Dear Sisters in Asia and the Pacific,

I write this letter as the Philippines, specifically Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, is still reeling from the devastating floods that struck last weekend.  The Miriam College campus and community were not spared by this worst disaster in decades, but we were more fortunate than most.  In the midst of rescue and relief operations, the Philippine Host Committee pondered on the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing + 15, only three weeks away, and wondered if we could or should go on with it as scheduled.

Our conclusion was that we could definitely manage the event as planned. The Forum venue and the hotels were not affected by the floods, the roads to and from the airport and main city arteries have been cleared, flights have not been disrupted.  Furthermore, we felt that we should “confront crises” and “forge the future” as emphasized in the Forum theme.  That is what women do.  They move on with life’s commitments and responsibilities.

It will not however, be “business as usual”.  We intend to take this opportunity to expand, strengthen, deepen and enliven the timely discussions of climate change and disaster preparedness and management and the gender dimensions of these,  in both plenary and parallel workshop sessions, through “weaving wisdom” from recent disaster experiences in the region.

So dear sisters, I wish to inform and assure you that the Asia Pacific NGO Forum on Beijing + 15 will be held as scheduled on October 22-24, 2009 at Miriam College, Quezon City, Philippines.  The Forum will be preceded by the National Women’s Summit on October 20-21.

We thank you for the expressions of concern and support in the light of the recent events in our country.  A Donation Center will be set up at the Forum to accept any donations in cash or kind for the flood victims.

These donations and your mere presence in our country and at the Forum at this time will be an important and much appreciated expression of solidarity with a country and people re-building their lives.

Mabuhay and see you soon!

Patricia B. Licuanan, Ph.D.

Convenor

AP NGO Forum on Beijing + 15

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