68th CSW consultation Balochistan. 31st January 2024, Serena Quetta.

The National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) held its consultations with provincial stakeholders in Quetta on the preparation of the National report on "Need Analysis for financing and strengthening institutions with a gender perspective for empowerment of Women and girls". This report is aimed to be presented by the commission in CSW68 to be held this year from March 11th to 22nd on the theme : "Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective."

Consortium partners (UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women & UNDP) were present today and remained a part of the consultations held across Pakistan.

Chairperson NCSW Ms. Nilofar Bakhtiar in her welcome address extended gratitude to the Consortium partners for their continued support to NCSW and pre-CSW consultations. Talking about women in Pakistan and specifically Balochistan, she said females are deprived of their fundamental rights of equal opportunities for education, health, and economic growth . Females in rural areas, which are in majority in Balochistan, are very less educated and informed of their basics rights. Unfortunately out of 27 percent literate females of Balochistan, only 2 percent are rural-based. We need to understand that eradicating poverty is not possible without empowering women economically and providing them with equal opportunities to live and grow. Our focus towards sustainable remedies for gender-related challenges with a particular focus on economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty is needed. Civil Society Organizations, government departments and the commercial sector need to play their part towards gender equality to minimize poverty.

Chief guest of the first session, Home Minister Balochistan Capt. Retired Muhammad Zubair, applauded the efforts of NCSW. He stated that women in Balochistan are progressive, viable, and performing their roles in every area. Our government is committed to eradicating poverty and providing our people with equal opportunities to grow. We do believe communities cannot end poverty without gender equality. Education, vocational training, and health facilities for women are our emphasis.

Speaking on the occasion, consortium partners from UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, and UN Women assured their commitment towards support to NCSW and shared their confidence in the efforts of NCSW in building grounds across Pakistan to provide women with their basic rights.

Chief guest for the closing session, Minister for Law and Parliamentary affairs Aman Ullah Kinrani, said that the provincial government acknowledges the fact that empowering women is not just a matter of social justice but also an economic imperative. The women's inclusion and access to equal opportunities call for the need for creating equal opportunities for women in all sectors, ensuring that they have the same access to education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The issue of the gender gap can be addressed by the promotion of transparency and adherence to national and international commitments.

The Chairperson for Balochistan CSW Ms. Fauzia Shaheen thanked the efforts of NCSW for its support to the Balochistan Commission towards initiatives of poverty and economic uplift of women. She said investing in women's education and job training programs can be a key driver for sustainable development, social progress, and inclusive growth. Economically empowered women can lead progressive societies towards prosperous economies.

Secretary NCSW Khawaja Imran thanked the chief guest for his presence and resolved to curb gender inequality. He thanked the consortium partners for their continued support to NCSW for its consultations across Pakistan. He also thanked the chief guest, government officials, civil society and media personnel present in the occasion.

The consultations in Quetta were fruitful and provided valuable insights from provincial stakeholders. The NCSW will now compile the reports from all provinces and finalize the National report for submission to the CSW68.