In 1995, Beijing Conference (which was the fourth World Conference on Women) organized by the United Nations 189 UN Member states unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA) as a global agenda for ensuring the improvement of human rights for women and girls. The BPFA set strategic objectives for the achievement of gender equality in twelve critical areas of concern, including women and health including sexual and reproductive health and rights, women in power and decision-making, poverty, education and training, armed conflict, and economy. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) is visionary agenda for the empowerment of women overcoming the gender stereotypes for gender equality. It is the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, everywhere. After the adoption of BPfA, the member states of United Nations committed to review the progress reports in every five years. Till now the five year review, ten year review, fifteen year and 20 year’s review took place in 2000 (BPfA +5), 2005 (BPfA +10) and 2010 (BPfA+ 15) and 2015 (BPFA+20) respectively and now the twenty five years review Beijing+ 25 will officially take place in 2020, during the 64th Commission on the Status of Women.
During the 62th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62) in March 2018, two resolutions pertaining to Beijing +25 were adopted for action by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Out of these decides that at its sixty-fourth session, in 2020, the Commission will undertake a review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. It also calls for national and regional-level reviews, the outcomes of which will feed into the 2020 review to be undertaken by the Commission. In this vein, the resolution encourages governments to collaborate with non-governmental organizations, and other relevant actors in preparation for the 2020 review. CSW 64 will take place in March 2020, preceding the 25th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Conference, which will take place in September.
As the global community marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995)1, and five years of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development2 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the moment is right to achieve irreversible and measurable progress towards this universal commitment to all women and girls, everywhere. Accordingly, all States are called upon to undertake comprehensive national-level reviews of the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and of the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly held in 20004. Governments are called upon to collaborate with relevant stakeholders at all levels on the preparations for the 2020 review so as to benefit from their experience and expertise. The United Nations regional commissions are invited to undertake regional reviews so that the outcomes of intergovernmental processes at the regional level can feed into the Commission’s 2020 review.
In order to contribute to the Nepal Government for state’s review process and regional review being carried out by UN commissions, Women’s Rehabilitation Center Nepal (WOREC) and National Indigenous Women Forum (NIWF) has been conducting national review of progress in implementation of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as part of the national and regional review processes since April 2019. NIWF, which exclusively works for indigenous women of Nepal, has been associating with WOREC for BPfA review conducting district and province level consultations in Nepal, and have planned for national consultation for review the progress and challenges. The report to be developed after the district, provincial and national consultations will be produced to Nepal Government and UN regional commissions.
The planned review of BPfA and its finding will be submitted and to include it in the national and regional review reports to be produced to 64th commission in 2020 and will also bridge gap between observations of people from grass-root to policy making level around the areas of following 4 themes of BPFA through report dissemination to Nepal government, and further carrying out facilitation in empowering, organizing, coordinating, networking to create space for unspoken and unheard to be heard.
Amongst 12 critical areas of concern, this national review has focused on four major areas of concerns of BPFA along with the concern of indigenous women as cross-cutting issue.
Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are related to multiple human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination among various others. The government of Nepal has made progressive provision in laws and policies related to SRHR, however, despite these provisions, women’s SRHR are frequently being violated, its provisions and mechanism that are directed, structured and influenced by the patriarchal thoughts.
Prioritization in the adoption of Gender Equality Policies ensuring the entity in charge of the implementation of such policies with adequate decision-making powers, human and financial resources, is very crucial. To ensure the coordination and cooperation among the Ministries in charge of the promotion of women’s human rights at all levels, such policies should be in place, and this section of the scenario has to be focused while forwarding the report from government authorities. Placing women in mere decision making level without a proper environment to deliver their decision would make no sense and the government should eye on it.
There are various efforts and activities going on from different sectors and corners to minimize GBVaWG. Patriarchal social structure feeds off and reinforces VAW in our society. Women and girls are continuously suffering from different forms of violence in family, neighbor, society and nation as a whole. Even the women who are working as a deputy Mayor are not being able to take their decision and are compelled to face the violence. Institutional mechanism for the advancement of women is yet not strong enough. National Women Commission is being unable to effectively protect and promote women’s rights due to the pending appointment of the National Women’s Commissioner. The pending adoption of the National Gender Equality Policy and insufficient coordination in the efforts of the National Women’s Commission, the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizen, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and the Social Development Ministry for gender equality is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
The problems faced by the girl child is different than the problems faced by the women. Gender- based discrimination is one of the major issues and being born as a Nepali girl child is associated with difficulties as pursuing technical education is still challenging as it is considered as boy’s area of education, child marriage, sexual harassment is rampant, girls with disability are excluded from most of the extracurricular activities and the list of problems goes on. So, the government should focus on the implementation of the laws, and provision to address these issues as per the requirement.
In this context, this national consultation will reflect upon how we could include ourselves in this process to make it more favorable for everyone to implement BPfA at local and national level. For this national consultation, we are hoping to bring together altogether 80 members of civil society including, women rights organizations and activists, human rights organizations, queer rights activists, journalists, lawyers, students and UN agencies.
Objectives of the National Consultation
Event date: 10 July 2019 (8.00 am – 3.30 pm)
Venue: Hotel Manang, Thamel, Kathmandu