Jamaica prepares report to advance rights of women

Jamaica is in the process of preparing the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (BPfA) + 25 progress report.

The document is a visionary agenda for advancing the rights of women and gender equality worldwide agreed on during the 4th World Conference on women in 1995.

The report is to be submitted by May 1, 2019 to UN Women through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and is being prepared by the Bureau of Gender Affairs. It is submitted every five years.

Details were outlined by Acting Senior Director, Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Coburn Robinson, through an interview during the national consultation meeting on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St. Andrew.

The Platform for Action covers 12 critical areas of concern, including poverty, education, training, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms, human rights, media, environment and the girl child.

The BPfA +25 Progress Report includes an assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the agreements enshrined in the BPfA.

It also highlights major achievements on gender equality and empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through a gender perspective.

Highlighting the significance of the document, Mrs. Coburn Robinson said it demonstrates the country’s commitment and obligation to Treaties that have been agreed on.

“It’s important to Jamaica because it shows our compliance with international treaties, agreements and conventions that we have signed on to, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; the SDGs which we have signed on to, which has 17 goals, and particularly goal five that looks at empowering all women and girls and ensuring that our responsibilities to the other SDGs are also captured [in partnership with other stakeholders],” she said.

Robinson said the five key priority areas are: eliminating violence against women and girls; women’s entrepreneurship and women’s enterprises; unpaid care and domestic work/work and family conciliation; gender-responsive social protection; and gender-responsive disaster risk reduction and resilience building.

“Those five we have unpacked and we have asked the relevant ministries, departments and agencies, as well as civil society organisations, to send us data in terms of their achievements, what have they done since 2015, so this is covering 2015 to 2019 data,” she said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Denzil Thorpe, said the BPfA remains the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realise gender equality and the human rights of women and girls everywhere.

The two-day national consultation seeks to examine the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the BPfA; raise awareness on the BPfA reporting process; share information on the progress and challenges on the implementation of the BPfA; and to arrive at a consensus on the draft report.