United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
(UN/DESA) are organising
a Forum for members of Parliament from selected African and Asian
countries, to be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 6 to 8 December 2002.
Forum is organized in collaboration with the Parliament and the
Government of Thailand, and ESCAP and UNDP in Bangkok. The event is also linked with the Commission
on Human Security (CHS). The initiative is financially supported
by the Japanese Government through the Japan Women in Development
(JWID) Fund in UNDP. The initiative was developed in collaboration
with Dr. Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper
House) of the Indian Parliament, and President of the Inter-Parliamentary
Union (IPU) Council.
Forum builds on the first Africa/Asia Parliamentarian Forum on Human
Security and Gender held in Marrakech, Morocco, 24-26 March 2002.
Building on the outcomes of the first Forum, the second Forum aims
(a) further enhance the role of parliamentarians in promoting
(b) develop and expand strategic partnerships and knowledge networking
among parliamentarians in mainstreaming gender issues in the legislature;
(c) strengthen existing South/South networks of parliamentarians
who advocate for gender equality;
(d) identify opportunities for promoting gender equality in relation
to human security aspects of the Millennium Declaration and the
Millennium Development Goals, and the implementation of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol.
The consolidated outcomes of the first and second Forums will provide
substantive inputs to the Third Tokyo International Conference on
African Development (TICAD III) scheduled for 2003, and to the annual
session of the Commission on Human Security (CHS). Both Forums will
also contribute to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for
Action, in particular its critical area of concern on women in power
and decision-making, and of relevant recommendations contained in
the outcome documents adopted at the twenty-third
special session of the UN General Assembly of June 2000.
Nations Conferences, particularly the Fourth World Conference on
Women held in Beijing in 1995 and the twenty-third
special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: Gender
Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century,"
underlined the importance of women’s full and equal participation
in decision-making as crucial to the achievement of gender equality
and sustainable development in all areas of life. Women’s
equal representation in the political arena and partnership with
men will promote the goal of gender equality and increase attention
to women’s specific needs and concerns in national policies.
As members of the legislature, women and men parliamentarians who
are advocates for gender equality play a key role in the creation
of an enabling national environment for gender equality.
recommendation for further integrating the objective of gender equality
into parliamentary work has been the need to strengthen sustainable
and long-term co-operation among parliamentarians. Such co-operation
would strengthen their capacity to formulate and/or sponsor legislation
for the advancement of women and gender equality in line with the
Beijing Platform for Action (PFA). To this end, there is, in particular,
an interest in promoting partnerships among parliamentarians in
the Asia-Africa co-operation framework.
on these considerations, UNDP and UN/DESA organized a first Africa/Asia
Parliamentarian Forum on Human Security and Gender in Marrakech,
Morocco, following the 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference of the
IPU in March 2002. The Forum brought together members of Parliament
(MPs) from 24 African and Asian countries, as well as representatives
from UN agencies and regional organizations. The first Forum covered
two main issues of human security: freedom from fear and freedom
from want. Within these overarching issues, three topics were covered
from a gender perspective: peace processes, HIV/AIDS, and socio-economic
policies. In addition, experiences of gender sensitive budgeting
were provided. Participants focused on the role of parliamentarians
and the challenges they face in integrating a gender perspective
in parliamentary work in the context of human security. Participants
of the first Forum adopted a communiqué containing concrete recommendations
for action and follow up.
Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD
II) in 1998: (a) considered gender equality as an important element
of democracy; (b) identified gender mainstreaming in development
policies and programmes as a critical condition for the reduction
of poverty; and (c) emphasized the need for experience sharing between
the two regions, namely Africa and Asia. Following the TICAD Ministerial-level
meeting in 2001, the Third Tokyo International Conference on African
Development (TICAD III) is scheduled to take place in October 2003,
which is the tenth anniversary of the initiation of the TICAD process.
