Subject: [fem-women2000 64] NGO Statement 26th Oct on NGO Forum Outcome
From: lalamaziwa <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 09:46:28 +0700
UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC 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 globalization; 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.