Africa/Asia Parliamentarian Forum on Human Security and Gender
Marrakech, Morocco, 24-26 March 2002
The Africa/Asia Parliamentarian Forum on Human Security and Gender - "The Role of the Legislature” closed today, 26 March 2002.
The first of its kind, the Forum was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for the Advancement of Women (UN/DESA/DAW). Participants in this high level event included members of Parliaments of 24 African and Asian countries, including Algeria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Thailand, as well as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO) in Morocco, and regional organizations, including the Center for Asia-Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum.
The three-day Forum was organized in collaboration with the Moroccan Parliament and the Ministry in charge of the Promotion of Women and Protection of the Family and Childhood and Integration of Handicapped, and in close cooperation with the UNDP Country Office in Morocco. The initiative is funded by the Japanese Government through the Japan Women in Development (JWID) Fund in UNDP.
The Forum focused on two themes, namely “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”. In this context, the role of parliamentarians, the opportunities and challenges they face in promoting gender equality in the context of human security was discussed. Participants exchanged experiences, good practices and lessons learned; called for the need to strengthen and sustain cross-regional parliamentarians’ networks, including knowledge networking to support their efforts to mainstream gender issues in the work of the legislature.
Participants made the following recommendations:
1. Follow-up to the First Asia/Africa Parliamentarian Forum on Human Security and Gender:
§ Promote further exchange of ideas, information, and experiences through the establishment of an electronic network.
§ Set up a virtual library for exchange of documentation on topics related to the Forum.
§ Contribute to the capacity-building of parliamentary members.
§ Disseminate information on the concept of gender equality and gender mainstreaming to educate decision-makers.
2. Participants at this Forum agreed to:
§ Strive to achieve greater representation of women in elected and governmental entities in order to make access to decision-making possible for women.
§ Urge the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including its reporting obligations, as well as ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.
§ Urge the revision of family code where applicable.
§ Ensure ratification and domestic implementation of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others; the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (supplementing the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime); the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
§ Develop the qualitative contribution of women within their respective parliaments.
§ Highlight the importance of health and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women living with HIV/AIDS and members of their family.
§ Ensure that governments, through their national machineries, are accountable to parliament, NGOs and civil society on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW, CRC, and other treaties.
§ Sustain and maintain networking and strategy coordination within parliament and within constituencies (local/national networking).
§ Analyze national budgets and introduce budgetary changes to incorporate gender perspectives and contribute to gender equality.
§ Promote the formulation and adoption of gender responsive poverty reduction strategies and develop national capacity for the monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals.
§ Influence political parties and lobby for a greater participation of women on electoral lists, and in places which would enhance the chance of their election.
§ Engage in advocacy and education about the pandemic.
§ Increase the level of awareness by holding workshops and seminars in constituencies.
§ Encourage responsible sexual behavior, including the option of abstinence.
§ Encourage counseling and voluntary testing.
§ Advocate with the international community to mobilize more resources towards mitigation of the pandemic.
§ Establish HIV/AIDS parliamentary committees.
§ Encourage other parliamentary committees to join hands in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
§ Hold negotiations with relevant bodies for the use and/or production of generic drugs.
§ Advocate for gender sensitive budgets.
§ Advocate for gender mainstreaming in national parliaments.
§ Establish strong collaboration with NGOs in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
§ Encourage free distribution of condoms, including female condoms.
§ Give support to home-based care.
§ Enact laws that will guarantee the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.
§ Address cultural and traditional practices that act as barriers in fighting HIV/AIDS, e.g.:
· Female genital mutilation
· Rituals and religious ceremonies (cleansing)
· Traditional healers
· Lobola (bride price)
§ Initiate programmes on women’s empowerment, for example:
· Income generating projects
· Education and awareness programmes for sex workers
· Legal protection for sex workers
§ Establish a Law Commission to examine decriminalization of sex work.
§ Promote a decrease in budget spending on arms and reallocation to HIV/AIDS.
§ Evaluate all HIV/AIDS policies, plans and programmes from a gender perspective.
2. Socio-economic policies:
§ Conduct impact analysis and budget assessments using the gender analysis framework which would ensure equality in the resource allocation taking into consideration gender. This approach would also reinforce good governance and transparency of the choices and procedures adopted in the elaboration of national budgets.
§ Strengthen gender mainstreaming at all levels and in all processes, including through:
· sex disaggregated data collection and analysis
· conduct of impact analysis of macro-economic policies from a gender perspective
· gender planning and gender budgeting
· collaboration with UN organizations, donors, local governments, etc.
§ Highlight the role of parliamentarians in promoting the ratification of CEDAW; the withdrawal of reservations; and effective implementation of the Convention.
§ Focus on the rights of children in relation to access to education.
3. Peace process:
§ Enact legislation to ban the recruitment of child soldiers.
§ Advocate for gender-based crimes committed during conflicts, including rape, to be subject to national and international prosecution.
§ Enhance the involvement of women parliamentarians in foreign affairs, security, and peace committees in the parliaments.
§ Call upon the UN and the international community to implement the Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
§ Encourage women’s participation in political parties and the contributions of women’s organizations to peace processes.
§ Enhance the role of parliamentarians in conflict prevention, especially in relation to gender issues.
§ Educate women refugees on international instruments for the protection of their rights.
§ Ensure the participation of women parliamentarians in repatriation and resettlement committees.
§ Strengthen women parliamentarians’ involvement in peace negotiations and implementation of peace agreements.
Participants will prioritize implementation of these recommendations according to their national plans of action, and will report on the progress made at the second Africa/Asia Parliamentarian Forum on Human Security and Gender to be held in India later in 2002. The outcomes of both meetings will provide substantive inputs to the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) scheduled for 2003.