Greetings from United Nations Headquarters! Spring has begun to leave its mark with lots of rain and higher temperatures. Just over two weeks ago you began your journey to New York City to attend the fifty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women - filled with anticipation about contributing to the process of assessing what has been achieved since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 15 years ago.
You came in great numbers - over 3,400 individuals from some 460 organizations in 138 countries, showing that you attributed great importance to the occasion. Despite experiencing a difficult registration process and strained facilities with limited seating, you attended over 90 parallel events hosted by Permanent Missions and UN Entities as well as hundreds more organized by NGOs in the Church Center. You added an important dimension to the high level round tables, inter-active panels and general discussion of the session, bringing diversity and wisdom and turning many lifetimes of rich experience into recommendations to improve women's lives. You seized the opportunity to meet others who share your passion for gender equality and exchanged expertise and swapped success stories on how to tackle injustice and discrimination against women and accelerate progress in all areas of the Beijing Platform for Action.
I recognize the important role of the vibrant women's movement that you represent and credit you with concrete achievements and measurable progress. Once again you have done us proud. - I hope that you took away with you a sense of renewed purpose and strength for your future work as a result of being a part of the session.
I wish to encourage you to let the message of Beijing + 15 resonate in your home countries - that equal rights and equal opportunities mean progress for all - and I look forward to continuing our partnership.
Special Adviser on Gender Issues
Advancement of Women