UNITED NATIONS - Top United Nations’ officials on Thursday proposed the convening of a Global Conference on Women by the UN in 2015, 20 years after the last women’s summit in Beijing, as the world celebrated the International Women’s Day.

In a joint statement, General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Given that women make up half of humanity and given the importance and relevance of women’s issues for global progress, it is high time that such a world conference is convened. It is all the more important because of the enormous changes world is going through, with both positive and other implications for women.”

But the statement did not name the venue for the proposed conference, for which consultations would take place.

 Pakistan was represented at the Beijing conference by Benazir Bhutto, who was then the prime minister and had made a spirited defence of women’s rights.

“The General Assembly president and the Secretary General feel confident the international community will welcome this joint initiative. They also hope that the member states, who have the final authority to convene the proposed conference, could take the necessary steps during this 66th session of the General Assembly,” the statement said.

“They believe the high point that the UN reached with the establishment of UN Women in 2011 can be meaningfully substantiated with a global programme focusing on women that can be articulated at the Fifth Conference.”

“The President of the General Assembly and the Secretary-General believe that a world conference on women could review the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. They also believe it could tackle emerging issues, in particular those relating to women and political participation, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that deals with women and peace and security, equal access to decent work and to decision-making and the involvement of rural women and girls,” the statement said.

“It could also cover aid effectiveness, food security, trafficking, drugs, migration, environment, climate change and information technology, all of which make an impact on women, and on nations and societies as a whole,” the statement added.