KASAMA Vol. 18 No. 3 / July-August-September 2004 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

30 JUNE TO 3 JULY 2004

Women Take Home New Skills, Commitments From Asia-Pacific NGO Forum

The Asia-Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing+10 ended on 03 July 2004 with women from the region bringing home new skills, renewed commitments and new hopes.

ON THE LAST DAY of the Forum, women from various NGOs in the region attended skills-training workshops that focused on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), how to use Information and Communication Technologies, (ICT) and gender-responsive human rights documentation. Discussions on topics that started in the previous days such as HIV/AIDS, analysis of power in administration and politics, and alternative feminist strategies were also continued on the last day.

On the afternoon of the closing day, indigenous, youth and other women's sectors discussed and revised the official Forum Statement. This statement reflected the full reaffirmation of the more than 700 women's commitment to the Beijing Platform For Action (BPFA) amidst the growing turmoil, insecurities and crises caused by neo-liberal globalisation, war, militarisms and extremisms. It also mentioned that as the women of Asia and the Pacific celebrate the BPFA as a strategic document for women's empowerment, the enormous and complex challenges still facing women in the region still need to be recognised.

The Forum report, which will be contained in the Purple Book - the official outcome of the AP NGO FORUM - was also examined. The report contained the synthesis of all the workshops and special sessions conducted within the four days of the Forum regarding the BPFA 12 critical areas of concern. The participants' recommendations were also included in this report. The Purple Book will be finalised before August 2004 ends.

Keiko Okaido, the deputy executive director of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) delivered the Forum's closing remarks. Okaido stressed the need to build more effective relationships among women's NGOs, governments and UN bodies like UNESCAP, which she said had a long tradition of collaborating with NGOs. She also said women are presently living in a complex situation and face more demanding challenges, thus they should find more constructive solutions together.

The Forum officially closed with a farewell reception and a cultural show featuring dance and song performances from different countries.