The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/discours/2005/02/03_ja_pekin10-02/
Back to the origin page
Closing address by Marie-Josée Jacobs, Minister for Equal Opportunities, at the European Conference Beijing + 10
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Here we are at the end of this meeting. It has been a pleasure for me to be a part of these two days of intensive work.
At the opening of this conference, I mentioned a certain number of areas in which I hoped our discussions could help us make progress. I have not been disappointed.
It has been wonderful for me to see you working hand-in-hand in the same effort to promote equality between women and men: political decision-makers, experts qualified in the area of gender equality, academics, social partners and representatives of civil society.
These two days will have enabled us to assess the enormous progress the European Union and the Member States have made over the past decade. But they will also have enabled us to pinpoint everything that remains to be done, and to establish paths for our future strategies.
First, this conference will have been an important reminder of the commitment we made in Beijing to promote equality between women and men. It encourages us to reaffirm it vigorously at our upcoming meeting in New York during the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
It has also helped us see the scope of this formidable instrument: The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. It calls on us to strengthen our commitment to its full and effective implementation.
This conference will have shown that the gender equality policy is not an isolated policy, but that the gender dimension applies to many areas and must be incorporated into all policies. It is also important to emphasise the links between the implementation of the Beijing Platform, the Cairo Action Programme, the Copenhagen Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals. Such an approach ensures greater consistency and underscores gender equality and empowerment for women in every area.
The conference also reminded us that equality between women and men is essential for the achievement of full employment, economic growth, stronger social protection and the elimination of poverty. It has been noted - and rightly so - that gender equality must make an essential contribution to achieving the Lisbon objectives, be they employment or social cohesion.
Another lesson we can learn from this conference is to recognise that, in order to actively promote equality between women and men, we must mobilise all the instruments of the equality policy.
The European legislation on equality between women and men is one of the cornerstones of Community accomplishments. Therefore, we must not spare our efforts to ensure compliance with it and to guarantee that it is fully implemented.
The strategy for achieving the objective of equality between women and men is twofold: integrating the gender dimension and developing specific actions are complementary.
Moreover, the equality policy requires structures, institutions and players capable of implementation in the field.
We will also have learned that it is necessary to bolster the institutional mechanisms in order to implement all the other objectives of the Beijing Platform.
The implementation of a horizontal approach for equality requires the creation and strengthening of instruments and tools that commit all the players - both public and private.
This morning’s speakers told us about very worthwhile paths for the development and application of tools, such as impact evaluation according to gender, and the preparation of budgets that include the gender perspective. The same is true for the creation and implementation of action plans, without forgetting the development of expertise and training in equality.
It has been demonstrated that a periodic evaluation, based on indicators, can assess the progress made based on performance objectives. The collection, compilation and dissemination of data broken down by gender are essential to butress indicators. The improvement of the indicators is a challenge for the future!
During our debates, the necessity of developing evaluation and accountability mechanisms was often mentioned. Having the means to evaluate and report are essential conditions for the culture of good governance.
While discussing post-conflict situations, gender-based violence and human trafficking, we were reminded just how essential the full achievement of all the rights of a human being and fundamental liberties is for the emancipation of women.
Mali’s example has convinced me how important it is to continue our efforts to include the gender dimension in development programmes and policies.
So many challenges still lie ahead! They will be at the centre of our discussions during tomorrow morning’s ministerial meeting.
In conclusion, it is important for me to note how crucial I think it is for men to be actively involved in the gender equality debate and how they must strengthen their partnership with women. And let us not forget to include youths as soon as possible - both girls and boys - in the achievement of equality.
Once again, I would like to thank you all for participating in this relevant meeting. The exchanges have been particularly enriching and replete with cordiality and mutual respect.
These two worthwhile days have helped us progress in our reflection and identify paths for future action. Your contributions will be used in our debates tomorrow and will help us identify future strategies.
Finally, allow me to thank all those who contributed to the organisation of this conference, and I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the interpreters who facilitated communication among us.
I invite you to close this day in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and I look forward to seeing you again this evening for the conference dinner, which will be held at 8:00 p.m. in the Cercle municipal in Luxembourg.