The Salvation Army, 120 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011 between 6th and 7th Avenue

Saturday, February 27, 2010

8:30 - 9:15AM Registration
8:45 - 9:15AM The Salvation Army Brownsville Corps Steel Orchestra
9:15 – 9:30AM
Welcome Remarks – Vivian Pender, Chair NGO/CSW, New York (USA)
9:30 – 9:50AM Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage
9:50 – 10:30AM Keynote Speech – Dr. Sima Samar, Chair of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, (Afghanistan) (speaker Listen to the speech)
10:30 – 12:00PM

Panel 1 – Advancing Women’s Rights, 1975-2010: What The World Conferences On Women Accomplished

Moderator: Jan Peterson, Chair-Secretariat of the Huairou Commission (USA)


  • Patricia Licuanan
    President, Miriam College (Philippines)
    speaker Listen to the speech
    As lead convenor of the AP NGO Forum held in October 2009, Patricia Licuanan shared the highlights of the three-day forum. One of the major achievements of this forum is the development of partnerships among non-government and government organisations. She also shared on the need to review gender mainstreaming and how it could work against women; while recognising that the new Gender Equality Architecture Reform Campaign (GEAR Campaign) in the various UN Agencies holds a lot of potential.
  • Charlotte Bunch
    Founding Director and Senior Scholar, CWGL, Rutgers University (USA)
    speaker Listen to the speech
    In her speech Charlotte Bunch, acknowledged that the women's world conferences were created by women as a venue for discussion and sharing and it has since then also transformed the women's movement. This transformation lead to her work towards changing and strengthening the UN structures to ensure that gender equality is achieved – and this is the core work of the GEAR Campaign.
  • Gertrude Mongella, President
    Pan-African Parliament (Tanzania)
    speakerListen to the speech
    Gertrude Mongella representing the Pan-African Parliament, acknowledged the women and men who took part in the BPFA process who contributed to building blocks for women's development. One of the highlights that she shared is women's increased access of new information technology, such as computers and mobile phones. She further illustrates this by pointing out the way computers don't distinguish whether you are a woman or a man, it doesn't differentiate it in the way it treats you.
  • Marta Benavides
    El Museo Aja (El Salvador)
    speakerListen to the speech
    Marta Benavides shared her insights on the UN and participation in its spaces, and sees this as an instrument, a tool that brings people together, acting for the good of people, and working towards protecting the planet. She illustrated this through the concept of of think globally and act locally, where people act with such effectiveness that contribute to changing people's lives, and care of the planet.
12:00 – 2:00PM Lunch/Videos: “To Empower Women—Beijing 1995” and Juntos: “Artists United Against VAW”
2:00 – 3:45PM

Panel 2 – The State of the World’s Women: Patriarchy, Violence Against Women and Girls, Women’s Health, & Climate Change

Moderator: Afaf Mahfouz, Women’s Learning Partnership (Egypt)


  • Nyaradzayi Gumbodzvanda
    General Secretary, YWCA (Zimbabwe)
    speakerListen to the speech
    She began her speech by offering moments of silence for women who have lost their lives due to childbirth, preventable diseases, and HIV/AIDS. She also acknowledged the commitment of women human rights defenders who have chosen to speak out despite personal pains and difficult contexts. She also congratulated the women's movement for being grounded the basic premises of solidarity and social transformation. Within the context of these achievements she drew attention to the fact that women’s realities are diverse, yet these diversities is to be respected without compromising women's rights in the private and public sphere.
  • Mahnaz Afkhami
    Former Chair, Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace (Iran)
    speakerListen to the speech
    Mahnaz Afkhami, opens her speech with the preparatory process that lead to the Beijing process, started by a very small group of women. In her speech she points out how things have changed so quickly through the years as various spaces in the UN opened up. But she reminds the audience that some of the things that were taken for granted, "All issues are Women's issues and Women's Rights are Human rights" were advocacies that we had to struggle through many years. She goes on to say that although the accomplishments such as a legislation against violence that are already in place for women, there is still a tremendous gap that remains to be addressed with numbers like 500,000 young girls are trafficked every year. Much is needed to be done for legislation for women.
  • Violet Shivustse
    Community health worker for Shibuye (Kenya)
    speakerListen to the speech
    She began her speech by offering moments of silence for women who have lost their lives due to childbirth, preventable diseases, and HIV/AIDS. She also acknowledged the commitment of women human rights defenders who have chosen to speak out despite personal pains and difficult contexts. She also congratulated the women's movement for being grounded the basic premises of solidarity and social transformation. Within the context of these achievements she drew attention to the fact that women’s realities are diverse, yet these diversities is to be respected without compromising women's rights in the private and public sphere. 

