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International Women's Day. 8 March 2010
Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities, Progress for All

Message from Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki,
President of the UN General Assembly

Remarks delivered at the Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on 2 March 2010 marking the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

We have gathered here today to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and to renew our commitment to the full and accelerated implementation of the Platform for Action.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action represents a milestone in the advancement of women’s rights. Fifteen years ago, the Beijing World Conference on Women moved the global agenda for gender equality and empowerment of women into the twenty-first century. The Beijing Declaration consolidated five decades of legal and policy advances, aimed at securing equality of women in law and in practice. The Platform for Action expanded and deepened previous political agreements, and charted a results-oriented way forward. In doing so, the Beijing conference built on the rights, gains and new opportunities that women in all parts of the world had worked hard to acquire.

Since Beijing, much has changed for the better for the world’s women and girls, but new challenges have also arisen. The recent economic and financial crisis, the food crisis and the challenges of climate change are having an often disproportionate impact on women. We need to ensure that women can benefit equally from recovery measures. The scourge of violence against women remains pervasive, both in times of peace and in situations of conflict. I commend the Secretary-General for launching a global, multi-year campaign “UNite to End Violence against Women”, and I join him in his call for urgent and committed action. Ending violence against women is our shared responsibility.

This Assembly is increasingly recognizing the impact of gender differences in many areas of the Organization’s work. This fall, the High-level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals will be a test case for demonstrating our commitment to the Beijing Platform for Action. Without progress in gender equality, there can only be limited progress towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals.

The fifteen year’s since the Beijing Conference have seen considerable advances in gender equality and empowerment of women, but many challenges remain. Let us recommit ourselves to the full and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action at national level, and make this a better – and more equal world – for all women and girls.

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