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UNIFEM was established in 1975 at the First World Conference on Women in Mexico as a voluntary fund within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It brings women's interests and concerns to the world development agenda. In 1985 at the World Conference on Women in Nairobi, the fund became UNIFEM, an independent organization in autonomous association with UNDP.

UNIFEM provides funding and technical support for the political and economic empowerment of low-income women in developing countries. It also supports organizations and governments working to implement the Beijing Platform of Action for the Advancement of women.

UNIFEM has supported the women of Thailand through projects such as Putting Women into the Thai Constitution, successfully supporting the Gender and Development Research Institute to mobilize women to support Article 24 of the new Thai Constitution which guarantees equal rights for women and men; Gender-Sensitive Venture Capital Financing, supporting Rural Small Scale Industries Co.Ltd, (an arm of Population and Development Association), to pilot the concept of venture capital for women entrepreneurs in Khon Kaen and Phitsanuloke Province; and Gender Sensitising the Buddhist Clergy - with Mahachulalongkom Buddhist University, Baha'i International and UNICEF, UNIFEM organized a three-day conference of monks and nuns from the region to consider the rights of women and children in the context of Buddhism.

UNIFEM also supports women's groups, including the National Council for Women of Thailand and the Office of the National Commission on Women's Affairs, to celebrate International Women's Day, supports Thai Women Watch which is building a network of Thai woman's NGOs to monitor implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, and is currently working with the Department of Industrial Promotion and business women's groups to support the development of women in micro and cottage industries.

Dated: 23 July 2000