Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA

Participants at a high-level continental meeting on Friday called for concrete actions in all the 12 target areas of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) to drive the momentum in women’s advancement in Africa.

The call was made by African experts and policymakers during a five-day high-level continental meeting, which is underway at the African Union (AU) headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa from October 28 to November 1, to review the 25 years implementation of BPfA under the theme “Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.”

Noting that only 10 years have remained in the implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African experts as well as ministers in charge of gender and women’s affairs jointly emphasized that “Africa’s agenda for women’s advancement in all the areas of the Beijing platform for action must be seized by a sense of urgency and move from commitment to action.”

The joint call was made by African experts and ministers who have drawn across the continent.

“There is no doubt we have made progress in the last 25 years, but with 10 years to the SDGs, we must move much faster to address systemic challenges. They are specific, targeted and preventable,” said Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of Social Development Division at the ECA told the high-level meeting.

The BPfA mainly flagged 12 key areas where urgent action was needed to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys. It also laid out concrete ways for countries to bring about change.

The declaration, among other things, underscores commitments made at global, regional and sub-regional levels to ending discrimination, promoting women’s rights and advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Ruzvidzo also called on “all AU member countries to invest in women’s health and further,” as she emphasized the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in terms of advancing women’s economic empowerment.

“In moving this agenda further and faster, we need to be in touch with what’s happening on the ground and use the right data to make decisions for the benefit of women in our countries,” the ECA director said.

The ECA’s social development director also urged the ministers to “embrace, harness and upscale digital technologies,” as she stressed that “digital technologies have the potential to increase productivity for women and contribute to protecting their working conditions.”

The 55-member pan African bloc, AU, also underscored the timing of the ongoing meeting to review BPfA 25 years’ implementation progress in the African perspective, as the year 2020 is set to mark 25 years since the world signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Enditem

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