On this page, you will find a series of Gender and Equity-related Political Commitments and Mandates that countries and institutions from around the world and the Western Pacific Region have established and approved. This list is not exhaustive, but rather meant to grow with commitments and mandates added periodically as we move forward.
The Western Pacific Region, For the Future Strategy, is a five-year strategy, adopted unanimously by all WHO Member States in the Western Pacific in 2019, holds countries and the institution accountable to using a gender and equity lens to everything they do. Through seven practical action areas set forth to support institutionalizing gender mainstreaming in the Region’s policy and programme work, applying a gender and equity lens is noted to be central in addressing the four thematic priorities outlined in the Strategy, to responding to current and future health challenges, and to help transform the Region’s vision, to become the healthiest and safest region in the world, into reality.
The Resolution on Women, Health and Development, 1984 and 1997, adopted by the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, outlines activities the Region taken in response to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Actions include but are not limited to collection of data disaggregated by gender; increased representation of women in staff positions and in development processes; and expansion of programmes on immunization. These actions are outlined to be matched and strengthened by Member States to achieve more gender equity in the Region.
The Resolution on the Full Involvement of Women in all Aspects of the Work of WHO in the Western Pacific Region, 1996, adopted by the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, outlines activities and targets for the Regional Office to implement and achieve to improve the employment and participation of women in the work of the WHO; noting that the representation of women in various staffing positions, governing bodies and activities is essential to improving the effectiveness of the Organization.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines seventeen global goals to achieve comprehensive, equitable and sustainable development. Central to the Sustainable Development Goals is the unequivocal commitment of all UN Member States to leave no one behind. Goal number five specifically focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and includes specific targets on health and health-related topics. Beyond being a stand-alone goal, it is a critical goal towards accelerating progress in all other development areas, like goal 3, Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
This Strategy, called all levels of the World Health Organization to mainstream gender in all areas of work and to provide support to Member States to build capacity for gender mainstreaming.
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing Declaration for Action), which was adopted unanimously by 189 countries, remains to be the most comprehensive roadmap for a more gender equal world. The Beijing Declaration for Action was first to endorse gender mainstreaming as a critical strategic approach for achieving gender equality by mandating that all stakeholders, including UN organizations, Member States and civil society take action towards gender equality, including incorporating gender equality perspectives and concerns into all policies and programmes.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, recognized reproductive health as a basic human right, and the empowerment of women and gender equality as important tenants of population health and development. This conference adopted the Programme of Action, which reiterated the importance of women’s empowerment to improve the quality of life for everyone, and outlined 3 quantitative goals for achievement by 2015: (1) A decrease in infant, child and maternal mortality; (2) Provision of universal access to education, especially for girls; (3) The provision of universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning.
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, and came into force as an international treaty in 1981. This Convention, described as the International Bill of Rights for Women, was informed by over thirty years of work done by United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The Convention is rooted in the principles of equality, focusing on the advancement and development of women, to guarantee their ability to exercise and enjoy human rights. The Convention is also an agenda for countries to abide to, to inform action in guaranteeing the exercise and enjoyment of these rights¹.
¹ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women New York, 18 December 1979. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CEDAW.aspx
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