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Strengthen women's rights amid 'threats'--UN exec

First Posted 19:27:00 10/22/2009

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite the advancement in promoting and ensuring women's rights in Asia, there are still other issues on gender equality that need to be addressed, a visiting official of the United Nations said Thursday.

"Unfortunately, those gaps have to be filled in the context of the multiple threats to development and freedom -- financial, climate change, disparities, and the rise of extremism. We therefore need to strengthen the accountability agenda and be aware of these multiple threats," said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, UN undersecretary general and executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) in her speech before a forum of the Asia Pacific Non-Government Organization (NGO) Forum on Beijing +15 being held here.

With the theme "Weaving Wisdom, Confronting Challenges and Forging the Future," the forum, organized by the Asia Pacific Women's Watch (APWW) and hosted by the Southeast Asia Women's Watch and Miriam College, seeks to find ways to ensure gender equality and promote women's rights amid emerging new threats such as the global economic crisis, insurgency, and climate change.

Attended by various international organizations pushing for women's rights, the forum will run until October 24.

The discussions will be presented at the High-Level Inter-Governmental Meeting +15 organized by the Escap in November and will also be taken up at the global NGO forum to be held in New York City from Feb. 27 to 29, 2010 ahead of the 54th meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Other activities in the three-day event at Miriam College in Quezon City are film and cultural shows with round table discussions and workshops.

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