Ejaz Ahmed Khan
In connection with formulation of global strategic plan, UN Women will develop a country strategy for Pakistan by seeking inputs from different stakeholders and partners representing from all geographical locations of the country to accelerate progress in promoting gender equality, expanding opportunity and tackling discrimination. In this connection a one day consultation for Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) was held in Islamabad in which various aspects of women empowerment were in discussed in the context of prevailing issues and challenges in GB and AJK.
UN Women will be the dynamic and strong champion of women rights, to provide a powerful voice for women and girls at global, regional and local levels, and this forum will do strong lobbying on women’s issues, advocacy on women empowerment, and to make a change for strong movement on women empowerment and status.
UN Women is a forum for a better work together to ensure coherence, better delivery and accountability among UN organizations working on women and gender issues. It will also coordinate with the UN system to strengthen their better delivery on gender development; will also promote sharing of good practices through knowledge management and research. As gender equality is critical for development to achieve MDGs and to support UN General Assembly resolution on women empowerment.
Ms. Alice Shackleford, country program director during her detail presentations elaborated that the UN Women will make its efforts to create a violence free society in the region through its local initiatives to seek the indigenous solutions of prevailing challenges. As Pakistan already adopted various International resolutions in this regard, this initiative will support the proper implementation of such resolutions. It is necessary to mention here that UN Women will not replace any UN organization but it will provide basis to enhance efforts of different UN agencies and key stakeholders for elimination of violence against women (VAW) and policy development for effective integration of gender component into development. As well as its further role is concern it will support the women folk to take concrete steps and specific initiatives for women economic empowerment and to bring a positive change to create an enabling environment for women.
During the recent consultation with GB and AJK group, participants raised their concern that this strategy should not be just a document but it should be implemented with its true spirit to do something for real change. The participants were the view that GB being a new province is much marginalized in development sector, so UN women should extend its help by setting partnerships with civil society and other stakeholders to enhance women status and peace building in the province.
In response to questions Ms. Alice said that people to people diplomacy is the best way for peace building, the women mobility in the mountainous areas of AJK and GB is to be considered as gender issue, the consultation process was planed and facilitated very effectively in a participatory and interactive manner by holding hot discussions in group work, raising questions in the plenary and the presentations developed by different four groups.
The contributor is a Gilgit based freelance development writer issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org