCJ has, in recent years, considerably increased the attention devoted to the issue of gender equality through the adoption of a number of targeted resolutions. These documents, as we know, focus on various aspects related to crime prevention and criminal justice – such as, strengthening the response to violence against women and addressing the specific needs of women prisoners. The commission adopted, at its 26 sessions session, a resolution on streaming a gender perspective into crime prevention and criminal justice policies and programmes into efforts to prevent and combat transnational organized crime. The inclusion of these important topics in our agenda enables us to implement comprehensive and integrated approaches when it comes to tackling crime in all of its forms and strengthening criminal justice responses. Not only it is essential to facilitate an inclusive process from a substantive point of view, but there is also a need to advance gender equality in terms of participation in the intergovernmental processes taking place here in Vienna. I’m sure we will benefit from the discussions today.
ED UNODC: Distinguished chairs excellencies. Ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed my honour to celebrate with you today the Beijing declaration. Let’s reflect together upon this moment in history, which continues to serve as a guiding light for some of our most important work in the midst of a crisis that is among the greatest in our modern history. And that has exposed the fragility of our systems and of our institutions. The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to carry out to this celebration across distances, virtually. And, more importantly, this crisis forces us to take stock of our efforts and our progress in empowering women in a much more sobering light. 25 years ago, the world asserted that inequalities between men and women persisted. Despite our efforts, this assertion continues to be a reality today, more than two decades later. COVID-19 made this reality stand clearer than ever, as the impact of the virus on women is particularly profound. Through our work, we bear unfortunate witness to the depravations enjoyed by women and how they have been compounded by the pandemic. In the health sector, women account for over 70% of workers in health and care institutions, which makes them risked their lives as they are the ones fighting the virus on the frontlines. Moreover, in many countries, the impact of the pandemic on health systems has deprived women of access to reproductive health services. In the labour market. Unemployment is much higher among women and when employed, they are paid on average 20% less than men. Moreover, women are more often employed in the informal economy which deprives them of social protection. At home women carry out three quarters of unpaid care work. At the same time, stay at home measures under COVID have increased the dangers of domestic violence. Countries in Europe are reporting up to 60% more emergency calls from women. In many other parts of the world, women who suffer such violence do not report it or seek assistance due to entrenched norms or lack of support systems, they suffer silently. Pre COVID more than half of the world’s female homicide victims were killed by intimate partners or family members – according to the UNODC’s 2019 Global study on homicide. This is expected to rise in view of the global lockdown. 25 years ago, world leaders agreed on an ambitious framework so that every woman and girl can realise all her rights. On this 25th anniversary, UNODC stands with you to make this objective reality. To build back better, we need a people centred approach and a woman centred approach within the UN. I am proud that the Secretary General has already achieved gender parity at the senior management level. And we are on our way to full parity at all professional levels by 2028. I intend to keep pace with these efforts that you no DC and I can assure you that this momentum will only witness a new sense of urgency in the coming period. Since I joined the UNODC in February, a top priority for me has been to ensure that UNODC elevates support to member states to promote gender support, gender equality and the empowerment of women across our mandate areas of drugs, crime, terrorism and corruption. We strive for these goals through the use of UNODC Gender strategy and action plan in our office and then our work at headquarters and in the field. UNODC brings together the health sector, the social sector, and police and justice sectors to prevent gender-based violence and offer victim centred services, including through a programmes and projects providing support in 18 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. UNODC promotes the Bangkok rules on non-custodial measures and the treatment of female prisoners. We are scaling up skills-building rehabilitation projects in Bolivia, El Salvador, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan to benefit over 1500 female prisoners. Over the next five years due to COVID. Women and Girls are also far more likely to find themselves victims of trafficking in persons. Women represent around one out of three people who use drugs. And UNODC is working with WHOO and other partners to dismantle barriers and prevent them from seeking treatment. The involvement of women strengthens the engagement of entire communities in development, including alternative development to replace illicit drug crop cultivation with legal sources of income. That is why empowering women is the focus of our alternative development programmes in six countries in Asia, Latin America and Latin America. We know drugs, crime, terrorism and violence impact women and men differently, and we need to understand these impacts and act effectively. Our gender sensitive research includes the flagship World Drug Report, which will be launched at the end of this month. UNODC also contributed to the Secretary General policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on women and we coauthored a report identifying gender justice gaps. I welcome the continued support of the Vietnamese Commission’s for UNODC’s efforts, you have been at the forefront of integrating gender in the global drugs and criminal justice agenda and strengthening exchange with the Commission on the Status of Women. I thank you for organising this event. And I’m grateful to the ministers who are joining us virtually. I very much welcome the participation of the president of the Human Rights Council and our partners at UN Women. I’m also glad to see my fellow international agenda champions and our civil society friends. The strong engagement we see today shows that we all agree on the need for urgent action to realise the big declarations commitments within the decade left to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. A more inclusive world is a more resilient word. 25 years after Beijing, we cannot allow COVID to hinder progress and justice. Working together. We can bring down all obstacles to women’s inclusion, enable them to act as agents of change and truly build back better. In every one of our country’s societies and families, there is a mother, a daughter, a sister, who needs us to stand up for her more than ever before. We must fight for her rights in the midst of a global crisis that threatens to destroy past achievements. We must fight without compromise. We must all stand with her. I am proudly with her for justice and empowerment. Thank you very much.