the establishment of the African Union, elaboration of the New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD), TICAD III will focus on the following
three areas: 1) Asia-Africa cooperation; 2) human-centered development,
with particular emphasis on education, health and medical care,
and the supply of safe water; 3) efforts to consolidate peace as
a precondition of development. Gender issues will be mainstreamed
in each of the three areas as a cross cutting theme. As the political
empowerment of women and achievement of gender equality represent
important objectives for human-centered development in both regions,
the outcomes of the two Forums are situated clearly within the Asia-Africa
co-operation framework for gender equality, and will directly support
the TICAD process
Forum will discuss the role of parliamentarians - the opportunities
and challenges they face - in promoting gender equality in the context
of human security. Specifically, the Forum aims to:
Enhance the capacity of Parliamentarians to: (a) formulate and/or
sponsor legislation for the advancement of women and gender equality
in line with the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA) and CEDAW,
(b) exercise oversight of the executive branch of Government from
a gender perspective, and (c) work with their constituencies for
Increase the understanding of the gender dimensions of the Millennium
Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals;
Enhance the understanding of Parliamentarians of the role of the
legislature in strengthening the implementation of CEDAW and its
Strengthen South/South networks of parliamentarians who advocate
for gender equality;
Build leadership skills and strategic partnerships for gender
equality at local/national, regional and interregional level to
mainstream gender perspectives in the legislature.
Organization and format of the Forum
Forum will be organized by UNDP (Bureau for Development Policy)
and UN/DESA (Division for the Advancement of Women)
in collaboration with ESCAP and UNDP Office in Bangkok, and with
a link to the Commission on Human Security (CHS). The Forum will
be hosted by the Parliament and the Government of Thailand.
participants will meet in plenary as well as in working groups.
In an opening plenary, participants will report on actions taken
since the first Forum and lessons learned. This will create a series
of good practices and lessons learned, and of a framework for developing
strategies for parliamentarians to promote gender equality in the
context of human security. On the second and third day, plenary
sessions and panel discussions will focus on selected themes, where
short presentations will be made, followed by in-depth discussions
and elaboration of recommendations for action in working groups.
At the conclusion of the Forum, participants are expected to adopt
a joint communiqué that outlines the major conclusions and recommendations
of the meeting. A final report will be produced after the meeting.
(DAW) and UNDP (BDP) will prepare a document compiling information
on action taken and lessons learned at the country level since the
first Forum. Discussion notes will be prepared to guide plenary
and working group sessions.
background documentation will be provided at the conference site.
As the second
and last event in a series, the Forum is expected to result in the
creation of a self-sustaining network of parliamentarians who are
advocates for gender equality within their respective legislature
and their political parties, and vis-à-vis their constituencies.
It is anticipated that based on the experience gained in the two
Forums, participants will use the network on a continuous basis
to share experiences and exercise leadership for gender equality.
Concrete strategies for enhancing leadership skills, and for building
partnerships, links and networks for gender equality at local/national,
regional and interregional level, will be discussed and developed;
- Knowledge networks of gender sensitive women and men parliamentarians
from Africa and Asia created at the first Forum will be strengthened
- South-South exchanges between parliamentarians will be promoted;
- Legislative agendas to strengthen implementation of CEDAW in
selected areas, and ratification of the Optional Protocol will be
- Good practices/lessons learned and challenges will be identified,
based on follow-up actions to the first Forum taken by the participants;
- A joint Communiqué will be adopted to contribute to the integration
of gender perspectives in the TICAD process. This will be submitted
to the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development
Venue and Participants
Forum will be held at Bangkok, Thailand. It is scheduled to take
place from 6 – 8 December 2002.
number of participants will be approximately 40-50. They will include:
Members of the Parliament from selected Asian and African countries.
(A recommendation is made to include, in particular, newly elected
and gender sensitive parliamentarians, and to increase participation
of male MPs.)
2. Members of Thai Parliament and Government officials.
3. Resource persons and facilitators.
4. Representatives of the IPU and UN entities.
5. UNDP and UN/DESA (DAW) staff.
Gender Focal Points in Africa and Asia, and in particular UNDP/BDP
Gender Specialists in Dakar, Pretoria and Kathmandu, UNDP Office
in Bangkok will assist in the selection of participants.
costs of participation for those who are invited by the United Nations
will be covered by the Japan WID Fund. Other participants are responsible
for their own travel arrangements and expenses.
Forum will be conducted in English and French. Background material
will be provided in English and French to the extent possible.
will be expected to make necessary arrangements with regard to passports,
visa and health certificates for travel.
relevant correspondence should be addressed to:
Tel: (212) 963 4836
Fax: (212) 963 3463