Education, Gender Equality and the Fight against Violent Extremism at heart of Director-General’s visit to New York

From 6 to 12 March 2015, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, is undertaking a visit to New York to take part in a number of events within the framework of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held at the United Nations Headquarters.

The events coincide with International Women’s Day (8 March), held this year under the theme “Empower Women, Empower Humanity. Picture It.” -- this year marks 20 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The Commission will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. It will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.

‎The Director-General will participate in several panel discussions and attend the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations high level thematic debate on “achieving gender equality and empowerment of women for a transformative post -2015 development agenda.” 

This session will focus on two aspects of promoting gender equality and empowerment of women - women’s economic and political empowerment and their access to quality education, which are key to accelerate gender equality in view of the post 2015 agenda.

In New York, the Director-General will also launch the new joint programme by UNESCO, UN Women, UNFPA and the World Bank‎, an innovative one-UN initiative for Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education.

The Director-General will also participate in several events focusing on the link between education and gender equality, such as “Rallying to end school-related gender-based violence” co-organized by UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR), the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, (UNGEI), UNICEF and the UN Global Education First Initiative(GEFI) . 

The event will launch the EFA Global Monitoring Report policy brief on gender-based violence in and around schools, presenting an overview of existing as well as key new evidence, to examine promising policies and programmes to address school-related gender-based violence.

While in New York, the Director-General will participate in a number of side events, including an information meeting for Permanent Missions on the World Education Forum and an event organized by the Permanent Mission of Latvia to the United Nations on “Women and Girls in STEM: Progress, Challenges, Post-2015 Opportunities.” The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will also take part in the event.  

The Director-General is also expected to meet with several UN high level representatives.

In view of the volatile situation in Iraq, a few days after the destruction of cultural heritage in Mosoul Museum, the Director-General will also advocate for the role of education and culture in all strategies to fight against extremism and the cultural cleansing underway in Iraq.

As a direct follow up of UN Security Council ‎resolution 2199, condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and calling for UNESCO to coordinate action to prevent illicit trafficking of cultural objects, the Director-General will meet with several partners, such as Emily Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum, and the Director of Compliance for Sotheby's, to join forces with all partners to stop the illicit trafficking as à means of financing of terrorism‎.