Violet Shivustse spoke of her experiences in dealing with two major problems in Kenya since the 1990s, and these were: maternal deaths and HIV/AIDS. She talked about the strength of collective action and how women rallied together to seek support for training in maternal health care and support for people who are ill. This has resulted to a decrease in the number of sick people occupying beds in the hospitals, as more women gain the confidence to care for the sick at home. She likewise shared the challenges they have yet to face and the perspective of how HIV/AIDS is viewed. She reiterates that in order to address HIV/AIDS, it should be seen as a broader issue of development rather than just health issue, and too look into many underlying factors that contribute to perceptions about HIV/AIDS that many people are not aware of.
3:45 – 5:00PM

Open Mic: Global Voices for Actions and Commitments

Moderator: Rosa G. Lizarde, Director/Co-founder, Education & Networking for Latina Cooperation & Empowerment & Coordinator of Feminist Task Force – GCAP

5:00PM Closing Remarks

MC: Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, International Coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (Philippines)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

9:00 – 9:10AM Welcome Remarks
9:10 – 9:30AM The Children’s Theater Workshop
9:30 – 11:30AM

Panel 3 – Voices From Around the World: Regional Priorities and Action

Moderator: Simone Ovart, Vice-Chair, NGO CSW/Geneva (Italy)


  • Asia and the Pacific: Cai Yiping
    Executive Director of Isis International (China)
    (speaker Listen to the speech)
    As she attended the 4th World Conference on Women Cai Yiping, Isis International highlighted 
the birth of the Beijing+15 in primarily through the efforts of the international women’s movement that envisioned a world of equality, justice and peace. Given this herstory, she emphasized the need to be alert and to make sure that the progress of Beijing+15 is made and not be reversed in the midst of the many challenges that the Asia Pacific region. Many of the challenges women face today and have unfortunately slowed down the progress of Beijing+15 and throughout the years, continues to create a situation of insecurity of women and girls though the violation of their human rights.
  • Europe: Brigitte Triems
    President, European Women’s Lobby (Germany)
    speakerListen to the speech
    Despite the challenges faced between the regions, countries and rural areas, they have very bravely observed women's progress for women’s rights in compliance with the Beijing Platform For Action. She also stressed that they are aware of the significant gaps and new challenges that needs to be addressed. She points out that the priority is to complete the implementation of existing instruments and legislation at all levels to discrimination and all forms of violence against women. She closes her speech with commitment of how the European Union together with its member states will continue its work towards gender equality, in particular they will focus on the gender dimension of the global financial and social crisis.

