[Dateline: New York | Author: iSeek]
The first International Day of Rural Women is being observed on 15 October 2008. This new international day, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 (A/RES/62/136) of 18 December 2007, recognizes "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty."
To mark the occasion at Headquarters, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will co-sponsor a panel discussion in Conference Room 3 from 1.15 pm to 2.45 pm. H.E. Mr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly will be among the panelists.
In his message for the day, Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon, paying tribute to the valuable contributions made by rural women, including indigenous women, to agriculture and development, stated that "rural women produce more than half of the world's food and provide immeasurable support to local communities."
He said, "This first International Day of Rural Women is especially timely, as it comes in the midst of a world food crisis and global financial turmoil, and on the eve of World Food Day."
The idea of honouring rural women with a special day was put forward by international NGOs at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. It was suggested that 15 October be celebrated as "World Rural Women's Day," the eve of World Food Day, in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security. "World Rural Women's Day" has been celebrated, primarily by civil society, across the world for over a decade.
In 2007, at the Tenth Session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, Member States of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed in the Quito Consensus their decision to promote the adoption of an International Day of Rural Women "as an explicit recognition of [rural women's] economic contribution and the development of their communities, in particular with regard to the unpaid work they perform."
A new publication by DESA, "Women 2000 and Beyond: Rural Women in a Changing World: Opportunities and Challenges," is also being launched.