Quezon City – The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and representatives from national government agencies, non-government, and international organizations gathered at the Jesse Robredo Hall of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to officially start the national-level comprehensive review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) on January 30, 2019.
About 100 representatives from various organizations participated in the whole-day event. Technical Working Groups (TWG) were created along six overarching dimensions: inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work; poverty eradication, social protection and social services; freedom from violence, stigma and stereotypes; participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions; peaceful and inclusive societies; and environmental conservation, protection and rehabilitation. TWGs will contribute to the crafting of the Philippine Progress Report for the 25th anniversary of the BPfA in year 2020.
The BPfA is the most progressive blueprint for advancing the rights of women and gender equality worldwide. Agreed during the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the document affirmed the principles that would govern future actions and strategies for women by integrating their concerns in national plans and policies. It also made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concerns, namely: women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms, human rights of women, women and media, women and the environment, and the girl child.
“The Philippine Commission on Women, as head of the National Steering Committee, joins the commitment and supports all our partners to make this a historic occasion as we celebrate a quantum leap in advancing the rights of women and achieving gender equality in all spheres of life,” PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy emphasized in her Opening Remarks.
DILG Assistant Secretary Marjorie Jalosjos meanwhile noted that international cooperation such as the BPfA binds each and every member-country to strengthen their support to certain causes like battling violence inflicted on women, rehabilitating women involved in drugs, women empowerment, among others.
“That is why the DILG has always believed in convergence, collaboration, partnership, linkages and relationships because unity has always been the key ingredient in every successful campaign or initiative,” she added.
In 2015, the Philippines submitted its Progress Report on the Implementation of the BPfA and the Outcomes of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly (2000). These reports provided an overview of the major achievements and the challenges encountered since the passage of the BPfA in 1995; updates on the 12 BPfA areas of concern covering the period 2009-2013; and the emerging issues to inform the future process of selecting the post-2015 development agenda.
This year, the country is set to submit the BPfA +25 Progress Report which shall include an assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the agreements enshrined in the BPfA. The Report shall also highlight major achievements on gender equality and empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through a gender perspective. Due on May 1, 2019, the full report will be officially launched in August 2019 as part of the tenth anniversary celebration of the passage of the Magna Carta of Women.
In her message, Ms. Maria May-i L. Fabros, Principal Assistant of the Department of Foreign Affairs-United Nations and International Organizations emphasized the importance of the outcome document of the national review.
“Why is this document important? Because it will craft the next reality, the next vision, the next dream on how and where women and girls and where gender equality and women’s empowerment would be in the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And in the 2020 meeting during the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women next year – that is when we can decide as Filipinos if there would be something more beyond Beijing,” she shared.
Recognizing this significance, the PCW will hold a series of regional island group consultations and a national validation during the National Women’s Month in March as follows:
• March 6 to 7 – Luzon
• March 11-12 – Visayas
• March 14-15 – Mindanao
• March 29 – National Validation
“We shall remain steadfast in our commitment to make this world a better place for all women and children. Let’s work together to realize our aspiration for a society where there is development for all – defined by gender-based economic, social, political, and environmental rights,” Chairperson Bucoy noted.
The PCW has also put up a microsite where stakeholders can access documents and updates about the BPfA+25 national review, accessible through http://bit.ly/BPFA25PH.