African women have been at the forefront of shaping the global agenda for women’s rights from the 3rd World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985 that resulted in the “Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies”. The 4th World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 was chaired by a prominent African woman, Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, who alongside other African women ensured that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action’s (BDPfA) 12 critical areas of concern reflected priorities of African women and girls.
Over the last two decades, Africa has made tremendous strides in developing progressive frameworks to advance the rights of women on the Continent. Nevertheless, the 20 year review of the BDPfA comes within a social, political and economic environment in which many of the gains made in 1995 are facing various threats.
It is therefore incumbent upon us, as Africans, to re-dedicate ourselves to the commitments made in the BDPfA and other international and regional commitments on rights of women, recognizing women in all their diversities. This includes ensuring on-going processes and negotiations on Post 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Financing for Development (FfD), the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), and the Africa Agenda 2063 do not erode these commitments and that they consolidate the gains made. Reaffirming as well that the State remains the principal duty bearer of human rights obligations and this responsibility should not be shifted to other actors such as civil society, development partners or the private sector.
Access the full Africa CSO position statement on Beijing+20 here.