Opportunity, Positive Impact, Lessons Learned, Enhanced Implementation. These are just few terms frequently used at the Beijing +15 conference that will end later today at UN headquarters in New York. Review of the achievements in the last 15 years regarding the rights of women seems to be rather a language compilation of positive terms produced in the last decade than a list of positive achievements. We have seen a mountain of smart political discourse, yet we were hoping for action.

Couple of words on UN’s vocabulary. The discourse of international community does not reflect itself in opportunities seized to protect women from violence nor in universal impact of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, although almost all UN member states have signed the declaration. One of my all time favorites is the combination of lessons and learned. Of course, every new challenge produces new experience that can be regarded as a lesson for the future. On the other hand, learned implies that the new knowledge (lesson) will be used to improve future handling. The paradox of lessons learned in the UN system is that the same mistakes are made over and over again. Moreover, a mistake made twice is still a lesson learned.

Did the Beijing +15 produce a positive impact? Yes. The commitments were reiterated, the text was reread, consensus on action is still strong, language has been reinforced, and dialogue on multilateral level continues. If lessons learned on this two-week session will have a visible positive impact on livelihoods of women around the globe, well, like always, let us evaluate that in 15 years from now.

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