Chair: Thank you, thank you very much, Miss Wally, for the very insightful intervention and very, very strong message that you sent us. I would now like to invite Her Excellency Miss Natalie Mooney, Minister of employment, economy and consumer affairs in Charge of combating poverty, equal opportunities and disabled people from Belgium to make an opening address. Madam, I hand the mic on to you be welcome amongst their myths.
Belgium: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you. First of all, thank you for inviting me to speak today. Normally, I would have met you earlier in March but due to COVID-19 crisis, I had other obligations in Belgium. I would like to congratulate CND for the adoption at Belgium’s initiative of the resolution 63 slash three on ensuring the availability and access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, which has increased ingredients as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As a minister of equal opportunities, I attach great importance to the fight against gender-based violence and sexual violence in particular, this is also an absolute priority. Concrete implementation of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action to achieving gender equality. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this attention for gender equality becomes even more crucial, clear and effective actions have to be taken. The commitments of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action remain a good starting point to see which actions to take concerning preventive programmes that promote women’s health for example, the commission should ask the question how the current pandemic has affected drug prevention programmes and drug consumption, all the while taking into account the gender perspective. Another very important thing that should be analysed is the link between alcohol and drugs consumption. A second concrete suggestion relates to the objective of the Beijing Platform for Action to eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence of prostitution and trafficking. The current time measures put in place during the COVID-19 crisis made it harder for human trafficking victims to escape or find a way out. It is therefore important that enough resources stay available for services such as shelters. In Belgium, our newly created comprehensive sexual assault care centres, where victims can receive medical and psychological care while undergoing a forensic examination, and can file complaints, are an important step toward in that regard. In two years’ time, in these multidisciplinary centres 2500 integrated interventions have already taken place. This is more than twice the initial estimated caseload during the lockdown of the COVID-19. The Federal sexual assault referral centres remain in time of crisis open and operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. An inter-ministerial conference which gathers open competent ministers of the federal and federal states has taken place on the topic of violence against women and current time measures. Finally, it is important to learn and improve. The world was not prepared for the crisis. We now need to ensure on the one hand, that the COVID-19 crisis will not undo the process that has been made. But on the other hand, we also need to commit ourselves to do better, even when this crisis come to an end. Only when the gender perspective is truly integrated in our actions and processes in a non-crisis environment. Thank you all.
Chair: Thank you.
France, Chair of the Commission of the status of women at its 64th session: I welcome all participants and I’m honored to take part in this important virtual meeting to commemorate Beijing 25 and to discuss how COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women and girls, and further deepening pre-existing inequalities. Colleagues, the 2020 is a landmark year for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls as the global community marks 20 years since the adoption of Beijing declaration platform protection, the most comprehensive blueprint for advancing women’s rights. This anniversary provides the anchor for renewed commitment and efforts by governments and other stakeholders to accelerate the realization of gender Equality and environmental for women and girls everywhere. We all have high expectations that the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which was scheduled to be held 9 to 20 March 2020 would provide a strong impetus to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing declaration and platform correction and ensure that gender responsive implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is on track. All stakeholders, governments, civil society, the UN system and other actors have to build a solid basis for accelerated action through extensive preparations national and regional levels. However, the session had to be scaled down. With the ad break of the normal Coronavirus, which is showing its devastating impact of societies and economies throughout the world. We see how the pandemic is deepening preexisting inequalities. It is exposing vulnerabilities in social political and economic system, which are in turn amplifying the impacts on the pandemic. Evidence shows that and the pandemic impacts disproportionately Women and Girls, it is therefore essential that gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls are at the core of the country’s response efforts. I would call on all stakeholders to draw from and utilise the work of the Commission on the Status of Women as they design recovery from the crisis. For example, the political declaration adopted on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Fourth World Conference on Women a number of cross cutting implementation strategies to accelerate the realisation of gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls and the full enjoyment of their human rights. Their consistent application in COVID-19 responses will make a critical difference. Together with the Commission’s policy recommendations on issues such as women’s participation in decision decision making, and leadership, women’s economic empowerment and equal opportunities for participation in labour market. Social protection, including for women workers in the formal sector, the care economy and women’s and girls’ disproportionate responsibilities for unpaid care and domestic work. Preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls. I welcome your commitment in this time of unprecedented challenges. Now to offer this platform for an exchange of views, experiences, and recommendations for addressing the implementation of Beijing declaration and Platform for Action and responding to COVID-19. The good working relationship between our Commission’s and our mutual commitment to addressing cross cutting issues from different perspectives, areas of focus and expertise that we have is also an example of the importance of the importance of all types of partnerships or achieving the system. stainable development costs. Dear colleagues, as I look forward to continued and mutually reinforcing partnership between our Commission’s it gives me a special pleasure to mention that as Permanent Representative of Armenia, it is a special pleasure to recall that my country has been elected as the member of commission of crime prevention of criminal justice for the upcoming term starting next year, as we build as we seek to build better from the current crisis, effective collaboration will help us advance coherent and impactful solutions for the benefit of women and girls and societies everywhere. Thank you very much.
Chair: I gladly hand the mic on to you, madam Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger President of the Human Rights Council. Can you please to share with us some insights and the perspective of the Council on such an important issue? I gladly hand the mic on to you, ma’am.
