Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
BackgroundThe 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.
Areas of Focus
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 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.