The “Generation Equality Forum”, which takes place from Wednesday to Friday, is the most important UN convention on this subject since the Beijing Conference of 1995. It must help to “advance the rights of women and girls. all over the world ”and thus respond to a“ very worrying ”situation, summed up Emmanuel Macron, who himself is to launch the event on Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony at the Carrousel du Louvre.
Gender equality has been “weakened” by the covid-19 pandemic, the head of state said in a video message posted last week on his Twitter account. In addition, “we are seeing in many societies, including in Europe, a new conservative period (…) which calls into question the fundamental rights” of women, he lamented.
“Global Acceleration Plan”
The event, co-chaired by France and Mexico under the auspices of UN Women, is to welcome personalities such as the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris (remote), or the former United States Secretary of State. Hillary Clinton (in Paris). It should lead to a “global acceleration plan” towards equality, around several themes such as violence against women, the right to dispose of one’s body, or even economic equality. Each theme will be addressed by “action coalitions” bringing together States, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to develop a “road map” whose implementation must be evaluated within five years.
“Very concrete announcement”
All the states of the world have been invited, but on the condition that they really commit to advancing gender equality, explained Delphine O, ambassador and secretary general of the forum. “Each state, institution or company will have to make a very concrete announcement, whether political, legislative or financial. We have worked upstream to ensure that these announcements are new and substantial, ”she said.
As part of its “feminist diplomacy”, France should thus announce a “significant” increase in its contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (Fnuap), in order to facilitate women’s access to contraception and health. abortion. It should also announce funds for girls’ education, and an initiative to “contribute to the protection of defenders of the rights” of women, according to the Elysee.
Increased funding expected
One of the challenges of the conference will also be to ensure that development aid actors increase the share of their funding specifically allocated to gender equality, explained Mar Merita Blat, in charge of this file at the French Development Agency (AFD). Currently, 1% of official development assistance at the global level is directed towards this theme, according to her. AFD, for its part, directs two-thirds of its financing towards projects with a gender equality objective, or entirely devoted to this purpose. In the first case, the French agency, by helping to build a metro in Cochin in India, has planned a training plan to encourage women to become drivers of the new trains. In the second case, it financed actions in Chad to prevent early marriage or excision, detailed Merita Blat.
Important moment of general remobilization
Several feminist NGOs have planned to make their voices heard at this UN conference. Oxfam France, the Women’s Foundation and the Feminist Generations Collective must therefore hold a press conference on Tuesday, the day before the opening of the forum, to demand from the French government a “feminist recovery plan”.
The Paris summit “should be an important moment of general remobilization of the international community and civil society to achieve gender equality by 2030”, believe these associations, which call for “public funding” so that ” the fight for equality is accelerating ”.
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