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Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It is also one of the reference frameworks to analyse the situation of women around the world and to assess the efforts of States in support of women’s empowerment.

Adopted by consensus in 1995 following the mobilization of over 40,000 government delegates, experts and civil society representatives at the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action embodies the commitment of the international community to achieve gender equality and to provide better opportunities for women and girls. The platform of action responds to the collective effort of women and girls around the globe who have fought to achieve gender equality and women’s rights and acts as a continuum of the international community’s commitment to address civil, political, social, economic and cultural inequalities. It remains relevant today, affirming that women’s rights are human rights and that equality between women and men benefits everyone.

The Platform of Action covers 12 critical areas of concern:

The Platform also sets an agenda for governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to safeguard women’s human rights and to ensure that gender is taken into account in all national, regional and international policies and programmes.

Progress on implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) is reviewed by the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) every five years. In this regard, and since the first review in 2000, the United Nations Regional Commissions, including the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), have been mandated to prepare, in collaboration with regional organizations, regional reports on progress made towards the implementation of the BPFA. These reports are based on national reviews conducted by each of the United Nations member countries, and feed into a global report which is consolidated by the CSW Secretariat at UN Women and presented by the Secretary General to the General Assembly.

To date, five reviews have been conducted – in 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 – with each review resulting in an outcome document in which countries pledge to continue their efforts towards achieving global commitments relating to the rights of women and girls. The outcome document further outlines priority actions for the coming five years.

ESCWA has assumed a leading role to support countries in the Arab region in the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action since the preparatory phase for the Fourth World Conference on Women. ESCWA continues to assist Arab countries to prepare for periodic national and regional reviews and in following up on regional and global recommendations arising from these reviews.