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Belize joins Commonwealth in pledging accelerated gender equality measures

Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2023. 8:25 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Belize has endorsed a comprehensive roadmap championed by the Commonwealth aimed at expedited achievement of gender equality, with a special emphasis on women’s roles in climate action.

During the three-day triennial Commonwealth meeting in Nassau, The Bahamas, women’s affairs ministers, including those from Belize, came to a consensus on this ambitious agenda. The roadmap was honed through broad-based consultation, encompassing feedback from domestic violence survivors, civil society, and women with disabilities.

Underlying the agreement are a series of specific commitments to:

  • Boost women’s participation in climate finance.
  • Enhance support structures for women with disabilities.
  • Elevate economic opportunities for women.
  • Ensure women have an amplified voice in decision-making processes.
  • Intensify protection mechanisms against gender-based violence.

The post-meeting outcome statement represents the sentiments of 2.5 billion Commonwealth citizens. This strategic roadmap will undergo further scrutiny at next year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa.

Post the meeting, Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, expressed that the roadmap was of paramount significance as countless women and girls continue to face injustices ranging from climate-induced challenges to discrimination.

Scotland further elaborated:

“The Commonwealth is unwavering in its resolve to ensure no woman or girl is left trailing in our pursuit of sustainable development and climate justice. Today’s achievements pave the way for a brighter future for our extensive Commonwealth community.”

To ensure the roadmap does not remain mere words on paper, a specific framework was endorsed to oversee its implementation. This will involve the Commonwealth Secretariat periodically evaluating progress, adjusting course through a dedicated ministerial action group if necessary.

A noteworthy takeaway from the discussions was the consensus on how climate change disproportionally affects women and girls. Ministers shared effective practices from their respective nations to address this.

Adding to the dialogue, Hon Obediah Wilchcombe, the meeting’s chair and The Bahamas’ Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, emphasized the importance of the meeting’s tangible outcomes.

Wilchcombe stated:

“Our aspiration is genuine transformation, not just a cyclic rehashing of long-standing issues. This roadmap is a testament to that aspiration.”

The meeting also heralded the launch of Secretary-General Patricia Scotland’s ‘For the Women in my Life’ campaign, aiming to involve men and boys as staunch allies against gender-based violence.

An ancillary but pivotal aspect discussed was the importance of capturing sex-disaggregated data to fuel evidence-based interventions, ensuring resources are channeled most effectively.

Hosted by the Government of The Bahamas, the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting concluded on a high note, promising a renewed thrust towards gender parity across member states.


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