11th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting

The 11th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting (11WAMM) was held in Apia, hosted by the Government of Samoa on the theme of ‘Gender equality through sustainable development in an inclusive Commonwealth’ on 7-8 September 2016. 

WAMM takes place every three years and provides ministers, senior officials, civil society, private sector and partner agencies with an important opportunity to discuss critical issues in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also contributes to the setting of Commonwealth priorities and the global agenda for sustainable and inclusive development.  11WAMM’s objectives included:

  • Informing on proposed Commonwealth priorities on gender equality and women’s rights in the period of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
  • Discussing emerging issues and increasingly critical development issues on gender equality, women’s empowerment and development to promote inclusive development and democracy.
  • Repositioning the Commonwealth and its commitments to gender equality and women’s rights.

These were covered in themes such as Gender and Climate Change, Women’s Leadership, Violence Against Women and Girls and Intergenerational Partnerships for Sustainable Development. 

For the Commonwealth Foundation, the role of civil society in the new SDG agenda is critical in addressing gender equality in the Commonwealth.  The Commonwealth has a record of innovation and support to initiatives that include: gender resource budgeting; violence against women and girls; women’s leadership; and child, early and forced marriage. Civil society has been central to the progress made to date. SDG 16 in particular calls for ways and means of encouraging broad participation in the development agenda. This calls for an inclusive approach – one that places civil society at the heart of finding answers to questions on how best to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment while partnering with Government and other stakeholders.  

The Foundation sent a strong delegation to 11WAMM led by our Chairperson Sir Anand Satyanand. The delegation also included civil society representation from East Africa and the Pacific region. They provided civil society inputs throughout the Conference on and made specific contributions on: The Status of Women’s Leadership in the Public Sector; and on Violence Against Women and Girls with a focus on the Prevention and Elimination of Child Early and Forced Marriage in the Commonwealth.

 Sir Anand spoke at the session on Intergenerational and Cross-Collaborative Partnerships. His remarks can be downloaded here