The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region. ESCAP, with 53 member States and nine associate members, covers a region that is home to 4.1 billion people, constituting two-thirds of the world’s population. ESCAP provides a forum for its member States to engage in policy dialogues, regional cooperation and collective action and assists countries in building and sustaining shared economic growth and social equity across the following core areas of work: disaster risk reduction; environment and sustainable development; information and communications technology; macroeconomic policy and development; social development; statistics; trade and investment; and transport.
The outcome of the 20-year regional review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action underpins ESCAP’s work on preventing and ending violence against women and girls. ESCAP actively supports the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign, in its capacity as Co-Chair of the Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
ESCAP promotes regional dialogue and the sharing of good practices to facilitate policy formulation and implementation of global and regional commitments; conducts advocacy and outreach; builds and strengthens partnerships between governments, civil society and other stakeholders; and undertakes capacity-building activities to strengthen political will and multi-sectoral actions towards ending violence against women and girls.
ESCAP and UN Women co-chair the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (TWG-GEEW), which has formally integrated the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign into the View More
ESCAP and UN Women co-chair the Asia-Pacific Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (TWG-GEEW), which has formally integrated the Secretary-General’s UNiTE Campaign into the development and implementation of its regional interagency workplan. Under the auspices of the TWG-GEEW, ESCAP and UN Women co-organized the Regional Commemoration for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women under the umbrella of UNiTE and #HearMeToo on 23 November 2018. The Ted-talk style event named E.Quality Talks: My Story of Ending Violence against Women, involved survivors of violence, survivor advocates, women’s movements representatives and women’s human rights defenders. Hearing directly from those who have endured violence, fought against it, or helped to prevent it happening to others added credibility, and helped put ‘a human face’ on facts and statistics that can provoke the public to take action. Feedback for the event was unanimously positive from both storytellers and listeners.
The event was attended by the diplomatic community, civil society organizations and UN staff. At the Regional Commemoration, the #DontTellMeHowToDress exhibition, which is a Thai version of the #MeToo movement, was launched at the UN compound. The exhibition displayed the clothing victims wore at the time of the assault to challenge the misconception around sexual violence.
From this year's experience, the UNITE Worknig Group learnt that it is very important to provide those who are not usually heard with an opportunity to speak, and platforms to share their messages.Hide
ESCAP undertakes capacity-building activities for more effective programme planning by governments and civil society organizations for achieving gender equality and health promotion, including addressing HIV/AIDS issues, human trafficking, and combating commercial sexual exploitation of children in Asia and the Pacific. It promotes strengthening of women’s national machineries at the governmental level and serves as a facilitator in building linkages among government, civil society and development partners. ESCAP also undertakes training activities, such as the sub-regional training workshop on elimination of violence against women in partnership with men, New Delhi (2003).Hide
ESCAP convened a High-level Intergovernmental Meeting to Review Regional Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and Its Regional and Global Outcomes (November 2009), during which, a panel discussion entitled “Regional campaign to end violence against women” was held. The experiences of various countries in measuring and addressing violence against women, including through engaging with men and boys and with faith-based organizations, were shared. A regional consultation for the Secretary-General’s campaign to end violence against women in the Asia-Pacific region was also organized.Hide
ESCAP held an expert group meeting on “Gender statistics and the use of violence against women indicators in support of the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA)”, in October 2008. It aimed at building partnerships between national statistical offices (NSOs) and national women’s machineries (NWMs) in the development and use of statistics in policymaking, implementation and monitoring.Hide
In follow-up to an expert group meeting of April 2007 on regional strategies for implementing the recommendations from the Secretary-General’s in-depth study on all forms of violence against women, ESCAP posted on its website a sub-regional study documenting harmful traditional and cultural practices as forms of violence against women in South Asia. The study covers Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.Hide
The Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (RCM TWGGEEW) (co-chaired by ESCAP and UN Women) established a Working Group on Gender Statistics, which includes a focus on VAW statistics.Hide
In April 2007, the Gender and Development Section of the Emerging Social Issues Division organized an expert group meeting at ESCAP addressing “Regional Strategies for Implementing the Recommendations from the Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Women with Particular Emphasis on Harmful Traditional and Cultural Practices and the Role of National Machineries”.Hide
ESCAP helps to catalyze gender analysis and policy-making among Member States at the governmental level through ESCAP subsidiary bodies. It serves as a coordinating body and forum of discussion and policy development on gender-based violence issues through the organization of expert group meetings, intergovernmental meetings, and thematic seminars. Recent examples include a sub-regional seminar on using legal instruments to combat trafficking in women and children (2001) and a series of expert group meetings on: the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, with emphasis on violence against women and trafficking in women (2005); strategic planning for the intensification of regional, sub-regional and inter-regional cooperation to combat trafficking in women and children (2003).Hide
ESCAP issued a publication on commercial sexual exploitation in the Pacific region, entitled “Pacific Perspectives on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Children and Youth”, providing an analysis of the cultural, political, economic and social aspects of the commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, as well as its root causes and consequences in the Pacific.Hide