UN Women Deputy Executive Director Åsa Regnér on first official visit to Kazakhstan
Åsa Regnér, Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director for the Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships Bureau will be on her first official visit to Kazakhstan from 15 to 18 May to further deepen the partnership and cooperation between the Government of Kazakhstan and UN Women in advancing gender equality and women's empowerment in the country.
In line with its mandate and strategic vision, UN Women continues to promote gender equality and empowerment of women in Kazakhstan in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. UN Women, in collaboration with the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographics Policy under the President of Kazakhstan, implements projects on gender-sensitive planning and budgeting, ending gender-based violence, and the empowerment of women from disadvantaged groups to engage in productive employment and entrepreneurship, with financial contributions from the Government of Kazakhstan. UN Women also provides expert assistance to the Government of Kazakhstan in implementing the international commitments of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
During her visit, Ms. Regnér will be meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women and Family and Demographics Policy, Gulshara Abdykalikova, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Beibut Atamkulov.
On 17 May, Ms. Regnér will participate at the First Kazakhstan Forum on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, under the aegis of the Astana Economic Forum. She will raise the criticality of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ms. Regnér will also meet with the representatives of civil society organizations and women’s rights advocates, working to advance women’s economic empowerment and eliminate discrimination and violence against women, providing special social services, and implementing educational initiatives on women’s empowerment.
Ms. Regnér has been serving as Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director for the Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships Bureau since May 2018.
On the second day, Ms. Regnér took part in the opening of the XII Astana Economic Forum, the flagship business event in Eurasia held under the theme "Inspiring growth: people, cities, economies." In two days, more than 50 sessions and events will take place, including the first Kazakhstan forum on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, where Ms. Regner will deliver a speech.
As part of a high-level UN delegation, Ms. Regner held a meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. During the meeting, the president highlighted the importance of the UN delegation presence at the Astana Economic Forum and reassured the country’s commitment to fully cooperating with the United Nations.
The delegation also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Beibut Atamkulov and discussed the strengthening of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United Nations towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Participating in the first Kazakhstan Forum on Achieving the SDGs, Ms. Regnér underlined the importance of gender equality in ensuring social inclusion, accelerating economic growth and achieving the global goals. She called for the collaborative efforts of governments, the private sector and NGOs to advance women’s rights and promote sustainable development for all.
The second day of the Astana Economic Forum featured high-level meetings attended by government officials. On the sidelines of the SDGs Forum, Ms. Regnér held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Askar Mamin, to strengthen the cooperation in implementing the global goals in Kazakhstan.
During a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Gulshara Abdykalikova, who also chairs the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy, the discussion centered on the joint programmes with UN Women on the elimination of violence against women, women’s economic empowerment and the implementation of the SDGs. Ms. Regnér and the deputy prime minister affirmed the importance of continuous cooperation on the legislative reforms to tackle gender inequalities in the country.
Among other high-level talks, Ms. Regnér met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yerzhan Ashikbayev, discussing the possibility of creating a regional gender knowledge centre at the UN Hub in Almaty in the southeast of Kazakhstan. The deputy executive director also joined the business luncheon hosted by the Vice-Minister of the National Economy, Madina Zhunusbekova, where she exchanged views on gender equality and women’s empowerment with women leaders of the country.
During her last day in Kazakhstan, Ms. Regnér visited the “Mama Pro” Public Foundation, which provides capacity building activities to empower women with children with special needs and single mothers. The deputy executive director met with the founders of the organization — Gulsim Semyonova, Assiya Tikeyeva, Aizhan Alzhanova and Gulziya Aitmaganbetova — who started the organization as a personal initiative to create the common space for women with similar needs.
Since 2017, the special interest club has grown into a capacity building centre to teach women entrepreneurship skills, including basics of accounting, computer skills and brand management, combined with the learning and rehabilitation sessions for their children. Ms. Regnér and the founders discussed the economic and child-care challenges faced by women from disadvantaged groups and exchanged their views on barriers to inclusive societies and women’s advancement in Kazakhstan.
Ms. Regnér also met with the representatives of the “Umit” (Hope) crisis center in Nur-Sultan, which provides special social services for the victims of domestic violence and their children. The center offers medical, psychological and legal services for women, and collaborates with various departments of the local municipal authorities to assist women to find jobs, document their children, ensure their schooling and access healthcare services.