President of the Human Rights Council […] The Beijing Declaration has already been referred to by one of the previous speakers as the most progressive blueprint for addressing women’s rights ever. But it is, unfortunately exactly that a blueprint, which means that there are still a lot to be done. The Human Rights Council, which I now have the honour of chairing this year, has done a lot of work in terms of creating a better understanding of what exactly that means – women’s rights and girls rights are human rights. There’s a variety of distributing violence against women, discrimination against women, female genital mutilation, or preventing maternal validity There is evidence that if there was more participation by women in the human rights work, this is to guarantee that women’s rights will actually be fully taken into consideration. And therefore, for the first time ever appointed the agenda […]. As we heard from previous speakers women are, on many societies, the main caregivers. as president of the Human Rights Council, I always thought it was important to speak on the currencies of human rights implications. I’m glad to say that we managed to adopt by consensus on the 29th of May, a presidential statement that appeals to all states for the adhering to human rights. There are many areas where we have come to understand, in the last 25 years, what the issues are, for example, climate change, and the impact of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence in the workplace, on women’s economic situation. Need for greater protection of female human rights defenders is needed. We also have to consider the impact of sexual violence and harassment online and use of digital technologies; the need to protect female journalists.
Climate change or inequality are among the frontier issues of human rights as they were identified. So as you see, there’s a lot of work to do in the next 25 years. I think this is a good opportunity to think about what has been done, what still needs to be done.
Deputy Executive Director of the UN Women: I would like to thank both Commission’s for convening this event. And you are both, you both work to strengthen the global normative framework for gender equality and the power empowerment of women and girls, which we have heard already a lot about. Some areas are gender, gender responsive access to justice, drug policies that are responsive to the rights and realities of women and girls. Our appreciation also goes to UNODC for our solid collaboration is the realizing of the SDGs – five and six in particular. With these restrictions to movement, and reductions in resources for law enforcement, social public services, victims of human trafficking are now in an even more desperate situation with slimmer chance even slimmer chances of escaping or finding help. I also believe that in the near future, we need to do more all of us to prevent the demand and markets for trafficking of women and girls for sexual purposes. We should have measures in place so that men are not prepared to buy women for these purposes. In 2020, we were looking forward to a groundbreaking commentary quarter century after the Beijing conference. The review progress in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. That review revealed that progress was still falling short of the commitments made in 1995 and had stalled or even reversed in some very important areas. Women are still more likely to live in extreme poverty. And they continue to carry out a big disproportionate share of unpaid work and domestic work. They continue to be significantly underrepresented, underrepresented in decision making, and leadership roles across all sectors. Meanwhile, violence against women and girls remains pervasive already before the crisis. We are very grateful that the Commission on the Status of Women was able to adopt a predictable declaration that clearly sets out where and how governments and other actors need to step up and accelerate their work. We are responding to COVID-19 so that our action is better suited to respond to the new global challenges which threaten to erase gains on gender inequality otherwise, with health systems collecting school, close schools closing it is women and girls who are absorbing the added working pressure. Seven in every 10 frontline health workers are women, many of whom are risking their lives to save the lives of all the others.The UN is taking the impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls seriously. The Secretary General made an appeal to address violence against women on the onset of the pandemic, and also issued a report specifically on gender equality and gender.
We are supporting governments to mainstream gender equality, and in establishing and strengthening prevention and protection services for survivors of gender based violence. Unfortunately, we have reports that violence has increased during the crisis. We are supporting women in vulnerable humanitarian contexts to scale up gender responsive quality policy interventions and strategies. And UN Women in partnership with France, Mexico and civil society is looking forward to convening the generation Quality Forum in 2021, which is an opportunity to discuss these matters strategically. We are convinced that going back to something called normal is actually not an option for women and girls, as the Beijin 25 Review has revealed, many of you mentioned that this so called normality was actually a space in which women and girls neither exercise nor had their rights realized. Coming out of this crisis, societies and economies must be more sensitive to women and girls perspectives on the way towards the 2030 Agenda.
Mexico: Recently, my government undertook the transforming of its foreign policy into a feminist one. This means that more than ever before, all our actions centre empowering women and girls and warranting that they will have equal opportunities in life. The appointment of madam Waly sends a strong message to the young girls around the world that there is not a level of responsibility nor an area of professional development where women cannot undertake away or where they cannot excel. We are looking forward to continue working with you in advancing a gender agenda. I would like to praise the new generation of leaders, such as the mastermind of this event for bringing us together with the intention of having our joint political wheels transforming into concrete actions.
The contribution of Vienna particularly the UNODC-related is threefold. Firstly, consider the involvement of women in crime, and its repercussions in all its dimensions. That is to say, not limiting our approach to the pretension that their relation between women and girls is limited to them being victims or certain types of crime such as trafficking violence, harassment and abuse. As with the case of men and boys, women and girls are on both sides of the equation, both as victims and perpetrators, ignoring their ability to engage and the contribution that they’re already making on preventing and combating crime is preposterous. Secondly, create the conditions both in headquarters and in the field to help women engage in and advance their careers on issues related to drugs, crime and corruption and provide assistance to countries with the same goal. And thirdly, UNODC has to be the gender champions – look into how women can advance internally and within their mandate, the making declaration and the platform of action. In those efforts, the contribution of the chairpersons of the governing bodies, it is not about sparking here or there a woman on a panel. It is about exercising your leadership and guidance for warranting that either discussions or decisions of your respective bodies are addressing gender issues in all its dimensions. It is for all of us to foster an enabling and inclusive environment. meaningful and substantive participation by women in the meetings of CND and CCPCJ. The code of conduct of the UN system events presented some months ago is one of the many tools that can help in decisions.
