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20 years after Beijing

Feminists and women activists prepare for the Beijing+20 Asia-Pacific review

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The 3rd Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, August 18-30, 2014

Women continue to lobby and push governments for full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the most comprehensive plan for gender equality that was the outcome of the Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing, China. Adopted by 189 countries, the Platform for Action is considered a major achievement by a global women’s movement to put women’s issues of rights and equality on government agendas.

At the Third Session of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, August 18-20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand, government delegates and women’s CSOs from the region came together to review the elements of a draft outcome document for the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing +20 Review. This was the first draft review in preparation for the High Level Review Meeting that will take place at the UNESCAP headquarters on November 17, 2014.

Prior to the UNESCAP meeting, a coalition of feminist, women activists from the region have come together to plan for a CSO forum to ensure that women from the Asia-Pacific region are able to come together to hold governments accountable and influence the review process to ensure that governments make good on their promises 20 years ago.

The CSO forum supported by UN Women will commence on November 14 at the UNESCAP building, Bangkok Thailand, starting with registration and an opening plenary.

On November 15, workshops will be held all day at the Trang Hotel, Bangkok Hotel, and on the 16th, a closing plenary at the same hotel venue.

Following the CSO Forum, participants are welcomed to stay on for the UNESCAP Asia and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowermet, Beijing + 20 Review from 17-20, 2014 at the UN ESCAP building, Bangkok, Thailand.

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Civil society representatives attending the UNESCAP Committee on Social Development, Bangkok 18-20, 2014

In order to try and facilitate participation of women from the region, a small grant from UN Women has been made available for women actvists from the region to attend the CSO forum and the ESCAP meeting. For more information, contact the CSO Forum Secretatriat.

A Steering Committee of 19 women’s groups and organizations of the Asia Pacific region have been convened by UN Women to coordinate the CSO Forum and facilitate inputs into the UNESCAP meeting.

The objectives for the Steering Committee are to:

  • Convene, facilitate and lead input of women’s rights civil society organizations into the Review process.
  • Ensure and facilitate thematic inputs where there is convergence.
  • Conceptualize and plan the Civil Society consultation in November 2014.
  • Ensure participation of diverse constituencies from the region.
  • Development of the CSO agenda and content.
  • Carry out post meeting follow up actions.
  • Develop communication mechanisms with a broader society.
  • Liaise with UN Women and ESCAP to influence the format and content of the meeting and ensure space of civil society to influence the meeting outcomes.
  • To develop processes for the engagement of civil society to ensure regional priorities are reflected in the global processes and in post 2015 positions.

This last point is very important as States will choose one area of concern for priority implementation and which they will feed into the 2015 sustainable goals. The regional reviews will culminate at the 59th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) where there will be no negotiated but only policy recommendations that will converge with the Post 2015 development agenda and sustainable goals as part of a global roadmap for a more equitable future.

The data provided for the Review document is coming from Country Reports, Survey forms of states and CSOs, ‘shadow reports’ and previous CSW agreement documents.

At the UNESCAP preliminary review, members of the Steering Committee and other CSO members were able to provide statements addressing key issues and highlighting key points. (Click through for the opening and closing statements.)

The threat to undo the gains of women for the past 20 years is very real. While many advances can be claimed by the relentless watch of women’s groups in the region, many of the threats remain the same; economic agendas that do not necessarily favor women, conflict and peace issues, poverty and unemployment, violence against women and the increasing threats of climate change, impact of disasters, trafficking and internal and outward migration, situations that keep a new generation of women and girls vulnerable and still striving for equality. In Beijing governments were surprised that thousands of women came together to make a statement for equality, 20 years later, there is a need to flex those muscles again and not allow any regression to women and girls rights but to continue marching towards an empowered and inclusive future.

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP); Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD); Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW); Asia Pacific Women with Disability (APWWD) United; Asia Pacific Women Watch (APWW); Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA); femLINKPACIFIC; Fiji Women’s Rights Movement; Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW); Isis International; International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific; Pacific Youth Council; Women’s Alliance for Communities in Transition – South Asia (WACT-SA); Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR); Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & Natural Resource Management (WOCAN)

CSO Steering Committee with Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD); Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA); Innovative Solutions; International Planned Parenthood Federation – South Asia (IPPF-SA); International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC); National Alliance of Women (NAWO)

The three focal point organizations are APWW, APWLD and DAWN with the last 2 serving as the Secretariat.

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