OSAGI Home Gender Mainstreaming Focal Point

Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women
and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP)

AIDE MEMOIRE

ASIA - PACIFIC REGIONAL SYMPOSIUM
ON GENDER MAINSTREAMING
Bangkok, 10-13 December 2001

Background and purpose

Gender mainstreaming was established as a global strategy for the promotion of gender equality in the Platform for Action from the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). A definition of gender mainstreaming and clear directives on what gender mainstreaming implies were provided in the ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2. The mainstreaming mandate was further reinforced in the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (Beijing +5) in June 2000. In 2001, ECOSOC resolution 2001/41 called for greater attention to gender mainstreaming, including through follow-up to the implementation of the ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2.
Efforts are underway within the United Nations to encourage greater attention to gender perspectives in the work programme of all entities in the system and to support the efforts of Member States at national level. The regional commissions also support implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy at regional level.

Experience from both the United Nations and Member States contexts has shown that the provision of opportunities for exchange of ideas, experiences and good practice on gender mainstreaming is a fruitful means of increasing awareness, commitment and capacity to implement the strategy. Symposia on gender mainstreaming will therefore be organized in all regions - in collaboration between the Office of the Special Adviser on Women and Gender Issues in New York and the regional commissions - commencing with the Asian and Pacific region in Bangkok in December 2001.

The regional symposia would bring together representatives of Governments, regional-level intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and civil society groups, private sector and academia for a constructive dialogue on gender mainstreaming in the region - identifying and addressing potentials and constraints.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The regional symposia on gender mainstreaming would aim to:

  • Establish greater links between the gender mainstreaming work of the United Nations and efforts at national and regional levels;
  • Provide a more operational focus on gender mainstreaming - identifying entry-points and approaches, methodologies and tools, including through the identification of good practice examples - to support gender mainstreaming at national level and in intergovernmental processes at regional level;
  • Support more catalytic roles for the Commission on the Status of Women in relation to gender mainstreaming; and
  • Support the work of the regional commissions on gender mainstreaming and increase reporting from the regional level to the Commission on the Status of Women.

A number of levels would be focused on in the regional symposia, including: policies, legislation, institutions - structures, procedures and organizational culture - as well as programmes and projects. There should be a strong focus on approaches, methodologies and tools, including good practice examples. The constraints to gender mainstreaming posed by negative attitudes and stereotypes should also be raised. Case studies on development of strategies for gender mainstreaming in different sector areas will be prepared as a basis for discussion.

While some of the discussions may be most usefully kept at a generic level rather than linked to a particular theme, for example issues of approach, methodology and tools as well as institutional development issues, theme-focused discussions would also be included. Themes of particular concern in the different regions, identified in the regional preparatory process for the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (Beijing +5), could be addressed. One of the two annual themes of the Commission on the Status of Women might also be addressed in the symposia.

The focus of the regional symposia would vary according to the particular circumstances of each region. Standing items would, however, include: the role of national machineries and focal points; gender mainstreaming in budget processes; time-bound, measurable targets; involvement of men; and accountability mechanisms. There should be a strong focus on identifying examples of how incorporating gender perspectives in different areas supports the achievement of other development goals. Attention should also be given to intergovernmental bodies and processes at regional level - assessing the extent to which gender perspectives are incorporated into the substantive work as well as the status of the representation of women. The focus of the regional symposia would be creative, proactive, practical and participatory.

The expected output would include a short Communiqué issued at the end of the symposia as well as a report to the Commission on the Status of Women. The focus of the output would be operational, emphasizing the implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy and including good practice examples.

The regional symposium in Bangkok, December 2001

The regional symposium on gender mainstreaming for the Asia Pacific region will be held at ESCAP in Bangkok on 10-13 December 2001. An opening plenary session would focus on the issue of gender mainstreaming in the efforts to alleviate poverty in a globalizing world, one of the two themes of the 46th session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Other plenary sessions will focus on gender mainstreaming in national budgets, institutional development and accountability for gender mainstreaming and specific strategies for gender mainstreaming in different areas. All plenary sessions will be followed by discussion in smaller working groups led by experienced facilitators. A final plenary session will bring together the findings and recommendations from the working group sessions and endorse the Communiqué for immediate release, as well as an outline for a report to the CSW, to be prepared by the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women in collaboration with ESCAP. Participants are requested to bring copies of policies, strategies, guidelines and other materials on gender mainstreaming activities in their countries/organizations.
Further information on the location, times, themes and other logistical details is available in the enclosed INFORMATION NOTE FOR PARTICIPANTS.

Contact:
Ms. Thelma Kay, Chief, Women in Development Section Social Development Division, ESCAP, Bangkok, tel: 66-2-288 1989 ; fax: 66-2-288 1018; email: kay.unescap@un.org or
Ms. Carolyn Hannan, Principal Officer for Gender Mainstreaming, Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, United Nations, New York, tel: 1-212-963 3104; hannan@un.org

 
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