Afghanistan: In September 1995, we gathered in Beijing. Today, 25 years later, we come together again to commemorate the occasion, acknowledge progress made and challenges ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, as the first female ambassador of Afghanistan, I’m greatly honoured to have joined the Indonesian gender champion, which gives me the opportunity to continue my work in promoting equal rights for men and women. In fact, one of the main priorities of the strategic plan of the permanent mission of Afghanistan in Vienna is women empowerment. Women Empowerment is a priority for the government of Afghanistan, and we stand committed to promoting and protecting human rights. We are facing an unprecedent global crisis that has a strong gender dimension. Women are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. No other country knows it better than Afghanistan, which has faced nearly four decades of imposed conflict. That extreme circumstances cause the already vulnerable group of the society, especially women and children, to suffer. Women are victim of the pandemic but at the same time, they play a crucial role in combating its spread. Let me emphasize the important role women have in Afghanistan and in all societies, in particular in crisis responses and management of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Participation and leadership of women in decision making mechanisms is essential. And it is a two-way process involving exchange and transformation. It comes with no surprise that statistics show that the response to the Coronavirus from governments led by women has been significantly more successful. Even in non-leadership positions, Afghan women have been essential in the Coronavirus response. My country has developed a national action plan on women, peace and security. And this national action plan is a result of inclusive and collaborative work in my country. To mention just a few examples of the four pillars of this plan, we have made a concerted effort on the increase of women in government positions; we have adapted the law on the elimination of violence against women; we have established spatial codes to combat violence against women; we have implemented and amended policies to remove legal on societal barrier to women economic participation. The government has also increased the number of female counselling. Afghanistan is well aware of their complicity complicities associated with the task of peace-but we would like to underline that our compromise will have a limit. Afghanistan is giving huge importance in guaranteeing women’s rights in this process. The protection of women, women’s human rights is a priority of the government in this peace negotiation. Women’s Rights will not be compromised. Afghan women will not accept a de facto president again. Afghan women are real heroines who will motivate future generation of women to demand equal rights and never give up. Afghan women still feel the burden of chronic conflict. We gather here today to commemorate the special, but more importantly, to realise that our job is not finished, to realise that there are new challenges. While women are affected by the pandemic, it is, as I said before important to leverage their participation in the response to this crisis. We need to stay vigilant and focus on advancing women’s rights and encouraging women’s participation at all levels. Thank you very much.
Vienna NGO committee on Drugs: My name is Penny Hill, and I am a member of the board of the VNGOC where I represent Harm Reduction Australia. The VNGOC exists to empower and support civil society groups from around the world including our more than 250 members to engage with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and other international drug policy discussions and processes. We highly value the opportunity to speak at this event, which marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing general declaration and Platform for Action. We have now reached the year of 2020. And although some progress has been made, we are nowhere near the realisation of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in relation to international drug policy. We must also take this opportunity to recognise the racially disproportionate impacts that drug use and drug policies can have on women of colour and indigenous women. As has become standard practice, the VNGOC issued an open call for speakers for this event. And received many impressive applications from our members from around the world, almost all from women and several from women who use drugs themselves, and we are proud that they have the opportunity to speak today. Applications reference the work of our members across a broad range of relevant topics, including the disproportionate impact of drug policies on women and non-cisgender people. The higher proportions of women in prison for drug related offences compared to men, women in compulsory direct attention, the rights of women who use drugs to sexual and reproductive health rights, developing indicators to better explain the needs of women who produce, distribute or use drugs, co designing programmes and campaigns with women who use drugs, and the importance of developing and implementing gender specific prevention, harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, integration and recovery interventions to better address the needs of women and girls, including those in prison. We also received applications explicitly linking the COVID-19 pandemic to an increase in unemployment and violence against women who use drugs and a decrease in their access to treatment and health services. We encourage you to work with your civil society counterparts to achieve gender equality and your country’s drug policies. Many member states already worked with the civil society counterparts, but in the case that you have not already met with them, the VNGOC can introduce you to our members in your country or region, or you can utilize the NGO marketplace directory to learn more about their work. We would like to see more country delegations led by women, we warmly welcome the new executive director of the UNODC and hope to see even more UN agencies and bodies led by women. We also hope to continue improving the engagement of women civil society leaders at CND. We ask that the UNODC and Member States reaffirm your commitment to the drug related strategic objectives and actions, including specific mechanisms to support and involve women’s NGOs in government policymaking and programme design to ensure a reliable continuous supply of high quality pharmaceuticals to women provide basic and support services to women who are displaced and impacted by drug trafficking, and to provide improved access to appropriate services. As the world continues to respond to a new global pandemic and threat, as civil society, we urge you to fully support collaboration and we welcome future collaboration of the UNODC and UN Women. The recent UN system common position on drugs specifically mentions a commitment to promoting the active involvement and participation of civil society and local communities, including people who use drugs, as well as women and young people. And we encourage you to continue supporting civil society contributions to sessions such as this, we again thank you for the opportunity to speak today and implore you to work with us in close partnership towards a further accelerated realisation of gender equality in international drug policy and towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to drug policy.
Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Thank you Mr President. In 1995, when the Beijing Platform was adopted, the Crime Commission was just three years old and gender issues hardly appeared among its priorities. Since then, much has been done, and important milestones have been reached. Still, we are far from achieving gender equality and there is room for improvement also thanks to recent developments. While the twelve areas of concern of the Beijing Platform indicated some key directions, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, represents now the overall container for the commitments expressed 25 years ago. Elimination of violence against women is now clearly the desired outcome of coordinated policies that include education, employment, health, development, and therefore requires the full engagement of all different stakeholders. The Alliance of NGOs on crime prevention and criminal justice has accompanied the work of the Crime Commission since its inception and is now equipped with a new stronger structure. This will help to support further work towards the achievement of security and justice for all, of which gender equality and empowering women and girls are prerequisites. At the 2015 Crime Congress in Doha the Alliance recommended Member States to increase their focus on community-centred initiatives, to provide legal aid and increase the participation of women and youth in consultative processes. It also asked for increased efforts in the implementation of the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women in Prison and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders – the Bangkok Rules – in recognition of the gender-specific needs of women in the criminal justice system. Over the past few years the Alliance and its members have also been very active in promoting awareness around femicide and the role of women in organized crime. Overall, there is a need for strengthening the implementation of the Beijing commitments. For all of us here, this includes promoting a comprehensive understanding and mainstreaming of how gender issues apply to crime prevention and criminal justice. The Alliance and its members are willing to play a significant role in this respect, supporting mainstreaming through civil society participation. Finally, I would like to mention to all participants that on 29 June the Alliance will co-sponsor a webinar on Violence against women and covid, jointly with the Coalition of Faith-Based Organizations, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Vienna, KAICIID Intenational Dialogue Centre and UNODC. Thank you.
Colombia: Thank you very much for this event to commemorate the adoption of one of the most important and catalysing international documents of our time, regardless of the challenging times we are facing. It is normal for me to renew in this event, the Colombian commitment. The current situation is far from perfect, and we are far away from the full achievement of the goals adopted, but nevertheless, the concrete changes it has produced and the installation and the appropriation of all levels of society are to continue to move forward towards the achievement of gender equality. In Ghana, we have the responsibility to take decisive actions within our mandate to further commitment to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, their protection in very vulnerable situations. And understanding the particular needs, place and challenges women face against drugs and crime are part of our job, and we need to further develop our expertise and resources. We also need to lead by example, and that is why Colombia has warmly welcomed the appointment of Miss Wali as UNODC, Executive Director, a woman at the top of the office. It is a clear statement of the commitment of these organisations with empowerment of women. Finally, we need to strengthen our dialogue – The three
Commission’s can join airports and develop coordinated awareness campaigns. I will stop here because I know that this conversation will continue.
Norway: Thank you so much. chairs and thank you to all speakers and to the representatives of civil society in particular. Now, the Beijing Declaration was a milestone in the global work for gender equality. And I’m grateful that we’re able to have this collaboration today. COVID-19 may lead to severe setbacks on gender equality internationally, and it may deepen existing inequalities. The pandemic itself and the measures we implement against COVID-19 impacts men and women differently. Women risk being hit the hardest by the economic and social impact of the outbreak. So the consequences for women and girls are serious both the short and the long term. But we were seeing pushback on women’s rights before calling it many of these negative trends are now being strengthened. And we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals that women and girls are left out. We must apply a gender lens to all our response and recovery efforts. And we must ensure international cooperation through the multilateral system. And this has been Norway’s approach from the very beginning of this crisis, Norway encouraged the establishment of the new UN multi partner Trust Fund as a response to the crisis. And we support that un women’s inclusion in its Advisory Committee. We know that, for instance, domestic violence and harmful practices increase during times of crisis, and we welcome the assistance the UN ODC is offering and strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems responses to violence against women. As resources are pooled in response to COVID-19, we need to ensure that support for various other health needs especially reproductive health is not better mentally affected. measures for the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis among women who use drugs must be upheld. We welcome the important work of the Noticing and addressing HIV among people who use drugs and people in prison settings, they must not be forgotten in the global COVID-19 prevention and control efforts. To conclude, we need a gender sensitive approach to overcome this presented on them. And we will not succeed if women and girls are left behind. Thank you.
Namibia: At the outset, I really want to commend the CND and CCPCJ for organising this virtual event today to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action. As we have adopted the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women, it remains a very important blueprint, but it was also pointed out today, and we know it through our experience that a lot still needs to be done. Namibia, ourselves, we pride ourselves with the strides that we have made in the advancement of gender equality, including in the implementation of the Beijing declaration and the Platform for Action. Namibia has realised significant achievements in women in politics and decision making positions – education and all aspects relating to advancement of the child while reducing HIV and AIDS, infections and prevention of mother to child transmission rates. Here in Vienna, we felt welcomed and significant strides were made by the Vienna based organisations in addressing some of the gender equality challenges as it relates to the issues associated with drugs, crime and corruption. We also welcome the deliberate decisions taken by the two Vienna based Commission’s calling for increased active participation in women in all of its meetings and events, with a view to advancing gender responsive policies, in particular regarding SDG five and the broader framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This global pandemic of COVID-19 has really exposed the systemic challenges and devastating social and economic consequences of the pandemic for women and girls. One of the first disturbing trends since the pandemic broke out was the reported increase in the number of domestic sexual and gender-based violence cases during the lockdown. It shows that other time women and children who live with violent and controlling male partners became more exposed and faced considerably greater danger. To this end, we must ensure that women shelters and other forms of assistance are maintained and strengthened accordingly. We know that women are the backbone of every society and it is women will bear the most of the responsibility for holding societies together. Be at home, in health care, at school or in caring for elderly and doing more unpaid care work. This societal pressure of norm or norms put women and children at an even greater risk of contracting the virus. Apart from the domestic violence and the high risk of exposure, women are more at risk of suffering the economic consequences. Women are more likely to experience loss of income and employment, due to the fact that they are mostly working in the informal sector. Similarly, girls are likely not to return to schools after the lockdown and that hampers their empowerment and increase their vulnerabilities. Given the new trends and dimension of inequality faced by women and children, it is paramount now more than ever, that we work together to ensure inclusion of gender sensitive approaches also in the education response to COVID-19 that we involve women and girls in the consultation and adopt appropriate distance learning solutions. This is particularly important for us the developing countries where remote education and technologies are often lagging behind. Thank you.
