Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege for me to speak at this high -level meeting, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Twenty-five years on, we acknowledge that progress in implementation has neither been fast nor deep enough. Till date, no country has fully achieved gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic has further pushed to the precipice, the limited gains achieved and as often is the case, the impacts are exacerbated for women and girls.
Bhutan’s commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains unwavering. Ratification of CEDAW was a turning point that helped focus and intensify national efforts to bring the letter and spirit of Gross National Happiness to all Bhutanese through gender-responsive approaches to national legislation, policies, and interventions. Every policy and project is assessed using a GNH Policy Screening Tool that includes gender equality as a key criteria.
Such a differentiated approach has brought significant outcomes for Bhutanese women and girls. There has been remarkable progress across key sectors, led by health and education.
In our efforts to promote equal and meaningful participation in decision-making, the National Plan of Action to Promote Gender Equality in Elected Offices has started to yield encouraging trends within the national Parliament. To meet the extraordinary challenges of these exceptional times, the Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, is joined by a growing number of capable Bhutanese women, providing formidable leadership in our national efforts to mitigate the impact, and build back better in the wake of the pandemic.
Implementation of the contingency plan on gender and child protection is our priority and will be built on the outcome of an in-depth impact assessment of the pandemic on women and children. The National Gender Equality Policy will steer our vision of a society where substantive equality is practiced.
We will continue to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and training, to support women’s and girls’ participation in all spheres, and strengthen efforts to eliminate Gender Based Violence and create a sustainable protection system.
The Beijing Platform for Action was a groundbreaking blueprint, for all of humanity and not just women. Every individual benefits when women and girls are educated, healthy, and empowered. Towards that end, Bhutan remains resolute in its determination to accelerate action at all levels for the advancement of women and girls, and to gender responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Thank you and Tashi Delek.