UNRISD is marking 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which remains an ambitious agenda for women’s rights. While there have been improvements in many areas, women’s rights still have a long way to go. Beijing+20 is an opportunity to reflect on the Declaration and its impact in the context of the post-2015 agenda and to reinforce the commitment to fully and universally achieve women’s rights.
1995-2015: 20 Years of Action and Change
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action recognize women’s rights as human rights everywhere in the world by legitimizing women’s voices, whether they represent civil society, states or international organizations. Thanks to these documents, women’s rights have become a policy and advocacy priority across the world, at national and international levels. At the national level, the Platform for Action is the framework by which states can be held accountable and their actions towards the realization of women’s rights monitored. At the international level, a number of regional and international agreements which support women’s rights have been approved on the basis of the Platform.
After 20 years, many are the gains, but many also are the dramatic changes on the national and international stage that affect women’s rights. Countries in both the global North and South have been undergoing major economic and social transformation as a result of crises in global security, food and in the economy. Many regions have experienced the rise of fundamentalist ideologies and severe conflicts with and between non-state actors.
At Beijing+20 we take the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the last 20 years as well as on the challenges that hamper the full realization of women’s rights. It is a time to rethink the implementation of the Platform for Action, and to strengthen the commitment to women’s rights and gender equality of states, civil society and international organizations.
UNRISD Engagement with Beijing+20
UNRISD will contribute to the Beijing+20 process with a number of initiatives.
- UNRISD is publishing a series of think pieces, Let's Talk about Women's Rights: 20 Years after the Beijing Platform for Action, which bring together leading feminist thinkers from around the world to discuss achievements on women’s rights and gender equality, identify the challenges of implementing the Platform for Action and consider ways of moving forward. The think pieces will offer provocative and critical insights and highlight opportunities for realizing women’s rights after 2015.
- UNRISD participated in the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), which was held 9–20 March in New York, where we co-organized a side event with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation: Women's Mobilization for Gender-Egalitarian Policy Change in the 20 Years since Beijing. The discussion was based on findings from the UNRISD research project When and Why Do States Respond to Women’s Claims? Speakers suggested ways to support women’s rights advocates in their efforts to push for laws and policies for gender equality. UNRISD and the Foundation also co-hosted a private networking event attended by Dagmar Enkelmann, president of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Cornelia Möhring, member of the German parliament and Die Linke’s spokesperson on women’s affairs, and other members of CSW delegations.
- At CSW59, UNRISD Senior Research Fellow, Magdalena Sepúlveda moderated the official panel discussion on Managing the transition from the MDGs to SDGs: Lessons learned for gender equality from the MDGs and galvanizing transformative action on Thursday, 19 March 2015 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.
- UNRISD Senior Research Fellow Magdalena Sepúlveda co-chaired the Expert Group Meeting on Envisioning Women’s Rights in the post-2015 Context held in November 2014. The report, for which the Co-Chairs are the lead authors, takes stock of current research providing input and evidence to the Commission on the Status of Women in its deliberations at the 59th session in March 2015.
UN-ECE Beijing+20 Regional Review Process
UNRISD participated in both the intergovernmental and civil society activities around the European Regional Review of progress in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action 20 years on.
The campaign “Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” is facilitated by UN Women in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action: see beijing20.unwomen.org.