03 02 2012 First Week Summary of the 56th Session Commission on the Status of Women

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03 02 2012 First Week Summary of the 56th Session Commission on the Status of Women Powered By Docstoc
					The 56th Session Commission on the Status of Women

Summary related to UNEP (Between Feb.27 and Mar.2, 2012)

Unleashing the potential of rural women — a quarter of the world’s population — was critical to ending
global poverty and hunger, high-level speakers said as the Commission on the Status of Women opened
its fifty-sixth annual session. Deputy Secretary-General ASHA-ROSE MIGIRO said that while rural
women and girls made up one fourth of the world’s population, “their contributions and priorities have
been largely overlooked”. Their economic empowerment must be accelerated, not least because it would
have an immensely positive impact on development indicators across the spectrum of society. MARJON
V. KAMARA (Liberia), Chair of the fifty-sixth session, said that the subsequent outputs should feed into
other intergovernmental processes, such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable development
(“Rio+20”), to deliver on international commitments to advance the rights of women and girls in all
spheres of human endeavour. “Ad hoc interventions are not enough; the broader policy environment must
be responsive to the rights and needs of rural women and girls,” she continued, adding that action on
financing for rural development, agriculture and climate change should prioritize rural women and girls.
MANU SAREEN, Minister for Gender Equality of Denmark, spoke on behalf of the European Union,
saying that empowering rural women had been shown to increase production and productivity, raise
household incomes and facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change. ZENEBU TADESSE,
Minister for Women, Children and Youth Affairs of Ethiopia, said the multiple challenges facing rural
women, including poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity, had been exacerbated by the interrelated
economic, energy and food crises, as well as climate change. In this regard, Ethiopian Energy
Development Programme had taken effective steps to introduce new technology, such as energy-saving
stoves.

INGRID FISKAA, Norway’s State Secretary for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, said
one crystal clear message was that gender equality and the empowerment of women were preconditions
for sustainable development, and “doing the right thing for women and for the planet would require a
change of mindset […] among the rich and powerful elites around the world.” Addressing male leaders
and asking them to “stop promoting the short-term self-interest” and to consider the long-term collective
good, she added that the Rio+20 in four months would be a test for this. IOLANDA CINTURA, Minister
for Women and Social Action of Mozambique, said women were the mainstay of her country’s rural
economy, and the Government had taken several initiatives to empower them in key areas, such as health,
education, agriculture, the environment and energy. The Government’s strategy on gender, the
environment and climate change aimed to ensure equal access to and control over natural resources as
well as technology to adapt to and mitigate climate change. SHIRIN SHARMIN CHAUDHURY,
Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs of Bangladesh, said women’s empowerment required a pro-
poor strategy. In this light, Bangladesh government used the Climate change Trust Fund to protect women
from the particular effects of climate change that threatened them.

Speaking on financing for gender issues, LIANE SCHALATEK, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll
Foundation, North America, said that, since women were disproportionately affected by climate due to
gender-based discrimination and norms, responses to climate change could not afford to be “gender-
blind”. The global experience of development finance showed that expenditures that took gender equality
into account were more effective and efficient. Climate financing could not occur in a vacuum, she said,
stressing that it must ensure women’s rights. In this light, she noted that the recently created Global
Green Climate Fund, which contained five key references to gender, was the first climate change-
financing instrument to integrate gender considerations from the outset, which was meaningful on the
ground that it had acknowledged the need for a gender-sensitive approach and recognized women as a
crucial group for input and participation in the Fund’s strategies and activities.

				
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posted:10/5/2012
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