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On November 14, 2014, over 400 feminist women activists working on women's rights will meet in Bangkok at the Asia-Pacific CSO Forum on Beijing+20 (APCSOB20) to discuss what their governments have done to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Activists from across the region will note if the reported progress by States has been sufficient and what States should be doing to tackle the challenges that remain on the 12 critical areas of concern identified twenty years ago in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).

"The Beijing+20 CSO Forum brings together women activists from the region to hold governments accountable and ensure that States make good on their promises from 20 years ago," said Jasmin Qureshi, media liaison for the CSO Forum. "Accountability requires remedies that are powerful and enforceable; without them gender equality remains but a good intention."

The APCSOB20, supported by UN Women, and organised by 12 leading NGOS through a Steering Committee, will hold a number of workshops to discuss women's poverty, need for economic empowerment, education, and health. It will deliberate about armed conflict and women's role in developing peace, women's struggles against violence, and the need for power and women's inclusion in decision-making and institutional mechanisms for their advancement. It will also look into everyday issues that affect women such as the media, migration, and the environment (Check out the full programme here).

The CSO Forum looks to ensure the engagement of civil society in the inter-governmental review process to guarantee that women's priorities in the region are reflected in the global dialogue and in the post 2015 positions.

"The participation and voices of women in the region is crucial since States will choose one area of concern for priority implementation," said Luz Martinez from the CSO Steering Committee. "The inter-governmental review will only be a success if States prioritize what the myriad of women in the region need."

Earlier this year States reported the progress and remaining challenges to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)—the entity charged with monitoring the implementation of the BPfA across the Asia and Pacific region. Government delegates and women CSOs first came together in August 2014 to review the elements of a draft outcome document. During that meeting, CSO representatives reiterated the need for a solid commitment to human rights in development and called for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and gender mainstreaming across all the sustainable development goals.

The outcomes of the APCSOB20 will feed into the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+20 Review. At the latter, UNESCAP member states will adopt the regional input that will go into the global review process dialogue to be held in 2015 at the 59th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). The UNCSW will not include negotiation, but only policy recommendations that will converge with the post 2015 development agenda and sustainable goals.

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Media contact (interviews available)
Jasmin Qureshi
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