Subject: [fem-women2000 64] NGO Statement 26th Oct on NGO Forum Outcome
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 09:46:28 +0700
Seq: 64


               High Level Intergovernmental Meeting 
             to review the regional implementation of the 
         Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action

                    Bangkok, 26-29 October, 1999

                               Agenda item 4:
                 Overall Review of Regional Implementation of the 
                           Beijing Platform for Action

               Statement of the Asia Pacific Regional NGO Symposium

                        delivered by Patricia B. Licuanan     
                            Chair, Steering Committee

Madame Chairperson, on behalf of the Asia Pacific NGOs, may I congratulate
 you on your election and express our delight on seeing you in the Chair.
 The NGO community has full confidence in your leadership as it well
remembers and deeply appreciates the role you played as convenor of the
NGO Forum held along with the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in
China in 1995.  My own memories of Beijing and its preparations are
those of the Chair of the government meetings, trying hard among other
things, to support, accommodate, placate or reason with feisty and
tenacious NGOs.  Madame Chairperson, I like to think that the fact that
years after Beijing, you and I and many others at this meeting are still
working together for the empowerment of women, whether in government or
in NGOs, speaks eloquently of constancy and steadfastness as well as of
the synergy between governments and civil society so necessary for
social transformation.

While we are in a remembering mood, it would do well for all of us at
this meeting to recall that the Asia Pacific region was the first to
hold its preparatory meetings prior to the Beijing Conference.  These
were the NGO meeting in Manila and the Intergovernmental Ministerial
Meeting in Jakarta.  Indeed our sisters in the other regions learned
much from our experience and the areas of concern in the Plan of Action
that came out of Jakarta, all found their way into the Beijing Platform
for Action.  Today, as we review the implementation of the Platform and
prepare for the General Assembly meeting in June 2000, our region is
again leading the pack.  Let us work well and responsibly and do justice
not only to the sixty percent of the world's women who live in our
region but to the world's women as well.

While the report of the Asia Pacific Regional NGO Symposium will be
distributed to delegations, may I in this brief statement report that
while acknowledging some gains since Beijing, particularly a growing
acceptance and commitment towards addressing women's needs, the
Symposium stressed that these past few years have been particularly
difficult for our region.  We recognize the challenges posed by new
trends that perpetuate injustices, threaten world peace, and impede
women's empowerment such as the negative impact of globalization, the
Asian financial crisis, the intensification of armed and other forms of
violent conflict, an escalation in the use of religious, ethnic,
cultural and other forms of identity-based constructs to deny women
equality, rights and resources.  

While we list gains in the implementation of specific critical areas of
concern, we deplore the lack of comprehensive, integrated implementation
of the Platform. While noting the strengthening and enhancement of
national machineries, we lament the low level of political will and the
relative absence of genuine monitoring and evaluation and other
institutional mechanisms.  And as we celebrate the growth of NGOs and
citizens' movements working for women's empowerment, the signs of
backlash are not lost on us.  

But we are not daunted.  In the presence of the representatives of our
governments, we declare our determination (and I quote from the
Declaration of the NGO Symposium): 

"to strive for societies based on individual and social dignity in which
women feel strong, active, creative and empowered; where the vital
power of our bodies' functioning and healing remains intact; where our
diverse abilities and talents are valued; and where we may make
decisions and choices, express ourselves and move about freely and
confidently  without fear of violence;

To help build a region in which militarism is replaced by peace and
where mutual respect between nations ensures that measures are taken to
rectify the gross inequalities and disparities which have resulted from

To celebrate those elements of our regional cultural diversity which
enrich and strengthen the role of women in society and to transform
those cultural practices which discriminate against women and which at
times, cause irreparable physical, psychological and social damage to
women and girl-children;

To work for a world in which resources are sustainably used, equally
shared between women and men and equitably distributed within and
between States; and

To demand a world in which women are fully empowered and participate
equally in the definition of structures, systems and policies which
determine the framework of our lives."

In conclusion, as we leave this century of  turmoil, rapid change and
development, we call upon governments, the United Nations, international
 agencies, non-state actors and civil society to have the courage and
commitment to translate the high hopes of the Beijing Platform for
Action into concrete actions that help us move from the conflict,
inequality and injustices which characterize our region towards the
principles of mutual respect, equality and justice reflected in the
vision shared by the women of the Asia Pacific region.

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