HO CHI MINH CITY, 8 November 2019 – The ASEAN Integovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) Workshop on Promoting Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women through Information Communications Technology (ICT) towards achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam on 7-8 November.

The workshop was AICHR’s initial attempt to tackle the issue of human rights in the face of digitalisation and 4th Industrial Revolution, with an emphasis on gender equality and empowerment of women. It aimed to create a platform for ASEAN Member States and partners to exchange views on the impact of ICT on women’s development and measures to harness ICT to advance further gender equality and women empowerment in the region.

On a broader context, through the workshop, AICHR hoped to contribute to building a people-centred and people-oriented ASEAN Community as well as in implementing international commitments such as the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which all AMS have subscribed.

In her keynote address, Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, Senior Advisor to the National Committee on ASEAN 2020, Vice Chair of the Viet Nam National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation, and Viet Nam’s Representative to the ASEAN Women Registry for Peace, commended the AICHR for the timely initiative. She shared her views on the new approach to gender equality in the digital age, emphasised the tremendous potential that ASEAN could derive from digital economy development, and proposed some recommendations to promote a robust and innovative gender agenda for ASEAN.

As the host of the workshop,  Ambassador Professor Nguyen Thai Yen Huong, Representative of Viet Nam to the AICHR, reaffirmed the commitment of Viet Nam as well as of ASEAN to the promotion and protection of human rights. She shared her hope that the workshop would attract regional attention and initiate discussion and subsequently actions to address gender equality and women empowerment through ICT and digital innovation.

The workshop gathered participants from relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, representatives of ASEAN Member States government, civil society organisations and academia working in gender and ICT issues, as well as eminent experts from various regional and international organisations. A list of practical, action-oriented recommendations was developed at the end of the workshop for AICHR, other ASEAN sectoral bodies, and Member States to consider for further implementation.

As part of the AICHR Priority Programme 2019, the workshop was hosted by AICHR Viet Nam and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam with support from the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund.

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