  • East and Arab Region: Lina Abou Habib
    Executive Director of Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (Lebanon)
    speakerListen to the speech
    Coming from the context of a collective research and training on Women in Action and Women Learning Partnership Training, she has chosen to take on two major issues on the Beijing Platform of action, that is to raise concerns on accountability as this relates to frameworks of women and citizenship. She raises the concern for accountability of who is accountable to the women with regards to the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. She stresses the importance of women's citizenship framework that secure women of their rights. This is especially helpful within a situation where identity and rights are behind from being part of a tribe, a clan, a community, a sect, religion and ethic minority etc. One of the important initiatives are focused specifically on making the state responsible towards women by pointing out the fact that the Arab States have failed to securing human rights.
  • North America: June Zeitlin
    Director of CEDAW Education Project, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (USA)
    speakerListen to the speech
    The number one priority for women in terms of US Action this year, is to ratify CEDAW because America is one of the 7 countries in the world that has not made a move to sign on and ratify CEDAW. She is hopeful the CEDAW ratification will be done within this administration, with the support of the President & Vice President. Governments and women around the globe are watching to see if the US will “Walk the Talk”, and there should be a recognition to match the talk with much needed action.
  • Africa: Virginia Ntombi Setshwaelo
    Activist and Lecturer (Botswana)
    speakerListen to the speech
    In her speech as she spoke of the situation of Africa with their 53 member states, she shared the perspective of women NGOs in the African region, of the crucial task of staying focused on the critical areas as a way of safeguarding women's interests and rights. While she acknowledged that much has been achieved over the past 15 years, particularly in the last 5 years, significant development has 
occurred in the African region in the domain of gender equality and equity, and human rights. However, she shared the sad reality that these success stories are greatly outweighed by the harsh realities for women that prevailed 15 years ago, continue to exist now. She closes her speech by reiterating the challenges faced by the women's movement in Africa is to ensure that systems supportive of the women's empowerment and achieving the goals of the Beijing +15 are in place and strengthened through the years.
11:30 – 2:00PM Lunch and Regional Meetings
2:00 –3:00PM Report Back from Regional meetings
3:00 – 4:20PM

Panel 4 – Fulfilling the Promise of Gender Equality, Peace, and Development: Women, Peace and Security, Strengthening Institutional Mechanisms, World Economic Crisis, Building Women’s Leadership, & the Millennium Development Goals

Moderator: Marlene Parenzan, Chair, NGO/CSW/Vienna (Austria)


  • Lia van Broekhoven
    Policy Advisor for Cordaid (Netherlands)
    speaker Listen to the speech
  • Lia van Broekhoven shares her thoughts on women participation in peacebuilding and issues on human security. She highlights a mindset on change with the following statement: “At the end of the day, change needs to happen within a specific country, region, society, community and from within.” Much as we need to appreciate the differences that exist between frameworks of, peace building, human rights, security, communities, and of children, we also need to find out the connections between these. She also talks about understanding the reality of women and men in each of the communities.
  • Alexandra Garita
    International Women’ Health Coalition (Mexico)
    speaker Listen to the speech)
    Alexandra Garita talks about the call to the UN to campaign for it to meet its commitment within 10 years. On the 54th session on the Status of Women she stresses the achievements and challenges by saying: “we have come a long way and still have a long way to go.” In her closing statement she calls on the importance of political will, that the commitment made by the International community for achieving gender equality and women's empowerment from Mexico to Beijing can only be met if the highest levels of power prioritize the achievement of these commitments.
  • Radhika Balakrishnan
    Executive Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University (India)
    speaker Listen to the speech)

An important point that Radhika Balakrishnan raised was the circumstances behind the economic crisis. She points out that many around the world were led to an understand that an economic policy was in place for the last 3 decades, only to be faced with the sad reality that it has not worked.

She illustrates this with the fact that the poor are getting poorer and the rich incredibly richer. Radhika concluded by saying that as “women's movement and as feminists we need to take back the State, its ours and we need to make them do what we want them to do”.

  • Sering Falu Njie
    Deputy Director, Policy, UN Millennium Campaign
    speaker Listen to the speech)
    Sering Falu Njie states that some of the things that needs to be done from now on, is to fulfill the promise of Gender Equality and the MDG's. He strongly believes that it is possible to achieve this provided the political willingness to do so exists. He sees the issue about making things happen is not so much the need for more resources but rather the commitment and political willingness at all levels of national and international governance to achieve the promises of Gender Equality.
4:20 – 4:30PM Lynn Nottage – Reading from her Broadway play “Ruined”
4:30 – 4:50PM

Call to Action and Closing Remarks

Special Guests:

  • Rachel Mayanja, UN Assistant Secretary General, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women
  • Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA
  • H.E. Mr. Garen Nazarian, Chair of the Bureau of CSW 54
4:50 – 5:00PM Musical Finale
MC: Jackie Shapiro, Zonta International United Nations Committee Chairman
Highlighted the recent AP NGO Forum in October 2009, where
partnerships were developed among non-government and government
organisations through this complex review. And while, she said, of the
need to review gender mainstreaming and how it could actually work
against women; there is however the new GEAR UN Agency that has a lot
of potential.

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