Press Release

New Publication Highlights Support by UN Population Fund for Goals of Beijing Women's Conference

8 March 2000
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is actively backing efforts to carry out the agenda of the 1995 Beijing women's conference, a new UNFPA publication shows.

Working to Empower Women: UNFPA's Experience in Implementing the Beijing Platform for Action outlines the Fund's support to developing country governments and civil society in each of the 12 "critical areas" identified by the Fourth World Conference on Women as essential to achieving gender equality and sustainable development.

The progress report is part of an international review that will culminate in a special "Beijing+5" session of the United Nations General Assembly from 5 to 9 June.

Along with the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, the Beijing conference revolutionized international standards for the rights and health of the world's women. Both meetings stressed that equality between women and men is a human rights concern, and recommended actions to ensure that policies and programmes at all levels incorporate a gender perspective and address women's needs.

Priorities include:

  • Taking a life-cycle approach to women's health;
  • Providing quality services;
  • Ensuring male involvement and responsibility in reproductive health;
  • Attending to adolescent reproductive health needs;
  • Preventing and treating HIV/AIDS;
  • Eliminating all forms of violence against women, including damaging cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM).

As the lead United Nations agency for implementing the ICPD Programme of Action, UNFPA also plays a critical role in carrying out the overlapping mandate of Beijing. The Fund helps developing countries to improve and increase access to reproductive health and family planning services on the basis of individual choice, and to formulate population policies that will support sustainable economic development.

As Working to Empower Women points out, UNFPA allocates 60 per cent of its support in the area of reproductive and sexual health. A number of programmes link health services and information with micro-financing activities for women. The Fund is also fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, focusing on women's and girls' vulnerability to this disease, and helping provide information and services to youth.

UNFPA is a strong advocate for breaking the silence about the widespread violence against women. Various UNFPA-supported activities advocate the elimination of FGM and other harmful traditional practices, the new publication points out. The Fund also provides reproductive and sexual health services to people in emergency situations. And UNFPA has supported steps by both governments and non-governmental groups to increase women's participation at all decision-making levels.

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Working to Empower Women is the latest in UNFPA's advocacy booklet series on key elements of the ICPD and Beijing consensus. It is available on the worldwide Web in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Two other publications in the series have also been added to the UNFPA Web site this month: Violence against Girls and Women: A Public Health Priority and A Time Between: Health, Sexuality and Reproductive Rights of Young People. All three may be accessed at

Contact Information:

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446

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