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Expert from CPDRC Shares China's Practices to Address its Skewed SRB in the Inter-ministerial Dialogue on Son Preference and Gender Biased Sex Selection

Updated : 2021-03-29 AUTHOR : By: Tang Mengjun; Photo: Zhao Yi SOURCE : CPDRC
As a prelude to the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the European Commission and the Government of Norway jointly launched the "High-Level Inter-ministerial Dialogue on Son Preference and Gender Biased Sex Selection" at 21:00 Beijing time on March 12, 2021, in an effort to forge further consensus, to bring an end to gender biased sex selection (GBSS) and to address the skewed sex ratio at birth (SRB). This online dialogue was attended by more than 200 government officials, experts and stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, South Korea, France, Georgia, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Norway and other countries, as well as delegates from the European Union (EU), UNFPA and other international organizations. 

The Dialogue was chaired by Ms. Ekaterine Skhiladze, Deputy Public Defender of Georgia, and addressed by Ms. Henriette Geiger, Director of the People and Peace Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG-INTPA), European Commission, and Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norwegian Minister of International Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ms. Jike Junyi, a Chinese singer and an invited guest, presented a beautiful song and shared her personal growth story. During the academic exchange session, Prof. Christophe Guilmoto from CEPED/IRD Université de Paris introduced the global trends and current status of GBSS; Prof. Heeran Chun from South Korea shared the experience of South Korea in addressing the skewed SRB; and Senior Research Fellow Ms. Mengjun Tang from the China Population and Development Research Center (CPDRC) elaborated on the status quo and trends of SRB in China and how China managed to tame its skewed SRB from four dimensions: government commitment, women empowerment, publicity & advocacy and the clampdowns on "illegal fetal sex determination and sex-selective abortion". 

Mr. Zahid Maleque (Minister of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh), Mr. Hridayesh Tripathi (Minister of Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal) and Ms. Sadagat Gahramanova (Deputy Chair of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs of Azerbaijan) addressed the Dialogue on behalf of their governments. Ms. Diene Keita, Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, conveyed UNFPA's high concern over SRB and called for the adoption of the "Elimination of GBSS Inter-Ministerial Declaration", which was unanimously passed by government delegates present during the Dialogue. 

In the Declaration, the ministers and delegates: commit to strengthen the comprehensive management of the sex ratio at birth, create a social atmosphere of equality between men and women, respect for women and protection of girls, and intensify efforts to work on fetal sex determination and sex-selective artificial termination of pregnancy for non-medical needs; recognize the need to set up an international comparative observatory of son preference and gender biased sex selection in Asia and Europe for monitoring trends and assessing the social and demographic impact of sex imbalances at birth; recognize their role to support the creation of a knowledge hub for governments and other national actors to share policy experiences in relation to GBSS initiatives across countries, including the launch of a platform for regular exchange by governments and other national actors; and commit to include son preference and GBSS indicators into their respective reports on the progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This inter-ministerial declaration will serve as a program of action for these countries in addressing the skewed SRB during the forthcoming years. 

Long committed to the research on SRB and the associated project practices, the CPDRC team implemented the project of "Addressing Gender-Biased Sex Selection and Skewed Sex Ratio at Birth in China" with the support of UNFPA China Office from 2011 to 2018, kicking off gender equality promotion activities in the project counties by revising gender-discriminatory village regulations, empowering women and weakening son preference. In 2019, CPDRC completed a report on China's practices to address the skewed SRB, preparing the ground for China to advance relevant pilots and to improve relevant policies and measures.  

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