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UNESCO Future Forum on Gender Equality Launched under Acropolis Hill
Source:Chinese Women's Research Network | Release Date:2010-9-10-
Title: UNESCO Future Forum on Gender Equality Launched under Acropolis Hill
Source: Xinhua
Release Date: September 9, 2010
Keyword: UNESCO, gender equality

A UNESCO forum on gender equality in regards to the Millennium goals was launched on Thursday evening in Athens in a simple, but bright ceremony under the Acropolis hill.

On the eve of the Millennium Development Goals Summit to be held in New York on Sept. 20-22, UNESCO and the Greek National Commission of UNESCO host in the Greek capital a forum which runs to Sept. 11 on the theme of "Gender equality: the missing link? -- Rethinking the internationally agreed development goals beyond 2015."

Opposite to the Parthenon, at the archaeological site of Pnika, where the first democratic assembly of ancient Greece convened, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and President of the Greek National Commission of UNESCO Ekaterini Papachristopoulou Tzitzikova welcomed dignitaries from across the world who will participate in the forum. Among them was President of the All- China Women's Federation Chen Zhili.

During the opening statements all keynote speakers, such as the co-hosts and Greek Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism George Nikitiadis stressed that the Athens Future Forum offers an opportunity to reassess the Millennium Development Goals five years from the target date set, and renew mobilization regarding the link between gender equality, development and peace and post- 2015 challenges.

"In the context of the current global financial crisis these goals are more relevant than ever," noted Papachristopoulou Tzitzikosta, addressing the event, stressing that gender equality is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for development.

"We stand at crossroads. The current crisis threatens to reduce necessary funds. It's time to think and act together, to call for increased political commitment," added Bokova.

"If we truly vision a better world, we should continue the trip to reach the objective of gender equality," said Nikitiadis, reminding that 2,500 years ago ancient Greek play writer Aristophanes raised the issue of an equal participation of women in the decision making process and all aspects of life in the Athenian democracy.

Addressing the event at Pnika, UNESCO's Executive Board member Eleonora Mitrofanova reminded that the Beijing Declaration clearly stated years ago that women's rights are human rights and that it is in the benefit of all humanity to improve the position of women and girls in societies worldwide, but a lot remains to be done.

"We cannot have lasting peace and prosperity without women," added United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, during the event which was attended by high-level personalities from across the globe and ended with a concert.

The Athens Future Forum is one of a series organized by UNESCO this year aimed at reflecting on key issues in the framework of UNESCO's actions that will be crucial in the future of our world.

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