Austria: Until today, the Beijing declaration remains the most powerful global framework for achieved in gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls. It’s 12 critical areas of concern are as relevant today as they were in 1995. Even more so in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. pandemic and the resulting crisis have drastic social, political and economic consequences, particularly affecting women. women make up the vast majority of the workforce in many essential professions, such as in the health and nursing sector, commerce, teaching, education and cleaning sectors with a traditionally high proportion of women such as tourism, gastronomy and retail see high levels of unemployment, childcare, and home-schooling as an additional burden since women perform and much higher share of unpaid domestic and family work. Single parents are particularly hard hit with the vast majority of them in Austria in mothers. The Austrian federal government has compiled the comprehensive package of measures to ensure continued support for women affected or threatened by violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to the prevailing situation. With specific measures, needs and perspectives of women and girls have to be heard. It is crucial to systematically include a gender perspective in the development, implementation and monitoring of all policy measure and in the gradual reopening of society. Women’s equal participation in decision making is key in this regard, and one of the strategic objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action. Gender equality is a cross cutting issue. The mainstreaming of gender perspective, international policies and programmes as well as the work of the UN is an important step towards the implementation of our commitments. Both the commissions have adopted resolutions regarding the mainstreaming of a gender perspective and regularly work on such important issues as violence against women, or human trafficking. The importance of gender sensitive approaches must also play a key role in the context of addiction prevention, and addiction help services. This requires a high level of awareness among practitioners, and continued reflection on one’s own patterns of behaviour towards clients or patients, cooperation partners and colleagues. Continued reflection is necessary to enable gender equality in patterns of thought, language and action. Therefore, this topic also plays an important role in the Austrian addiction prevention strategy. Austria remains strongly committed to promoting gender equality, through promoting and fulfilling all human rights of all women and girls and to fully effectively implemented Beijing declaration a platform for action. NGOs play a key role in this regard. And it is therefore crucial to closely work with civil society partners and other relevant stakeholders.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects entail new challenges, it is essential to continue and further strengthen our efforts to safeguard, promote and realise women’s rights and to achieve gender equality. In light of this 25 years anniversary of Beijing, let us renew our commitments to this end. Cheers.
Uruguay: The Beijing declaration set a milestone in the objective for achieving gender equality, and the empowerment of all women and girls. The celebration of the new anniversary is always a good opportunity to make a balance. There is still so much to do, from 1995 the present, we have seen some movements in women’s rights, but we should increase our efforts and consider the risks to go back on what we achieved, especially on crisis times. As we know, the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, have increased the differences that already exist, increasing the violence against women and girls. And even in the existent differences, particularly when women live in poor rural areas. Empowerment and full participation in society and governments at all levels is fundamental for development and peace and the recognition of the rights of all women to control all aspects of their health. In particular, their own fertility is essential to the power. In 2005, we created a national Institute, a governing body responsible for public policies from a gender perspective and established the National Gender Council and the national strategy for equality to solve efforts to achieve gender mainstreaming. The National integrated care system plays a central role in giving priority to the sexual and reproductive health of women. Uruguay has also balanced its penal code so that includes discrimination and pregnancy, equitable participation and integration of national departmental and governing bodies of political parties, promotion of development, gender equality, equity, ownership of lands and cultural institutional changes, which include the spheres of economy and politics. The cultural change has to start on the daily life where the system produces or reproduces a system of belief, strongly rooted in traditional ideas about the family and roles of women and the effect of gender stereotypes resist change to dominant cultural patterns in society. In this sense, the educational system must play a fundamental role. Today, this anniversary is the best opportunity to renew the commitment may 25 years ago.
Morocco: First of all, I would like to thank you for the timely and virtual convening on the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference and the adoption of the Declaration and Platform for Action. Of course with the adoption of the new constitution in 2011, which paved the way for an effective fight against women discrimination in Morocco. In the field of religious reform, pertaining to the status of women in the family, Morocco has ratified most of the general international instruments that help create and grow the principle of equality between men and women. Morocco has adopted in 2004 a law that allow substantial reduction of legal discrimination between man and woman. Morocco also made some progress to balance access to political decision making positions a thorough series of measures – which amended the political charter of the country’s electoral code. Thank you so much.
Cuba: I really appreciate your effort to organise this meeting in commemoration to the 25th anniversary of the Conference on Women and the launching of a declaration which is very important action plan for Cuba for development of the height of women at the national level. You already know the nature of women that make a lot of activity, more than 10,000 different activity to educate the people, mainly the young people and the women to carry out their activity in in the society. For this, we have 670 1000 people in the centre for information working on data from women that play a pivotal role in the education of people in the society in the context of social isolation. It’s generated multiple behaviours manifestation in people that in some case can lead to depression, anxiety, piracy, or stress, accompanied by a job losses. In view of this situation created by COVID-19, the Federation of women in Cuba research and care for our people. We are very proud to say that in our national parliament, 322 representatives are women that are 53.2% of members. This is the second highest participation of women in the World. So we are very proud and I would like to share with you this information because it is pretty important for our country.
