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U.N. Secretary-General, CSW Mark International Women’s Day

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked International Women’s Day Wednesday calling for gender equality and the empowerment of women, saying that until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice; peace, security and sustainable development stand in jeopardy,” VOA News reports.

Though the international community will officially mark the occasion next Monday, the U.N. chose to highlight the occasion Wednesday as part of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting, where experts and advocates are gathered to review the progress made in women’s rights since the Beijing Declaration platform of action was agreed upon in 1995 (3/3).

In an address to delegates at the meeting, Ban “described women’s empowerment as ‘an economic and social imperative,’ recalling that the Beijing declaration had ‘sent a clear message to women and girls around the world that equality and opportunity are inalienable rights,'” Agence France-Presse/Herald Sun reports. Ban also called upon the U.N. General Assembly to move forward “without delay” on plans to establish “a dynamic entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment within the U.N. system” (3/4).

Inter Press Service examines the delay in creating the women’s agency, which was “originally conceived by a high-level panel of U.N. experts back in 2006.”

“The proposal for the creation of the new agency was part of a set of far-reaching reforms for ‘coherence and coordination’ in the U.N. system in several fields, including economic development, humanitarian aid, gender empowerment and the environment,” the news service writes. “But there is speculation that both the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are being held hostage by some countries which are demanding all-embracing, not piecemeal, system-wide reforms” (Deen, 3/3).

In related news, a WHO statement details the agency pledge during the CSW to fight for the human rights of adolescent girls. “During the next five years, we will aim to increase our agencies’ support to developing countries to advance key policies and programmes that empower the hardest-to-reach adolescent girls, particularly those aged 10 to 14 years,” according to the WHO (3/3).

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