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 Marrakech, Morocco from 24-26 March 2002.
The event will be held following the IPU 107th Inter-Parliamentary
Forum is 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 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.
of the Forum are to:
discuss the role of parliamentarians - the opportunities and challenges
they face - in promoting gender equality in the context of human
The Forum in Morocco represents the first phase of the project, while
the second phase entails the organization of another meeting 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. This activity will also contribute
to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, in particular
Agenda Item G (women in power and decision-making and gender equality).
In addition, the Forum represents a follow-up activity to the Beijing
+5 recommendations as it addresses emerging issues and recommendations
contained in the Outcome Document adopted at the UN twenty-third special
session of the General Assembly (June 2000).
(b) exchange experiences, good practices and lessons learned;
(c) strengthen existing South/South networks of parliamentarians
who advocate for gender equality;
(d) create additional opportunities for knowledge networking among
members of parliament in support of their efforts to mainstream
gender issues in the legislature.
global UN 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 empowerment in the decision-making
fora as crucial to the achievement of the gender equality goal and
sustainable human development goal. Women's equal representation
in the political arena and partnership with men will further gender
equality goals as well as 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
recommendation for further integrating the objective of gender equality
into the parliamentary work has been the need to strengthen sustainable
and long-term co-operation among parliamentarians. This would build
their capacity to formulate policies and 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.
Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD
II): (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. As the political empowerment of women and achievement of
gender equality represent important objectives for sustainable development
in both regions, this Asia-Africa co-operation framework for gender
equality will directly feed into 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:
contribute to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action
and gender equality by identifying practical/operational ways
and good practices of mainstreaming a gender perspective into
parliamentary policies, practices and decision-making, focusing
on issues related to human security;
establish a sustainable network of a group of "critical" and influential
parliamentarians (30-50 MP's) who are advocates for gender equality
from Asia and Africa in 2002;
contribute to the empowerment and knowledge networking among parliamentarians
for strengthening national, regional and inter-regional parliamentarian
efforts to promote gender equality; and
address priority issues relating to human security and gender,
Human security and gender: freedom from want and freedom from
b. Role and challenges facing parliamentarians in promoting gender
equality and mainstreaming in parliamentary work;
c. Socio-economic policies to empower women, including poverty
reduction strategies which are responsive to the gender equality
d. Threats to human security in the wake of armed conflict, including
violence against women.
Organization and format of the Forum
Forum will be organized by UNDP (BDP) and UN/DESA (DAW)
in close collaboration with UNDP Country Office in Morocco. The
Forum will be hosted by the Moroccan Parliament and the Government
participants will meet in plenary as well as in working groups.
Issue papers will be prepared to serve as guidelines for the discussions
and presentations in the plenary and working groups. In an opening
plenary, participants' presentations will create a conceptual framework
for the discussion. The plenary will be followed by short presentations
and in-depth discussions on specific issues in working groups. At
the conclusion of the Forum, participants will endorse a joint communiqué
that outlines the major conclusions and recommendations of the meeting.
A final report will be produced after the meeting.
opening session will be chaired by Dr. Nejmaa Heptulla, Deputy Chairman
of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of India. A chairperson will be
selected for each session, alternating regionally. Facilitators
and rapporteurs will be identified for panel and working group sessions.
papers on topics related to human security will be prepared by UN/DESA
(DAW) to serve as background materials for the participants and
guide the preparation of presentations. They will also raise specific
questions that will be discussed during the sessions.
background documentation will be provided at the conference site.
A sustainable knowledge network of gender sensitive women and men
parliamentarians from Africa and Asia will be established;
2. South-South exchanges between parliamentarians will be enhanced;
3. Identifying good practices;
4. Strategies to implement recommendations on issue areas identified,
progress on which will be reported on at the second meeting to be
held in India.
5. A joint Communiqué will be adopted by the participants to contribute
further to the TICAD process. The Communiqué will focus on specific
recommendations on the role of parliamentarians in gender mainstreaming.
These will be submitted to the Third Tokyo International Conference
on African Development (TICAD III).
Venue and Participants
Forum will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco.
It is scheduled to take place from Sunday 24 to Tuesday 26 March
number of participants will be approximately 40-50. They will include:
Parliamentarian members from selected Asia and African countries.
(A recommendation is made to include, in particular, newly elected
and gender sensitive parliamentarians.)
2. Members of Moroccan 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 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.
will be expected to make necessary arrangements with regard to passports,
visa and health certificates for travel.
relevant correspondence should be addressed to:
Task Force Manager for DESA
Tel: (212) 963 8379
Fax: (212) 963 3463
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to Ms. Makiko Tagashira at email@example.com