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Shortfalls Result In Inadequate Women's Rights

Funding Shortfalls Result In Inadequate Observance Of Women’s Rights, UN Says

New York, Aug 8 2005 6:00PM

While it is clear that improving the situation of women is key to achieving all the other Millennium Development Goals, funding shortfalls have led to inadequate responses for such immediate priorities as ending violence against women and the denial of their property rights, senior United Nations officials say in a new report.

In the annual report of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for 2004/2005, outgoing UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Mark Malloch Brown says with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as an ambitious yet achievable global agenda for fighting poverty, “it is clear that women need to be at the centre of all these efforts.”

UNIFEM has served as a champion for women inside and outside of the UN, helping them to make their voices heard worldwide, he says in his foreword. “As this report shows, in numerous countries, UNIFEM has helped bring UN Country Teams together on issues ranging from the impact of the Multi-Fibre Agreement on women garment workers in Cambodia, to addressing the challenge of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.”

UNIFEM’s Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women can support only one out of 15 worthy initiatives applying for funding, however, UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer says in her message, therefore “financial support has to be secured well beyond the Trust Fund.”

“In the context of aid effectiveness, it is paramount that sufficient financial resources are allocated to overall efforts aimed at achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment – core components for achieving all of the MDGs,” she adds.

To find sustainable solutions to the challenges identified in the MDGs, the world’s women must be empowered to contribute their knowledge to the process, Ms. Heyzer says.

Many effective strategies for achieving gender equality have developed from efforts to implement the 1955 Beijing Platform and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). “These proven strategies can be up-scaled and utilized in strategies to achieve the MDGs,” she says.

The strategic priorities include giving women full rights to own land and property, providing them decent employment, including in the informal sector, and ending violence which, “already horrific in times of peace, intensifies during armed conflict, with sexual violence no routinely used as a weapon of war.”

Illustrating its work on or describing its funding for other organizations dealing with the promotion of gender equality and human rights in the context of trafficking, poverty, conflict, post-war reconstruction and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, UNIFEM’s report reviews projects in Africa, Asia/Pacific and Arab countries, Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America and the Caribbean.


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