Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

last updated September 2020

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. Thousands of activists and other participants flocked to the conference in 1995 to discuss gender equality and the promotion of women’s rights. Representatives from 189 governments[1] and members of  non-governmental organizations collaborated in order to determine the best guidelines for promoting women’s rights around the world. The Platform for Action was the result of their discussion and remains an integral document in the global fight for women’s rights.

The Platform for Action reaffirms the fundamental principal that the rights of women and girls are an "inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights." The Platform for Action also calls upon governments to take action to address several critical areas of concern, including violence against women. The Platform for Action states:

"Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The long-standing failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed. . . . In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women."

The definition of violence contained in the Platform for Action is broad, including "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life."

The Beijing Platform for Action also requires all governments to develop strategies or national plans of action to implement the Platform locally. The National Plans of Action for each country outline specific activities that the national governments will undertake to improve the situation of women, including addressing violence against women.


In June 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a political declaration reaffirming Member States’ commitment to the objectives set forth in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Member States also agreed to “assess regularly further implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action with a view to bringing together all parties involved in 2005 to assess progress and consider new initiatives, as appropriate, ten years after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action and twenty years after the adoption of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women;” (para. 9).

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) tasked with promoting gender equality and combatting violence against women on a global scale. Shortly after the Beijing Declaration went into force, the Commission became a leader in ensuring the proper implementation of the Declaration. ECOSOC’s most recent resolution reaffirmed the importance of the Beijing Declaration and the CSW’s commitment to continue working toward full implementation worldwide.

It is also important to consider the link between the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs aim to address global challenges like poverty, climate change, and inequality by 2030. Goal 5 of the SDGs is to achieve gender equality, including ensuring equal education for girls and combatting violence against women. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is a crucial blueprint for achieving this goal.