With 10 years to the SDGs implementation deadline, Africa’s agenda for women’s advancement in all the areas of the Beijing platform for action must be seized by a sense of urgency and move from commitment to action. This was the call reiterated by participants attending the Ministerial session of the Africa regional review of twenty-five years of implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA).
The session, which was preceded by a meeting of experts earlier this week was aimed at assessing the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the BPfA as well as serving as an opportunity for awareness raising and consultation at the national level with a broad range of stakeholders within and outside government.
“There is no doubt we have made progress in the last 25 years, but with 10 years to the SDGs, we must move much faster to address systemic challenges; they are specific, targeted and preventable,” urged Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, Social Development Division at the Economic Commission for Africa.
She urged the Ministers to embrace, harness and upscale digital technologies. “They have the potential to increase productivity for women and contribute to protecting their working conditions,” she said.
Ms. Ruzvidzo also called on member states to invest in women’s health and further, stressed the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in terms of advancing women’s economic empowerment.
“In moving this agenda further and faster, we need to be in touch with what’s happening on the ground and use the right data to make decisions for the benefit of women in our countries,” she said.
The Year 2020 will mark 25 years since the world signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). In the same year the global community will be marking 5th Anniversary of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The two commitments provide a framework for achievement of irreversible and measurable progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment without leaving anyone behind. The BPfA underscores commitment made at global, regional and sub regional levels to ending discrimination, promoting women’s rights and advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The work done in Addis Ababa this week and previously at national level will inform the 2020 Global report on Beijing Plus 25 so that the Africa perspective is captured.
Present at the meeting were ministers from around the continent, including Ethiopia’s Ms. Yalem Tsegaye, Minister of Women Children and Youth; the African Union’s Women, Gender and Development Directorate’s Lehau Victoria Maloka; and UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director, Anita Bhatia.