Costa Rica: Thank you very much for convening this. Our topics address the issues of gender in the framework of international commitments, facing the challenges posed by the Coronavirus. Let us recognise the gender gaps that already exists as worsened. The women who we know are affected is increasing everyday. 2020 is certainly the year for celebrating the 25th anniversary. However, it’s also an opportunity to review policies and empowerment processes for women to emerge stronger on this crisis. As a society, we must consolidate that the epidemic has led us to many manifestations of social difficulties such as gender violence. In medicine, the social reality of being heads of a family means caring for minors. People with disabilities have demonstrated vulnerabilities so we are also concerned about women’s that are faced a lot of difficulties. That certainly must be the matter of concern of the states, as small, medium enterprise, reflect the commandment of the states to try to maintain the women. The principle of ‘leave no one behind’ in Costa Rica has been one of the main political priorities in the focus. In that line, we promote some concrete actions such as new facilities to integrate the gender perspective in the biodiversity and management of women and the nature of the payment for environmental service to women that consists in the financial recognition by the state for mitigating clearings, protecting by the diversity and water.
Ecuador: At the national level civil elections have been carried out in Ecuador to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women, core elements in our political gender agenda are the Beijing declaration and its platform of action. There are several advances in the current comprehensive organic criminal, defence grants for violence against women and members of her family. The national agenda for the buoyancy of women and LGBTI 2018-2021 constitutes a public policy instrument in promoting the autonomy of women, the culture of these sustainability of life, leadership and the transformation of social cultural patterns of financial inclusion. The programme for women’s vision is based on the recognition of women throughout the life cycle as full subjects of rights – including education regarding gender violence, prevention of pregnancy to girls and teenagers, as well as the economic empowerment of women. The programme is called ‘credit for development’ and it is one of the tools for the country’s social protection strategy, of which 92% of the beneficiaries are women. In response to the serious socio-economic impact caused by the pandemic, we provided health, social and economic incentives, and issued gender guidelines for health crisis in the economic field. Regarding prevention and attention to cases of violence and national health system for the prevention, prevention and eradication of violence against women, we issued legal a guidance and significant progress has been achieved in the development of international treaties on the rights of women and girls during the last 25 years. However, we are concerned with a resurgence of regressive trends, as well as the adoption of harmful and discriminatory laws, which could undermine the agreements and progress achieved in Beijing. So, we make a call for all the international community to keep the principles of progress that we have achieved and to advance it in gaining more rights for women. Thank you.
Peru: Good afternoon to everyone. Our country has adopted measures that aim to strengthen the mechanisms of women’s empowerment, and inclusion of gender perspective across policies. Our national strategy for the fight against drugs considers the 15 platform strategic objectives as lines of action related to woman. For women, we have school programmes for prevention of consumption and use of drugs, and sustainable work in alternative development for strengthening the legal chain and institutional development through inclusive actions that fosters economic autonomy of woman farmers. More likely, the rules are centred on the implementation of many projects with strong social precaution that ensures health assistance, orientation and continuous counselling for young girls and woman with drug and alcohol abuse in semi-rural settings. Likewise, the empowerment and economic autonomy of woman’s through a genetic development is an important policy for our country. And we like to take the opportunity to celebrate the recent certification of 100 woman farmers, which will allow them to improve the quality of their products in opportunities for various prices and markets. It is at most relevance to realise that the context of the COVID-19 in a gender perspective – Peru has implemented protocols to stop sexual harassment and we launched campaigns to prevent violence against women. Also, urging economic measures to mitigate and recover from economic and social impacts by Coronavirus are being taken in order to train and provide tools to woman farmers in semi-urban and vulnerable areas to guarantee an immediate income and overcome these complex times. Finally, we would like to join to the celebration of 25 years of the World Conference on woman and the adoption of Beijing declaration, by pointing that many challenges are still on the field of women’s rights and gender equality. And consequently, its platform of action is more current than ever.
Germany: Commemorating Beijing 25 and addressing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls here in Vienna is a permanent and laudable undertaking. UNODC in particular devotes a large part of its normative and practical work to help protect women from becoming victims of human trafficking and other criminal activities. Germany is strongly committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights. We believe that gender equality, women’s empowerment and the promotion of the rights of all women and girls are universal priority, and should therefore be integral to all our efforts. We are convinced that the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action is a crucial step to achieve gender equality. Germany is fighting against human trafficking and migrant smuggling, as well as for the protection of victims of such human rights violations. Not only in the Human Rights Council, we are strongly convinced that UNODC under the guidance of its executive director, Mrs. Wali can also make an important contribution. That is why Germany has directly contributed 70,000 euro to UNODC’s project on gender dimensions of aggravated migrant smuggling. In order to foster evidence-based responses to this issue. Germany thereby helps to put into practice UN Security Council resolution 1325. Here in Vienna, and elsewhere, we should use the momentum of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action to step up our efforts in achieving gender equality. In this context, we welcome France’s and Mexico’s plans for the Generation Equality Forum. And we look forward to support the forum by taking over the lead for the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights together with Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Thank you.
Australia: [Webcast glitch] On the specific consequences of creases on human and on their daily lives. Faced with this situation, the government has implemented a vast business support plan by granting loans explain student forum, tax and charge. The government has also allocated a lump sum of money, roughly the equivalent of 50% of the minimum wage to all those who are unemployed. In addition, we already implemented the vast support plan of family providing exceptional support. In addition to our early involvement, the development and implementation of this rescue plan, as part of the portfolio of the Minister of Women and Children, we anticipate the repercussions of the confinement to not deteriorate the condition of children on the streets. As everywhere else in the world, the difficulty of life have provoked a new stress and conflict within families with steep increases in violence against women and children. The National Observatory was created this year to track and record cases of both. In addition to campaign in the media, the Observatory coordinated an action with a toll free help-number and the platform for integration and monitoring. thank you for your attention.
