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Working Document
Ministerial Declaration of the Conference of Ministers of Gender Equality, Luxembourg, February 4, 2005

Date of release : 04-02-2005

Policy area : Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

Event : Ministerial Meeting Beijing + 10

We, the Ministers of the 25 EU Member States responsible for gender equality policy participating in the European Ministerial Conference held in Luxembourg on 4 February 2005 in the context of the Beijing + 10 Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the 23rd session of the General Assembly 2000;

  • Acknowledging the conclusions of the report of the Luxembourg Presidency on the progress made by the enlarged EU following the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the Presidency conference on the Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action held on 2 and 3 February 2005, also in Luxembourg;

  • Reaffirm our strong support for and commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Beijing + 5 Political Declaration and Outcome Document of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, as well as the agreed conclusions adopted at the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women since Beijing;

  • Recall our commitment to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol;

  • Reaffirm our strong support for and commitment to the full implementation of the Cairo Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development, 1994, as well as the key actions for the further implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action agreed at ICPD+5 and the Copenhagen Declaration and Action Programme;

  • Emphasise that gender equality can not be achieved without guaranteeing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and reaffirm that expanding access to sexual and reproductive health information and health services are essential for achieving the Beijing Platform for Action, the Cairo Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals;

  • Emphasise that gender equality is an important goal in itself and essential to the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals and that a gender perspective should be fully integrated at the high-level review of the Millennium Declaration, including the Millennium Development Goals;

  • Recognize that full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and is essential for the advancement of women and girls, peace and development;

  • Encourage the active involvement of men and boys in the achievement of gender equality;

  • Ensure that all measures are consistent with internationally recognized principles of non-discrimination - including multiple-discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, and that they take into account the respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the victims of such discriminations;

  • Also recognize that progress towards achieving equality between women and men has been made in the past decade but that inequalities persist and that multiple barriers remain in most of the strategic areas of the Beijing Platform for Action to gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women;

  • Stress that it is essential that the EU member countries act as partners to use the opportunity provided by the CSW 49th session for a full, unequivocal and universal reaffirmation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome document of the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and to review and appraise progress made since Beijing and Beijing+5, to identify obstacles and current challenges and agree on the following actions and initiatives to further implement and promote equality between women and men.

1. Institutional mechanisms

  • Underline that institutional structures and mechanisms at European and at national  level are the main vehicles through which the Platform for Action can be achieved and that they must act as catalysts for gender mainstreaming and gender equality.

  • Agree to

  • Ensure that gender equality bodies and structures have the human and financial resources and capacities necessary to function effectively. Guarantee strong political commitment, at the highest level, as well as clear mandates and functions, in order to ensure the empowerment and advancement of women and the implementation of legislation, to develop specific actions as well as to apply  gender mainstreaming;

  • Enhance dialogue and cooperation with civil society and social partners;

  • Guarantee gender equality under and before the law and create an enabling environment to translate rights into reality

  • Take concrete steps to implement both gender mainstreaming and specific actions to achieve gender equality, including the design and implementation of multi-year national action plans for gender equality and the further development of gender expertise and gender training;

  • Identify processes and tools that will encourage greater accountability for addressing gender equality issues;

  • Develop methods and tools for gender mainstreaming such as gender budgeting, gender audit and gender impact assessment as a priority for the future;

  • Continue to improve the collection, compilation and dissemination of timely, reliable, comparable data disaggregated by sex;

  • Set time-bound targets and progressively update them inter alia through the involvement of national and international statistical organisations;

  • Monitor progress by regular reporting and assessing results in order to create a more consistent and systematic monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the Platform for Action.

2. Gender equality and employment, economy and poverty

  • Recognize that gender equality is fundamental to the achievement of full employment and economic growth, reinforcement of social protection and poverty eradication;

  • Strengthen the link between the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Goals and the Lisbon Strategy, adopted by the European Council in 2000, in order to reinforce economic reform and social cohesion as part of a stronger knowledge-based economy across the Union;

  • Recognize that women’s employment rates, women’s unemployment, the gender pay gap, sex segregation in the labour market, the unequal share of the burden of unpaid labour between women and men and the gender-specific imbalances in decision making, remain challenges for  the EU.

