Generation Equality Forum: S. Wilmès and M. Kitir renew Belgian commitment to advancing the rights of women and girls

In 1995, an ambitious agreement was reached on twelve domains for action to promote the rights of women and girls - the "Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action". Since then, many initiatives and concrete policy measures have been taken to implement the Platform for Action.

Over the years, Belgium has been actively working, both domestically and internationally, to promote gender equality. Minister Wilmès: "More than twenty-five years ago, we committed ourselves in Beijing to take decisive measures for the realization of gender equality. While we have undoubtedly made progress since then, no country has yet managed to fully implement the Beijing Platform for Action. It is therefore of great importance to take additional measures and continue to strive for the realization of gender equality and the rights of women and girls."

In search of a new momentum to push boundaries for gender equality, UN Women, in partnership with France and Mexico, is organizing the Generation Equality Forum to accelerate the realization of gender equality over the next five years. In March 2021, Generation Equality met virtually for the first time in Mexico, with civil society in particular able to play a leading role. Six thematic action coalitions were decided : gender-based violence, climate change, bodily autonomy, economic systems, digitalization and feminist movements.

This week (June 30-July 2), the second major - hybrid - meeting of the Generation Equality Forum takes place in Paris and per VTC. Throughout an intense program, all stakeholders will have the opportunity to formally express their commitments, through which they will actively contribute to lasting and transformative progress in women's and girls' rights.

As a Commitment Maker, our country will support both the action coalition on gender-based violence and the one on sexual and reproductive health and rights (bodily autonomy). Belgium has many years of expertise in both areas, which allows us to play a catalyzing role internationally as well.

The commitments that our country is making will strengthen both Belgian domestic and foreign policy. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmès and Minister of Development Cooperation Meryame Kitir will represent our country via VTC.

Minister Wilmès: "No law, no tradition, no custom or culture can ever justify gender discrimination. Women's rights are human rights, and therefore eminently universal. Belgium has always been a pioneer of human rights in general and women's rights in particular, and of gender equality. Our country routinely raises the issue in multilateral forums and in bilateral discussions, and of course we also commit ourselves domestically. We continue to combat all forms of gender-based violence through an integrated approach with special attention to vulnerable groups, including through the implementation of national action plans. Thus, a 6th national action plan on gender-based violence is being developed and implemented, and a 4th national action plan on "Women, Peace and Security".

Minister Kitir: "There can be no sustainable development without respect for human rights and therefore women's rights. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. After all, women and girls are engines of change". Meryame Kitir adds: "Thanks to our support, we can help empower women and girls. Belgium will continue its commitments by funding key partners in the fight for gender equality, against gender-based violence, and for sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF. Our country looks forward to continuing to work intensively with these organizations and like-minded countries in the coming years to move forward in realizing gender equality and the rights of women and girls".