These were delivered by civil society at the UNECE regional review meeting on Beijing+25 in Geneva, 29-30 October 2019.

Opening statement

"My name is İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu and I am a 26 year old lawyer and a PhD student at Koç University in İstanbul... I am grateful that they have given me, a young feminist, the floor to deliver this message. I was a 2 year-old baby when the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted, yet it continues to be the most progressive blueprint for achieving gender equality and advancing the rights of all women to date."


Item 5: Closing the gender gaps - effective economic and social policies in the UNECE region

“My name is Asel Dunganaeva, I am from Kyrgyz Republic, rural women ́s organization `Alga ́, and I am a rural woman myself… Respectful governments and civil society, listen to rural women and invest in our existence. If rural women stop feeding the world, nothing else matters.”

Includes interventions by

  • Marieke Koning
  • Asel Dunganaeva
  • Gea Meijers
  • Valerie Bichelmeier

Item 6: Ending violence against women and girls - lessons from the region

My name is Rashima Kwatra, and I work for the Swedish Federation for LGBTIQ Rights… while progress to tackle gender based violence has been made, gross human rights violations and violence against all women and gender non conforming people persist and exist in every country in the UNECE region.”

Includes interventions by

  • Mohinder Watson
  • Rashima Kwatra
  • Marianna Leite

Item 7: Education for gender equality - a powerful tool for transformation

“My name is Madeleine Kennedy-Macfoy and I work for Education International… Students and education staff commonly face discrimination and violence on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in educational settings, particularly targetted at trans and gender non-conforming youth. The resulting forms of harassment and bullying, including cyber bullying, contribute unsafe environments for teachers and learners alike.

Includes interventions by

  • Madeleine Kennedy-Macfoy
  • Kate van de Krol

Item 8: Smart investments - financing for gender equality

“My name is Prabha Khosla and I work for the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women… Governments need to shape a new economic order that is about ‘people, planet and care’. This calls for a systemic overhaul in which we halt extractive capitalism with its priority to create profit, keep on growing beyond our natural resources while being measured with a broken indicator such as GDP.”


Item 9: Women in leadership - women's representation in policy and decision-making

My name is Ernestine Melha and I am the founder as well as Director of Association d’Aide à l’Education de l’Enfant Handicapé (AAEEH). One in five women worldwide are women with disabilities they experience intersectional forms of discrimination in all areas of life including with regard to public and political life and leadership.”

Includes interventions by

  • Jennifer Kamau
  • Ernestine Melha

Item 10: Acting for climate - empowering women to build climate resilience

“My name is Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, and I’m the President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association in Canada… we cannot look at the violence against Indigenous Women without looking at the connection to violence against Mother Earth. According to traditional cultures our women are the protectors of the water and possess the knowledge needed to fulfill our role in the preservation of our natural environment for the next seven generations.”

Includes interventions by

  • Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard
  • Anne-Sophie Garrigou
  • Bistra Mihaylova

Photo credit: Anne-Sophie Garrigou, The Beam Magazine


Closing statement

“My name is Sylvia Beales. I work on issues of older women representing Gray Panthers and Widows for Peace through Democracy… Urgent action is needed to legally protect women and girls active in political and public life against all forms of violence, abuse, sexism and ageism. This requires the full ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention on the Violence against women, especially for migrant women and all groups mentioned.”


Photo credit: UN Women / Antoine Tardy

These interventions were based on the key priorities developed by the UNECE region’s civil society. These were developed collaboratively online in the months leading up to the forum, and during the civil society forum on 28 October 2019 in Geneva.

View all key priorities