  • Agree to

  • Strengthen efforts to combat social exclusion and to remove obstacles to women’s participation in the labour market, including through measures to combat discrimination and exploitation in the workplace;

  • Develop along with measures to increase competitiveness and productivity, strategies to increase the number of women in employment and in quality jobs, to ensure and protect the rights of women workers and to remove structural and legal and attitudinal barriers to gender equality at work;

  • Focus on policies to enable women and men to balance their working and private life and family responsibilities; Reform tax and benefit systems, where appropriate, to provide financial incentives for women to take up, remain and return to work and encourage men to share responsibilities and tasks in the family;

  • Tackle the gender pay gap through a multifaceted approach addressing underlying factors including sectoral and occupational segregation, education and training, job classifications and pay systems; Promote and support women’s self employment, development of small enterprises, and their access to credit including micro-credit and capital on terms equal to men;

  • Integrate gender analysis into the design, implementation and evaluation of measures, especially those relating to macro-economic policies and poverty reduction. Use quantifiable measurements, targets and benchmarks to allow for a proper monitoring and evaluation of progress;

  • Remove barriers and promote opportunities for women, including women migrants and other marginalized women, to access and participate in economic decision-making at all levels.

3. Gender equality and human rights, peace building, violence and trafficking and other areas of concern

  • Reaffirm that the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is essential for the empowerment of women and girls and the achievement of a real democracy;

  • Reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through development cooperation and partnership and recognize that gender equality and women’s empowerment are of fundamental importance for the achievement of sustainable development and eradication of poverty.

  • Agree to

  • Ensure the full enjoyment by all women and girls, including migrant women, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and develop specific strategies and benchmarks to measure progress;

  • Support, encourage and disseminate research, and collect sex and age-disaggregated statistics on factors and multiple barriers that affect the full enjoyment by women of their economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, including their right to development, and on violations that are particular to women and girls and disseminate the findings and utilize the collected data in assessing the implementation of the human rights of women;

  • Develop preventative methods to combat gender based violence and trafficking in human beings for sexual and other forms of exploitation and monitor their implementation;

  • Intensify actions to prevent and combat all forms of trafficking in women and girls through a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and co-ordinated anti-trafficking strategy;

  • Strengthen measures to address all the  factors, that encourage trafficking in women and girls, by strengthening existing legislation with a view to providing better protection of the rights of women and girls and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators, through both criminal and civil measures and take comprehensive measures to discourage the demand;

  • Mainstream a gender perspective into national immigration and asylum policies, regulations and practices, as appropriate in order to promote and protect the rights of all women and girls,  including the consideration of steps to recognize gender-related persecution and violence when assessing grounds for granting refugee status and asylum;

  • Implement and encourage initiatives, policies and programmes and monitor their implementation, as appropriate, following the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) concerning women, peace and security and the Council of Europe Declaration, Programme of Action and Resolution on democratisation, conflict prevention and peace building, to promote the roles of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace building and post-conflict democratic processes, in particular through the full realisation of the human rights of women and the non-violent resolution of conflicts, the equal participation of women and men in decision-making, the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming, the combating of gender based violence against civil populations, in particular women and girls;

  • Ensure that the needs of women in post-disaster relief and reconstruction situations are properly understood and are addressed in programmes, promote the role of men and women in post-disaster and reconstruction, including in decision making;

  • Ensure women’s equal access to information on disaster reduction by means of formal and non-formal education, including through gender sensitive early warning systems and empower women to take related action in timely and appropriate manner;

  • Intensify our efforts to support developing countries to integrate gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women within policies and programmes, by appropriate technical and financial assistance;

  • Continue to develop, adopt and fully implement laws and other measures, as appropriate, such as policies and educational programmes, to eradicate harmful customary or traditional practices, including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage and crimes committed in the name of honour, which are obstacles to the full enjoyment by women and girls of their human rights and fundamental freedoms;

  • Take concrete steps to create an educational and social environment to encourage women and men, girls and boys to achieve their full potential and to mainstream gender into all educational policies and programmes;

  • Achieve the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision-making and ensure equal political, economic and social participation of women in all spheres to provide the balance that is needed to strengthen democracy; Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision making in and through media and new technologies of communication;

  • Promote balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media;

  • Emphasise the urgent need to link the fight against HIV/AIDS with support for reproductive and sexual health and rights, in particular to ensure strong political commitment and funding for sexual and reproductive health information, services and research, ensure access, extend treatment and care, and ensure reproductive choices to people affected by HIV, in accordance with the ICPD Plan of Action.

* The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, who participated in the ministerial conference as observers, align themselves with this declaration.

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This page was last modified on : 04-02-2005

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