The Pacific delegations were among the strongest, most active voices in the room calling for the inclusion of ‘ women human rights defenders and feminist organisations ’ in the draft declaration. They also proposed that the text address the marginalisation of women on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual reproductive health and rights, specific language on the harsh realities of climate change affecting small island states, inclusion of gender in macroeconomic analysis and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) designed to be ‘youth-friendly’, among others.
Despite the inspiring display of solidarity and call to action by the Pacific on these key issues, much of the language deemed crucial to the advancement of gender equality was removed. However, despite this setback, the Pacific was hailed ‘the most progressive’ throughout the negotiation process and has definitely stamped their mark at the Beijing+20 Review.
Civil society organisations were also recognised for their phenomenal contribution towards achieving gender equality on both a regional and global scale. The Executive Director of UNWomen, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka reaffirmed the critical role of CSO’s in her opening remarks in the form of a video presentation today by pointing out that they provide a “constant, vigorous challenge to the status quo” and are “our greatest allies.”
Says Sharon Bhagwan Rolls of FemLINKPacific:
“The Pacific voice was loud in moving forward on the Samoa Pathway, reiterating the impact of nuclear testing and commitments in our Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security while also calling for urgent action to address violence against women, women’s sexual reproductive health and rights and joining many other countries in calling for recognition of the diversity of women and stronger protection for diverse groups of women regardless of sexual identity, disability or status as migrant workers or due to internal displacement.
The observations at the UN Conference Centre here in Bangkok that the legacy of those who carried the Pacific flag through the decade of women and on to the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women has been upheld throughout the negotiations – including in reaffirming the language of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.”
His Excellency Mr. Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Funafuti chaired the Ministerial session, which started today. Pacific Ministers and country representatives’ present, as well as civil society read out statements. All Pacific delegations made strong statements on climate change issues, beginning with Tuvalu. The other delegations also cited a range of challenges remaining in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, including a call from Palau for both recognition and implementation of sexual reproductive health and rights.
The Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review concludes tomorrow, with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration. Pacific government, intergovernmental and civil society representatives have been here since Sunday, when they participated in a Pacific preparatory briefing before the Conference began on Monday 17th November.
For further information please contact Genevieve Sukhdeo, media focal point for the Pacific Civil Society Steering Group, on firstname.lastname@example.org