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Beijing Platform for Action. Chapter IV – Paragraph 147(a)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/03/04

Strategic objective E.5.

Provide protection, assistance and training to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women

Actions to be taken

147. By Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other institutions involved in providing protection, assistance and training to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme, as appropriate:

  1. Take steps to ensure that women are fully involved in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all short-term and long-term projects and programmes providing assistance to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women, including the management of refugee camps and resources; ensure that refugee and displaced women and girls have direct access to the services provided;

Beijing Declaration (1995)

The Beijing Declaration contains some of the core values important for the development of the international rights community. Those who work in these areas and can do things about them. Indeed, as we come into the 2020s, and as I have more time after some different work in a variety of interesting communities, I can begin some of the casual commentaries on the sections of this important document on its 25th anniversary (1995-2020).

The focus of Paragraph 147 in section (a) is the assistance from governmental and non-governmental organizations in looking at the full involvement of women in the projects. The timelines are completely incorporative of women, as in short-term and long-term projects. The stages are completely stipulated as incorporative of women as well with the “planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.”

If we look at any project including women in a core facet of this, then we can see this in the need for planning stage involvement of women. As we can see with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it, in “Women’s participation in decision-making,” states:

UNDP supports national partners to develop and implement legal and policy reforms to ensure women’s participation in decision-making and implements initiatives to develop women’s capacities to participate and lead, including promoting women’s participation as voters and candidates in electoral processes, supporting women’s representation in governance institutions and other measures to build a conducive environment for women’s political participation. UNDP also works closely with partners, especially UN Women, the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Inter-Parliamentary Union and regional normative bodies, to advance global norms and national practices to further women’s leadership in politics and public institutions. In addition, UNDP works closely with women’s organizations to support women’s leadership and supports gender equality and women’s leadership in the workplace, including through implementation of the Gender Equality Seal.

Any development and implementation of the legal and policy reforms with the explicit inclusion of women in “planning” in the terminology of the Beijing Declaration or in the “decision-making” in the wording of the UNDP. Some of the crucial considerations, and as an example, come with political or governance structures involving an electoral process supporting the representation of women for the increase of the political representation of women here.

The UNDP and the Beijing Declaration continue in the same expansive vision of the possibilities for the inclusion of women with some general structural layouts for the individuals here. In this section of the Beijing Declaration, the true focus is the ways in which the least able based on the lack of external resources demographics of women. One’s religious or not, political, etc., demographics do not come into serious scrutiny here, as everyone with sufficient capabilities can help with the general vision here.

We see this in nationalists; we see this in globalists or internationalists. A desire for more fair and equal opportunities and, thus, more equal representation of women for societies and the global community. Indeed, even some of the most socially and politically conservative elements of societies, there have been incorporations of more women in decision-making and representation. This goes to the general point of similar aims with different areas of emphasis and strength of emphasis.

Although, with some global ongoing issues, there is some fraying at the regional level impacting some international efforts. Nothing too destructive, though, simply political extreme rhetoric here and there. Truly, we seem to see calcification and solidifying of some national issues in different countries, but not the collapse of republics or Member States at this time. Some of the concrete manifestations of this inclusion are noted by the UNDP:

Examples of other initiatives include iKNOW Politics, a joint project with International IDEA, the Inter-parliamentary Union and UN Women to increase the participation and effectiveness of women in political life, the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) programme through which UNDP aims to increase women’s participation and leadership in public institutions in line with SDG5 and SDG16, and Atenea, another joint initiative to accelerate women’s progress in political participation.

Out of these plannings come the designs and the implementations of the short-term and the long-term projects, all of the planning, in this sense, starts the processes for the furtherance of women in “design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.” Those projects, in my own country, including the National Council of Women in Canada, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Women’s Legal Education Fund, Pauktuutit, Oxfam Canada, and so on.

Others, I have worked with them previously connected to the United Nations and its central women’s rights body, UN Women, at one point – what was UN Women Canada and transitioned into a foundation, where I worked on the Board for three years. The displaced women as a category is a crucial one. OCHA Services (Relief Web) notes:

New estimates published for the first time today reveal that at least 21 million women and girls were uprooted within their countries by conflict and violence by the end of 2018. Two-thirds of these internally displaced women and girls were in Africa and the Middle East. Nine countries worldwide hosted over one million women and girls each: Syria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan.

In fact, the Beijing Declaration is mentioned directly in the reportage on internally displaced women. Alexandra Bilak, Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), stated, “Twenty-five years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, one of the most comprehensive global policy frameworks for gender equality, women and girls are still suffering disproportionately from displacement.”

The discrimination faced by women and children in displacement – and, to be clear, “internally” can be stated explicitly as meaning “internal to the nation” where the individual within the country can be set loose from the girders of the nation. Imagine being a woman or a child in this circumstance, in most societies, the implication of a life of penurity, insecurity, and little time to reflect to gain any probity into the causes and sources of the misery, of one’s miserly life.

If their child is in this circumstance, is it their fault? Should they pick themselves up by their own bootstraps? Or is something in the system and the systemic treatment wrong, morally and functionally? These are the pragmatic questions for the lives of the displaced or internally displaced women and children in these contexts. All planning and designing and implementing have intersects here. They link up.

For the monitoring and evaluation at the long-term and the short-term levels, the subsequent stipulations are important for the maintenance of the developments. It can happen with UN Women or with any other institution or with organizational and community efforts on the ground for the displaced women. The examples given in 1995 Beijing Declaration echo, no less, the needs mentioned on March 5, 2020 of Alexandra Bilak of the need for the “management of refugee camps and resources” with the displaced women and girls having access to basic services.

One can see 21 million, in Canada, as about 60% of the total population of the country as a comparison metric. Some of the basic services can be readily surmised based on sex differences with the need for sexual education, sanitary pads, contraceptives, and others including general healthcare, food, housing, and proper education. As displaced women and children, they can simply lack access to some of these basic services.

The Beijing Declaration remains integral to efforts to work at some of these initiatives into the future. And we can all do our parts.

(Updated 2019-08-21, only use the updated listing, please) Not all nations, organizations, societies, or individuals accept the proposals of the United Nations; one can find similar statements in other documents, conventions, declarations and so on, with the subsequent statements of equality or women’s rights, and the important days and campaigns devoted to the rights of women and girls too:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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