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Saarc, UN to work for women’s empowerment in South Asia

Kathmandu : Saarc and UN Women will work towards promotion of gender equality, gender justice and empowerment of women among the countries in the South Asian region, officials said here Tuesday.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and UN Women, the UN entity for gender equality and empowerment of women, Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding in this regard.

Saarc Secretary General Arjun B. Thapa and Rebecca Tavares, representative for UN Women for India, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka signed the agreement, said a statement issued here by the Saarc secretariat.

Issues related to trafficking, economic empowerment, political leadership and decision-making and violence against women were identified as the key areas of cooperation between the two organisations.

Saarc and UN Women agreed to collaborate on the development and implementation of a Saarc Gender Equality and Empowerment Programme.

“Ever since the inception of Saarc, issues related to women have figured prominently on the Saarc agenda for regional cooperation and in addition to the many regional instruments Saarc has initiated a number of regional projects for women empowerment and gender equality in the region,” Thapa said.

Tavares said UN Women and Saarc “have a shared vision on gender issues”.

She said UN Women (earlier UNIFEM) and Saarc had signed an agreement in 2001 to support member countries in meeting the goals of gender equality.

The agreement signed Tuesday will remain valid for three years and is renewable.