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 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
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
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
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
ESCAP published a toolkit for implementing and monitoring the East Asia and Pacific Regional Commitment and Action Plan against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) (2006) and a resource guide on international and regional instruments, political commitments and recommended practices for combating human trafficking (2003).Hide
In July 2007, ESCAP held an expert group meeting for senior law-making officials and national machineries for women to review the concluding comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and integration of the Convention in domestic law. The meeting focused, as one major issue, on strategies for policy reform in the area of violence against women, including on such issues as recognition of marital rape, mechanisms to enforce existing laws - particularly on domestic violence, and personal or religious law that condones violence against women. As part of ESCAP project to build the capacity of the Pacific Islands to adopt and implement the Stockholm Agenda for Action and the Yokohama Commitments to Combat Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth, a Regional Stakeholders’ Consultation and Planning Workshop for government officials and NGOs was held. The workshop was based on situational analysis studies on the commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children in the Pacific and it also addressed violence and abuse of girls and adolescents. The meeting, on 19-21 November 2007 in Suva, Fiji, was co-organized with ECPAT International and Save the Children Fiji.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