Drafted by M. Jitsukawa
Concurred by Ms T. Kay
Concurred by Ms KL Lim
Concurred by Mr S. Thampi
Concurred by Ms K. Okaido
Approved by Mr Kim Ha-su
by the Executive Secretary of ESCAP
to open the Asia-Pacific Regional Symposium on Gender Mainstreaming
UNCC, Bangkok, 10 December 2001
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome
all of you at ESCAP on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Regional
Symposium on Gender Mainstreaming. ESCAP is pleased to host this
symposium, the first of five regional symposia that the Office
of the Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Gender Issues
and Advancement of Women holds jointly with five regional commissions
of the United Nations.
As you are aware, ESCAP is the biggest
of the United Nations regional commissions, in terms of the number
of member States, and population and geographical size. More notable
is its diversity in traditional and cultural backgrounds. The
richness of diverse heritages is our proud assets.
At the same time, however, we have
to acknowledge that tradition and culture have often used as excuses
to obstruct the efforts to advance the status of women and make
societies gender equal
One manifestation of such challenges
is the abject poverty that women and their families in this region
are suffering. Because of reasons of lack of education and other
qualification, household responsibilities, and others, women have
been deprived of their rights to work. Many women work without
their contribution being acknowledged nor financially rewarded.
Women, even when they are fortunate enough to have paid work,
they earn barely a half of men's wage. The recent economic crises
in this region further aggravated feminization of poverty. That
is a major concern of ESCAP.
The United Nations actions for the
advancement of women and gender equality began with its Charter
signed in 1945. In the Preamble, faith in fundamental human rights,
in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal
rights of men and women were declared. A half century later in
1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for the
goals of Gender Equality, Development, and Peace, was adopted.
The commitment was further reaffirmed in the General Assembly
Special Session on Women held in June 2000 and the historic Millennium
Declaration in 2000, whereby the heads of States and Governments
pronounced their collective responsibility to uphold the principles
of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.
The signatories to the Millennium
Declaration stated that:
We will spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children
from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty
(&) We committed to making the right to development a reality
for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.
Further they asserted:
To promote gender equality and the
empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger
and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable.
ESCAP is mandated to ensure the fundamental value of equality
to be materialized at every corner of the region. It conducted
regional preparatory processes prior to Beijing and Beijing+5
as well as developed regional follow-up strategies through expert
group meetings that led to the ESCAP Commission Resolution 57/3
that was unanimously adopted by the Commission this year.
With this mandate, we are very much
keen to learn the outcome of this symposium, especially of the
panel on "Eradicating poverty, including through the empowerment
of women throughout their life cycle in a globalizing world"
so that the outcome will give us new guidance.
As ESCAP is now undergoing the process
of revitalizing itself, we have chosen three major themes: that
is, poverty alleviation, managing globalization, and emerging
social issues. You are aware that the theme of the panel covers
the whole of our new objectives.
We look forward to the fruits of
your endeavour for the next four days pioneering the new approach
through the sharing of information about many successful cases
of gender mainstreaming that have been implemented in the region.
On behalf of ESCAP, I wish you constructive
and successful symposium.
Thank you very much.