Meeting of delegates from south Asian region with Lakshmi Puri deputy chairperson of UN Women. 15-16 March 2014
Hemalata, secretary of CITU and B Vijayalakshmi, secretary of AITUC, both representing the World Federation of Trade Unions were part of the delegation of women leaders from South Asian region that met Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women and Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations on 14th March. LopaBannerjee, head of civil society section of UN Women was also present.
The meeting took place on the occasion of the 58th session of UN Commission on Status of Women that is being held in New York on 10 – 21 March 2014. Participants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives comprised the delegation. The delegation tried to impress upon the UN Women that the major concerns of women should be reflected in the final document on agreed conclusions of the 58th session. Hemalata said that the issues of working including women in the unorganised sector should be included. The delegation pointed out that though most of the governments claimed to have achieved progress in relation to several MDGs, the ground level situation was quite different. They said that the final report should reflect the ground reality. UN Women should ensure that the governments are held accountable for taking effective measures to achieve the MDGs related to women and girls. They also wanted the UN Women in different countries and at the sub regional and regional levels to play a more pro active role in coordinating activities. The issue of recognising women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the right to abortion etc and acknowledging women’s rights as human rights was also raised by some members of the delegation.
Lakshmi Puri agreed that though there was progress in achieving the MDGs on the whole, South Asia was off the track and said that it was necessary to address the structural barriers in achieving the goals; otherwise it will not be possible to achieve not only gender equality but also the other goals as well. She requested the members of the delegation to work with their respective governments and impress upon them on making adequate financial allocations to achieve the MDGs related to women and girls.