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Generation Equality Forum 2021: a global event to launch a programme of concrete actions to promote women’s rights and equality

Delphine O., the French Government’s Ambassador for Women's Rights and Secretary General of the Generation Equality Forum 2021, presented this Forum to the members of the Assembly’s Women Free from Violence parliamentary network, meeting today.

The Generation Equality Forum, organised at the initiative of UN Women and co-chaired and co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico, is the first diplomatic summit to promote women’s rights since the Beijing Conference in 1995, explained Ms O. It will take place in two phases, from 29 to 31 March in Mexico City (by videoconference) and in Paris in June (in a hybrid mode).

The aim of the forum is to take stock of the last 25 years in the field of women’s rights and equality between women and men, she added. “We can identify many advances in access to education, health, or positions of political and economic authority, but women’s rights continue to be the object of well-orchestrated attacks against full equality in the political, economic, sexual and reproductive, social and health fields,” she underlined.

Ms O. also said that the second objective of the Forum was to create new impetus by generating a roadmap that would not be based on a new international treaty, but on a programme of concrete actions launched in Paris in June 2021 and implemented over the next five to ten years. “The legal tools to protect women’s rights exist - including the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action. But what we lack today are the means of action to implement rights that are guaranteed in theory but not in practice," she pointed out.

Six 'coalitions for action' have been defined around priority themes: the fight against gender-based violence, rights and economic justice, the place of women in the fight against global warming, the role of women in technology and innovation, sexual and reproductive rights and health, and feminist movements and leadership. “We have added a seventh theme that will be the subject of a separate mechanism, ‘Women, Peace and Security’, since this year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security,” she said.

A number of 'groups of actors' had already joined the event: 14 states, multilateral organisations, civil society associations and businesses. Ms O. concluded by strongly encouraging the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly to engage in this Forum, particularly in the coalition on the fight against gender-based violence.

Marie Fontanel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the Council of Europe, who also took part in this exchange of views, stressed that the Forum was a great opportunity for the Council of Europe to continue the process of universalising the Istanbul Convention, which will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its opening for signature in May 2021.