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December 2005

Announcement of a publication

Regional Consultation on Advancement of Rural Women in the Beijing Plus 10 Era

Policies and Programmes 31 August to 3 September 2004

A Report

A publication of the FAO Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Lao People’s Democratic Republic

RAP Publication 2004/31

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Government of Lao PDR, organised a regional consultation to review and share experiences on the status of rural women in the region ten years after the UN Conference on Women held in Beijing. The meeting comes as the momentum gathers in the global development community to review the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration on the advancement of women.

... The post Beijing era promoted a balanced agenda to counter urban-rural disparities in resource allocation and create viable economic alternatives for rural communities. Such measures contributed to improving rural women’s access to resources, specifically to education, health care, sanitation, clean water and better incomes. Furthermore, direct investment in rural women was intended to improve their knowledge, skills and leadership potential to deal with an increasingly complex society and to take advantage of economic options in local communities.

Women make a critical contribution to household and national food security. Though Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG-3) directly addresses women’s empowerment, gender equality concerns are an integral element of every MDG, particularly the goal that addresses the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (MDG-1). Women play a key role in achieving this objective. Day after day, their labour and knowledge provide critical human capital for achieving food security and poverty reduction in Asia. Backing gender equality is seen increasingly as a way to promote sustainable economic and social development for society at large.

This publication provides a synthesis of the country papers presented at the expert consultation. The regional meeting brought together gender experts from 11 Asian countries as well as development partners such as Chulalongkorn University (Thailand), The International Labour Organization (ILO), The South East Asia Rural Social Leadership Institute (SEARSOLIN), The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It explores the achievements to date and examines persisting constraints challenging rural women’s progress in Asia. I am convinced that the recommendations will allow further strengthening of national policies, programme strategies and legislative measures for the advancement of rural women in the region.

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

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