IWTC WOMEN’S GLOBALNET #359
ACTIVITIES & INITIATIVES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE
BEIJING + 15: AFRICAN NGOS ORGANIZE
1. OVERVIEW OF BEIJING +15 PREPARATIONS
From March 1 to 12 2010, government delegations attending the UN Commission on the Status of Women will assess progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) 15 years since it was adopted at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. Immediately prior to the CSW, on February 27 -28, several thousand women will gather in New York to celebrate Beijing +15 at the Global Beijing + 15 NGO Forum for Women.
The BPFA is considered to be the most comprehensive agenda for women’s empowerment. It contains strategic objectives and actions on 12 critical areas of concern: women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights of women, women and the media, women and the environment, and the girl-child.
In anticipation of Beijing + 15, governments and non-governmental organizations around the world are engaged in preparatory activities to assess progress made at both national and regional level and to identify gaps and challenges requiring accelerated action in the years ahead.
This Women’s GlobalNet is the first of several that IWTC will be producing in the coming months to track activities and to stimulate collective action on issues of shared concern. The focus in this issue is on organizing activities among NGOs in Africa. It will be followed shortly by a GlobalNet on NGO Beijing + 15 preparatory activities in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Western Asia.
2. AFRICA REGIONAL TASK FORCE FOR THE BEIJING + 15 REVIEW PROCESS
Women’s organizations in Africa formed the Africa Regional Task Force for the Beijing +15 Review Process following the UN Commission on the Status of Women session in March 2009. The Task Force is responsible for mobilizing women’s organizations and individuals in different countries to carry out activities at the national level, aimed at raising awareness on the 12 Critical Areas of Concern and ensuring that governments take further and appropriate measures and actions to implement the Beijing Platform for Action.
The Africa Task Force is encouraging women’s NGOs and civil society organizations to participate in national review activities and produce shadow reports, which will recognize the accomplishments made and also make suggestions on how to fill in the gaps. These reports will be collated sub-regionally, and sub-regional reports will inform the regional civil society report.
The Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) provided the questionnaires NGOs are using to facilitate the information collection. FEMNET has circulated the questionnaire to all members of the Africa Task Force.
The Africa Task Force recognizes the urgent need to mobilize resources for civil society review processes. UNECA indicated that they do not have resources to support civil society. However, it committed to facilitate NGO discussions through teleconferencing.
For additional information on the work of the Africa Task Force on Beijing + 15, contact:
Currently, the Africa Regional Task Force is encouraging organizing at national level through the identification of organizations willing to serve as national focal points. The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a Task Force member, is coordinating for Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi in the Eastern Africa sub-region and Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger in West Africa.
Below is a list of the coordinating organizations in different countries:
3. KENYAN NGOS DEVELOP AN ACTION STRATEGY TO REVIEW BEIJING PFA
In Kenya, FEMNET convened a Beijing + 15 meeting on May 19, 2009 among women’s organizations who decided on the following:
- Incorporating activities in International human rights days activities e.g. Day of the African Child;
- Engaging the media;
- Organizing activities at the provincial level for the 9 Kenyan provinces; and
- Incorporating into our organizations’ existing activities/materials.
In July the Kenya Team met with the Ministry of Gender and was invited to participate in a Taskforce to write the National Report. The team also lobbied for a stakeholders forum to provide input from civil society into the National Report. The forum will take place before the end of July.
4. ORGANIZING FOR BEIJING + 15 IN WEST AFRICA
In West Africa, FEMNET held a regional meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on June 4-5, 2009. The meeting allowed for information sharing about the Beijing + 15 review process and solicitation of commitments to participate and contribute to the process. Participants in the meeting were from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger and Togo.
The following are the Beijing + 15 national coordinating organizations in West Africa:
5. ORGANIZING FOR BEIJING + 15 IN NORTH AFRICA and ‘the ISLANDS’
FEMNET plans to organize a Beijing + 15 meeting in North Africa in August 2009. The participating countries are Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
A sub-regional meeting for Beijing +15 review is planned in October/November for the islands of Madagascar, Comoro, Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and Mayotte.
6. REGIONAL SCORECARD PROPOSED TO MONITOR GOVERNMENT PROGRESS IN AFRICA
In addition to the work of the Africa Regional Task Force, the Eastern African sub-Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of Women (EASSI) is monitoring how governments of Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda are implementing their commitments to the BPFA.
EASSI organized a regional meeting in Kampala, Uganda on July 17-18, 2009. The meeting discussed a 'regional scorecard' on implementation of the BPFA. This meeting also marked the launch of Beijing + 15 process in the 8 countries that EASSI is working in –namely, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania. The scorecard meeting came up with a consensus among participants to track issues of reproductive health, violence against women, women and poverty, women, peace and armed conflict and women in decision making. EASSI will hold a meeting in Northern Kenya on August 17-19, 2009 bringing women in from Northern Uganda to Kenya to discuss their experiences of Beijing and the scorecard ratings for the two countries focusing on the critical areas of concern for women, peace and armed conflict and UNSCR 1325. The EASSI and its partners will monitor at the national level and allocate scores according to the agreed rating. They plan to present an analytical report as well as advocacy strategies during the Global Beijing +5 NGO Forum in New York on February 27 and 28, 2010 based on their monitoring in East Africa.
7. Uganda BPFA Review Non-government Working Group
In Uganda, the Icon Women And Young People’s Leadership Academy has provided convening space for women’s groups, private sector and the general public to review Uganda’s progress in the implementation of the BPFA. It has supported the formation of the Uganda BPFA Review NGO Working Group which has come up with the following objectives:
As a way forward, the Uganda BPFA Review NGO Working Group agreed to:
- Identify and contact the different actors handling the various areas of concern and request each to review progress made;
- Organize a national conference; and
- Publish conference proceedings and present report to the NGO parallel session during the 2010 CSW session in New York.
Twelve sub-working groups composed of women’s groups and civil society organizations have been formed to collect information around the 12 critical areas of concern.
8. UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (UNECA) EXPERT GROUP AND MINISTERIAL MEETING ON OCTOBER 26-30, 2009; BANJUL, THE GAMBIA
The UN Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) is responsible for facilitating the African intergovernmental preparations for the Beijing +15 review. These include:
Dissemination of questionnaires to national gender machineries to assess progress on implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA);
UNECA will facilitate observer status for the Africa Taskforce at the Ministerial meeting in October 2009. It will also organize a space for civil society to have parallel activities and present their findings during the meeting.
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