Ireland: Thank you for this very timely opportunity to discuss here with the fundamental collective goal for achieving gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls on the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing declaration. If we can continue to push for real change, ensuring a gender sensitive approach to drugs, our work has to be underpinned by the core values of diversity, respect, compassion, equity, inclusion, partnership, and it’s evidence informed. We will build engagement with the Pompidou group to implement a gender informed Drug Policy. The lockdown in recent has been restricting the movement of those that may not be safe in their own homes. State agencies and the volunteer sector have responded with the increase of the services and they continue to be available for help and support victims of domestic sexual abuse, resulting in strength, flexibility and cooperation. Thank you for your attention.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society: I must acknowledge that there’s not much less to say, but so much left to be done around the globe. But concentrate dozen societies are working hard to address the existing inequalities that will magnify the primary and secondary impacts of COVID-19. I’m delighted to say that protection, gender and inclusion measures are mainstream throughout our humanitarian response to COVID-19. At higher risks, like in many countries, women and girls benefit from our unique access to local communities and approaches to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. We work on ensuring the secondary impacts are addressed from the staff and in an inter sectoral manner, with sufficient funding and location specific candidates to protection, gender inclusion for the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. The economic situation of women and their access to health and education, their situation at workplaces and at home is noteworthy, because we firmly believe that a life with dignity and equality.
NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Vienna: I want to start with some wonderful work. Never forget the political, economic or religious crisis will be enough to cast doubt on women’s rights. These rights will never be wasted. You have to stay vigilant your whole life. In 2020, we honour the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. At the same time, the Coronavirus pandemic dramatically affected political, economic and social life across the globe and has magnified existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, making us painfully aware of gaps social protection systems. Even before COVID-19, over 1 billion people were without access to basic human needs, and 700 million people living in extreme poverty, mostly women and children. In many countries, health and social addiction systems are inadequate. The COVID-19 pandemic amplifies fundamental inequalities and exposes vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems around the world. On the front lines, 70% of healthcare workers are women. Women do three times as much unpaid work as men. This burden has increased dramatically as families stay home and children must be home-schooled and older relatives may need care. The Shadow side of violence against women and girls is increasing as the pandemic forces women and children into lockdown with abusers during times of severe economic and social stress. Refugees, displaced women and girls living in inadequate, densely populated conditions or women working in the informal sector face even more dire obstacles to economic recovery. Women are underrepresented in decision making in our responses to COVID-19 at the national and federal levels. COVID-19 responses and recovery plans must address gender impacts of this pandemic. By including women and women’s organisations at the heart of responses, changing the distribution of unpaid care work into a career economy that works for everyone, and designing socio economic recovery plans that can improve the lives of women and girls.
We will continue to work in partnership and develop a global plan for action to address multiple changes we all face promoting gender equality, justice, peace and security, human rights, democracy, climate action, and sustainable development. We hope for women to emerge from this crisis and both better.
NGO – AKSI – Action for Justice: It’s been an honour for me to have a chance to speak today. My name is Amanda McGee, a young woman who used to actually work in Action for Justice, Indonesia, a community based organisation that provides legal support. We have seen an increase in domestic violence because of the physical distancing, and stay at home policies during this pandemic. So for a woman who use drugs, violence has increased, both at home and on the streets. […] have also made it more challenging for a woman who does drugs to deal with financial or health problems that many women are facing during this pandemic. Transgender woman who use drugs face even bigger challenges. If they’re unable to work, many cannot access basic government support as they do not identify as man or woman. They are also experiencing difficulties in accessing essential health services because health providers restrict the number of daily patients. Health Workers prioritise emergency cases and for them woman who uses drugs are definitely not on their priority list. The situation and the uncertainty has affected our mental health. Even if women are the victims, they are placed in this situation. Women who are the victims of their abusive relationship with the drug dealers or partners, now also became victims of governments. I would like to encourage all the people in the world to help each other Also, I would like to ask a woman wherever you are, to speak up. The more women speak, the more people know about the challenges we face and return the opportunity to achieve gender equality. Thank you.
Chair: Let me assure you that the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will continue to work closely with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Commission on the Status of Women and other functional commissions of the ECOSOC, as well as with all relevant parties in implementing the Beijing declaration and Platform for Action while also taking into account the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on Women and Girls. Thank you.
Chair: Here in Vienna, we will continue working together to on this very important topic. I would also like to express our gratitude to those who came to this meeting, who participated and made very important statements. I would allow with your indulgence, a personal note, as I complete this meeting, I’d like to pay tribute to a very distinguished colleague of mine, Ambassador Teresa Kim Taylor. She was a former ambassador here in Vienna, and she led the work of the Brazilian side that concluded in the Beijing conference. And I’d like to pay tribute to her and in honour of her work, and those who gave us this landmark roadmap. It’s time for us all the Vienna based commissions to redouble our efforts to recommit ourselves to take these long overdue issues to reality and to move this discussion to the next level. We’ll continue working with all other Commission’s in the UN system and with the very relevant support from UNODC Secretariat. Thank you all very much.
Additional statements by civil society that could not be part of the webcast:
Ms. Gloria LAI, Regional Director of Asia for the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
Ms. Gisela HANSEN RODRIGUEZ, Dianova International – Video
Ms. Jeanne SARSON, Co-Founder of the Non-State Torture (NST) and a Human Rights Defender based in Canada
Ms. Halyna KORNIENKO, Hope and Trust – Video