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Commonwealth civil society roundtable at the 12th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting

Posted on 16/07/2019
By Commonwealth Foundation

At the 11th Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (11WAMM), held in September 2016 hosted by the Government of Samoa, Kenya was selected to host the 12th Women Affairs Ministers Meeting (12 WAMM).

The meeting will be held on 19-20 September 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya with the theme: ‘From Commitment to Action: Accelerating Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for Sustainable Development.’

Kenya’s Big Four Agenda is effectively aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, at the continental level with Africa’s Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’, and at the national level, it is anchored to the Kenya Vision 2030.

In 2020, the global community will mark the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing +25) and the fifth year of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Moreover, the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) and Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2020.

In consideration of several parallel processes in support of Beijing +25 Platform for Action, amplifying the voices of women’s rights and women-led organisations will be prioritised. In this spirit and as a way to contribute to the advocacy and discourse on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the lead up to 12 WAMM and Beijing +25, the Commonwealth Foundation will organise a civil society roundtable in partnership with the Government of Kenya as the host country for 12WAMM on 16-17 September 2019. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) will be the co-convenor of the roundtable.

In consultation with FIDA-Kenya and the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the criteria for the selection of organisations and participants from across the Commonwealth in the civil society roundtable is as follows:

  • Representative networks and organisations working at the regional level which are already members of the women’s major group[1] and/or actively representing civic voices of women throughout the Commonwealth. This includes those that are working on policy and advocacy on the four priorities of the Commonwealth: Women’s economic empowerment, Women in leadership, Ending violence against women and girls, and Gender and climate change  
  • Organisations and/or networks involved in national reviews and regional consultations on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and/or involved in the development of shadow reports of civil society consultations and/ or in annual consultation of Commonwealth National Women’s Machineries
  • Organisations and/or networks showcasing intersectionality in their membership: women from rural areas, young people and elderly generations, less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, among others, and are inclusive of voices in the margins/less heard voices in their internal governance
  • Representatives of women in media and leading feminist thinkers who have participated in critical reviews progress on women’s rights and gender equality, informing the Beijing +20 debate including feminist economists who can support governments with advice on accelerating results.

The Women’s Major Group is self-organised and facilitated by a team of 8 Organising Partners, including WEDO. The WMG has the mandate to facilitate women’s human rights and gender equality perspectives into UN policy processes on sustainable development. In recent years, the WMG program and project has been designed to influence two distinct phases in global sustainable development: (1) finalising a universal Post-2015 Development agenda that is grounded in national and regional realities, in particular realities for women; and (2) ensuring its robust implementation at the national, regional and global levels.

Expected outcomes of the roundtable:

  • Civic voice collectives across the Commonwealth effectively communicate policy priorities and recommendations on accelerating results for the delivery of SDG 5 to governments including recommendations to address the intersectionality of gender
  • Sustained engagement of civic voice collectives across the Commonwealth in the Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting process with the active co-convening role of women’s rights and women-led organisations in the host country.
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Bringing civil society into the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Every three years, Commonwealth Ministers responsible for women’s affairs meet to discuss progress and challenges relating to gender equality in the Commonwealth. Civil society play an important role in monitoring and assessing governments' progress to achieve gender equality.