The second SCO Women's Forum took place in Bishkek on May 15-16, 2019 under the SCO Chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The forum was attended by over 130 delegates, officials, culture, healthcare and educational workers, as well as representatives from public organisations, leading women's movements, and business circles from the member countries, observer states and SCO dialogue partners.
During the forum, the participants held a detailed exchange of opinion on the gender implications of SCO regional cooperation in the context of the Beijing+25 Regional Review, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, women's participation in the sustainable and inclusive economic development of the SCO member states, and innovation and the digital era aimed at equal opportunity.
The main result of the forum was a consensus on the need to develop cooperation on gender issues within the SCO.
In addition, the participants:
Reviewed and discussed achievements and advanced experience, new challenges and problems in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) in the SCO countries and opportunities for cooperation on gender issues within the SCO;
Noted that the SCO member states were committed to promoting joint efforts to develop adequate response measures to today's realities, challenges and opportunities for ensuring effective gender equality and the expansion of women's rights and potential;
Emphasised that the goals of SCO Development Strategy until 2025 largely coincide with the UN Sustainable Development Goals until 2030, in particular, on the issues of ensuring gender equality and accessing the entire spectrum of services and main components of human activity;
Noted with satisfaction that in the 25 years of implementing the BPA the majority of SCO member states have achieved tangible successes in gender equality. All SCO countries have ratified and carry out the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and other international conventions on human rights and the rights of women and children, and laid the legal foundations for reaching gender equality;
At the same time, admitted that it is necessary to remove the existing gaps and shortcomings in the de facto implementation of legislation and policy related to gender equality. Every day, women face a range of problems related to low income and inadequate conditions and support for equitable earning, a high unemployment level, lack of access to and low quality of services in education, healthcare, social protection and the administration of justice;
Believe that these problems are largely caused by the review of gender equality issues only in the context of social protection, maternity and childhood and the frequent discussion of gender equality priorities in isolation from strategies and programmes of national, sectoral and regional development and cooperation. Eventually, this leads to the inadequate and unstable funding of gender equality programmes and strategies, an absence of continuity in gender equality policy and weak legislative and institutional support for its implementation;
Declared with confidence that only an analysis of gender equality issues as an inalienable part of national development and regional cooperation problems is an effective platform and opportunity for coordinated efforts by the legislative and executive authorities, political parties and civil society, as well as politicians and experts;
Called on legislative and executive government bodies and public circles in the SCO member states to channel their efforts into the coordinated introduction of gender equality priorities into sustainable national development goals;
Noted that being an element of all areas of social activities, gender equality priorities may serve as an effective platform for consolidating women's potential in the SCO countries;
Expressed confidence that the inclusion of gender equality issues on the SCO agenda in the future would provide an impetus for exchanging experience, carrying out joint projects and drafting joint measures;
Noted the significance of holding the Women's Forum within the SCO framework and creating a specific mechanism for gender equality cooperation in the SCO in the future.