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ACD Urged to Effectively Address Women’s Issues

SDG 5 envisages achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.SDG 5 envisages achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi held talks with Shamshad Akhtar Detho, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), on the sidelines of the 2nd Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit held October 8-10 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“ESCAP has immense capacity to address the common issues and challenges before women in the region,” Molaverdi said during the meeting, IRNA reported.

The ACD, a continent-wide forum and the first of its kind in Asia, was inaugurated in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand. It aims to incorporate every Asian country and build an Asian Community without duplicating existing organizations or creating a bloc against others.

A key principle is to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia’s competitiveness by maximizing the diversity and rich resources evident in the continent. Some of the core values of the ACD are: positive thinking; voluntarism; non-institutionalization; openness; respect for diversity; and the evolving nature of the ACD process.

Taking stock of the Iranian government’s will to harness existing potential to realize the goals on its agenda vis-à-vis women’s advancement, Molaverdi said the next five-year economic development plan (2016-2021) presents “the perfect opportunity for the Vice Presidency to determine its course of action.”

Iran has established a national committee on the Sustainable Development Goals, and a specialized committee for implementing Goal 5 has been set up at the Vice Presidency.

“The committee is set up to indigenize the indicators in order to realize the targets set in Goal 5,” Molaverdi noted.

SDG 5 envisages achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Assuring women’s rights through legal frameworks, ending violence against women and girls, eradicating child marriage, ensuring equal pay and political presence of women globally are some of its targets.

  Not Effectively Addressed

Molaverdi  expressed hope that the next meeting in the UAE in 2018 will focus on women in the region and their role in sustainable development to make up for the oversight in the past two rounds.

“I hope that issues concerning women and family, which have so far been conspicuous by their absence in the agenda, will find a solid place in the third session,” she said.

Akhtar said she would pursue the matter given the role and significance of women and their needs in the region and beyond.

“Not all women in the region come from the same background and standards of living; while some in certain countries enjoy high social participation, some are totally marginalized in several countries,” the UN official noted.

“The ACD and ESCAP can be used to boost women’s participation in the social and economic process across the region.”

She recalled the ESCAP’s perseverance in compiling and presenting the ‘Beijing+20 Reports: Recommitting for Women and Girls’ to renew political will and commitment to support women, stirring up public debate through social mobilization and awareness-raising, strengthen evidence-based knowledge, enhance resources to achieve gender equality, and women’s empowerment.

Akhtar expressed readiness to share information and experience with Iran. She was invited by the vice president to visit Iran.

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