by Nina Somera, Isis International

Shirkat Gah and the ASR Resource Centre organised the Pakistani national consultation on Beijing + 15 from 10-11 September 2009 in the capital Lahore. The two-day event was attended by over 130 participants from various sectors within and outside the women's movements. Aside from grassroots women, women's human rights activists, minority groups and stakeholders from other social movements, parliamentarians and the media were also present. Many of the participants also consisted of young women.

As Khawar Mumtaz of Shirkat Gah described, "It was an opportunity to bring the young up to date on the women's global movement for their rights and the national process that moulded the broad-based participation of women and men in the Beijing Conference and the role of the Pakistani delegation in the official process." The Pakistani government produced its own National Plan of Action based on its commitments to the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) in 1995. The National Plan of Action is due to be revised.

The national consultation dwelled on the "new crises" as well as seven of the 12 areas of BPFA. Despite the seriousness of the discussions, Mumtaz noted the high energy during the consultation: "The quality of discussion and presentation was extremely high. The level of energy and engagement was super. The atmosphere was lively with songs from the women's movement."

Shirkat Gah, ASR and other organisations are currently preparing a report that will be shared with the Indian national process and ultimately, will feed into a South Asian position from the women's movements.

Aside from Pakistan, Nepal likewise held its own national process. It yielded a declaration that presses for the inclusion of BPFA in its new constitution and the role of women in peace-building, taking into account the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 which demands women's meaningful participation in peace processes and prohibits violence against women in situations of conflict respectively.

The South Asia Women's Watch (SAWW) and the National Alliance of Women (NAWO) will hold the South Asia NGO Forum on Beijing + 15 from 1-3 October 2009 in New Delhi, India.

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