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Regional Conference on Women's Economic Empowerment in Central Asia
Welcoming Remarks by Joji Tokeshi, ADB Country Director, Mercury Hotel, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Dear participants of the conference, ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you, and thank you for coming today.
My name is Joji Tokeshi, and I am the ADB's Country Director for Tajikistan. I would like to welcome you all on behalf of the Asian Development Bank to the Regional Conference on Women's Economic Empowerment in Central Asia.
ADB is strongly committed to gender equality and women's empowerment. Our long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020 highlights gender equity as one of five drivers of change. We have Gender Policy, and Gender and Development Plan of Actions. In July 2008, ADB joined a Global Torch Initiative in support of the Millennium Development Goal 3 on Gender Equality. We aim to achieve significant gender mainstreaming in 40% of all ADB public sector projects, and 50% of all Asian Development Fund projects, by 2012.
Women represent half of the world's population, and well over half of the world's poor. Inclusive growth requires addressing women's needs to enable them to avail of equal economic opportunities as men.
Research and experience has shown that investing in women is key to solving food crisis. Rural women alone produce half of the world's food and 60% to 80% of the food in most developing countries. Increasing women's access to the means of agricultural production, such as land, fertilizers, labour, credit and education, as well as decision-making authority within households, is crucial to guaranteeing food security and improving the nutritional status of children. Research has also shown that when women have extra income, they reinvest in their children's health and education, creating a positive growth for the entire family.
I would urge all of us to make personal commitments to gender equality, and to do everything in our power to help bring women and girls fully into the economic and social lives of our communities. I also hope that the project we are discussing today was able to make its contribution to improving lives of our women.
Thank you for your kind attention, and wishing you a very productive and useful conference.