Organizer: Asia–Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW)
Convenor: Patricia B. Licuanan, PhD
President, Miriam College
The year 2010 marks the 15th year of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA). It has been half a generation since all member states of the United Nations agreed by consensus to act for Equality, Development and Peace in 12 critical areas of concern.
It is time for stock taking, for celebrating gains achieved by women, for learning lessons from successes and challenges especially by civil society and for exacting accountability from those committed to advance women’s human rights and gender equality.
In an effort to acknowledge and amplify the voices of Asia Pacific women in this process, the Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) is organizing the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+15. All are welcome: activists and academics, professionals and politicians, community workers and policy advocates, young and elderly, grassroots women, human rights defenders, the LGBT community, men – everyone, provided that they affirm the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and subscribe to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The Asia Pacific NGO Forum highlights women NGO’s innovative and successful initiatives on the critical areas of concern of the BPFA as well as on CEDAW and other human rights instruments.
With the theme “Weaving Wisdom, Confronting Crises, Forging the Future”, the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+15 will influence the global NGO Forum that will take place prior to the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2010. This UN CSW session is set to review the implementation of the BPFA as well as the outcome of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly.
The Asia Pacific Women’s Watch is a regional network of women’s groups engaged in programs to empower women and advance their human rights. APWW monitors the UN, national governments and non–governmental organizations (NGOs) on the extent that they fulfill their international commitments and obligations to eliminate discrimination against women, and to promote gender equality and empower women. APWW membership include representative women’s organizations from five sub–regions – Central Asia, East Asia, the Pacific, South Asia and South East Asia – and from three major women’s networks in the region.
The Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+15 will focus not so much on what governments have done and not done, but more on chronicling what civil society, especially the women’s movements, has contributed towards the strategic objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action. As such, the NGO Forum will highlight some of the innovative, strategic or successful initiatives by women.
APWW Chairperson Hiroko Hara explains, “Even as we broadly assess issues of implementation and monitoring of the BPFA, we will give more attention to analysing new trends such as the global economic recession and climate change and to recommending actions by governments, international organizations and civil society.” There will be a special session on the campaign for the creation of a new women’s entity at the UN as well as for meaningful civil society participation in all stages of the development and functioning of this entity.
The Forum will also be the venue for the women’s movements in the region to share their views on new economic, environmental, political, social and security issues – in the region and globally — in terms of their impact on women’s needs and interests. These may include economic recession, climate change, spread of HIV/AIDS and armed conflicts. Researchers are invited to share their analyses with the NGO participants, who will in turn exchange views with each other and define their strategic objectives as civil society, at the national, sub–regional and regional levels.
All activities in the Forum will contribute to its theme:
Contentwise, the forum will consist of two streams:
“What have women’s NGOs done for women in the past 15 years?” These could be stories of NGO initiatives that have increased income of women, improved their health and literacy, helped women survivors of violence to access justice or passed laws to protect women’s human rights. The idea is to celebrate success stories and to learn lessons even from failures.
The aim is to allow women’s NGOs to learn from each other in order that they could further improve their strategies and, collectively, increase their impact. It is also envisioned that NGOs with shared interests can share knowledge and technology or methods of work with each other.
The NGO Forum host, Miriam College, a premier Filipino Catholic educational institution for girls and young women, is committed to the values of truth, justice, peace, environmental sustainability, and gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The NGO Forum Convenor Patricia B. Licuanan, PhD is the President of Miriam College and a Former Chairperson of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, 1994–1996.