Activists hail blueprint on women’s rights

Kathmandu, November 13:

Women activists today hailed the blueprint submitted by a high-level coherence panel to the United Nations General Assembly on November 9.

The blueprint has sought the formation of a higher level and well-funded entity focused on women.

In a press meet, Bandana Rana, regional coordinator of the South Asia Campaign for Gender Equality (SACGE), termed the blueprint “a great achievement for women’s movement and gender equality”. “Once the UN General Assembly endorses it, we can seek remedies from conventions to which our country is a signatory,” she said. The panel’s report has been forwarded for discussion at the upcoming 61st General Assembly.

The proposed women’s agency will consolidate three existing women’s units within the UN - Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAG), Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

According to Rana, over a million signatures have been collected from South Asia and sent to the panel members. During the campaign, representatives of the SACGE had met co-chair Pakistani Prime Minister Saukat Azij to lobby for the cause.

“The changes proposed will give mandate, more resources and consolidate efforts made by the UN to respond to the challenges of women,” she said. The report has also recommended a country-level consolidation of UN agencies and the strengthening of leadership on humanitarian and environmental activities.