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CSW marks 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

The 59th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) is taking place right now in New York. From 9-20 March 2015, world leaders and advocates for gender equality have been brought together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss women’s empowerment and gender justice. This includes more than 1,100 NGOs and their 8,600 representatives.

The conference will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality and women’s rights. It will take stock of progress and remaining challenges for its implementation as well as formulate recommendations on efforts to ensure gender equality and women's empowerment for all.

The 1995 Declaration identified 12 critical areas of concern specifically related to women: poverty, education, health, violence against women, armed conflict, the economy, women o power and decision making, institutional mechanisms, human rights, the media, the environment and the girl child.

In the lead up to CSW59 166 countries have undertaken national reviews on the status of women since Beijing. These reviews, coupled with the UN Secretary-General's report on Beijing implementation, will be a central focus of CSW59.

On Monday 9 March, the UN published a political declaration in which governments pledge to take action on women's empowerment through six specific strategies: do more to strengthen implementation of laws; bolster institutions vital to women’s empowerment; transform discriminatory norms and stereotypes; close resource gaps; boost accountability; and enhance capacities and data to track progress.

However, many working for women's rights and gender equality think that this declaration represents a step backwards and a 'bland reaffirmation of existing commitments.' They have written a statement on the declaration, which has so far been signed by over 970 organisations.

See more at: Governments commit to scale-up investments in women’s empowerment and the Statement on the Political Declaration of the Commission on the Status of Women

Amy Hall from the Eldis team has been in is in New York to cover CSW59. She will be looking at a number of different issues, including unpaid care work, gender-based violence and urbanisation and health for our sister website Interactions.

Keep up to date with the conversation on these issues at the Interactions website.

For more information on CSW, including schedules of side events see the UN Women website. For NGO parallel events see the NGO CSW Forum 2015 handbook.