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Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action Monitoring Group

The Commonwealth Foundation facilitates civil society participation and contribution to the Commonwealth’s Plan of Action for Gender Equality (PoA) 2005-2015.

The PoA was negotiated in 2004 by Commonwealth Ministers responsible for women’s affairs and endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2005, receiving input from over 200 civil society organisations.  The PoA provides the framework through which the Commonwealth contributes to the advancement of gender equality.

The PoA focuses on 4 key areas:

  1. Gender, democracy, peace and conflict
  2. Gender, human rights and law
  3. Gender, poverty eradication and economic empowerment
  4. Gender and HIV/AIDS

The Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action Monitoring Group (CGPMG) was established in 2005 to function as a mechanism for monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the PoA in order to strengthen its implementation. In addition to the 21 representatives from National Women’s Machineries (NWMs), four civil society representatives are members of the Monitoring Group. Civil society involvement with the Monitoring Group is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation. The annual CGPMG meeting takes place in the wings of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women conference.

Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers: Civil Society Forum

Issue

Civic voice dialogue with governance institutions is a critical element of participatory governance. The Foundation promotes constructive engagement as an approach to advocacy between governments and civic voices. Commonwealth Ministerial spaces, where open to civil society participation, provide an opportunity for civil society working on relevant issues on the Ministerial agenda, to engage with decision-makers and to put forward their positions.

Constructive engagement implies that governance institutions recognise that CSOs are independent development actors in their own right and offer a wide range of expertise and experience in development solutions and innovation.

Project

The Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) is held every two years. The Commonwealth Foundation, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and host governments has, where feasible and relevant, convened a Civil Society Forum (CSF) as a pre-conference meeting.

The CSF enables the presence and participation of Commonwealth civil society to put forward a position on issues discussed at the Ministerial meetings. The Commonwealth Foundation has enabled the participation of civic voices from the margins which includes local leaders, subject experts or representatives of communities impacted by the policy under discussion.  The Forum also provides civic actors the opportunity to share good practises and build partnerships on issues impacting diverse constituencies.

Here is the statement of 12 key requests submitted by civil society to Education Ministers at the 19th CCEM held on 20-21 June, 2017 in Bahamas

Bringing civil society into the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting

Issue

Civic voice dialogue with governance institutions is a critical element of participatory governance. The Foundation promotes constructive engagement as an approach to advocacy between governments and civic voices. Commonwealth Ministerial spaces, where open to civil society participation, provide an opportunity for civil society working on issues relevant to the Ministerial agenda to engage with decision-makers and to put forward their positions.

Constructive engagement implies that governance institutions recognise that CSOs are independent development actors in their own right and offer a wide range of expertise and experience in development solutions and innovation.

Project

The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM) is held every year in Geneva.

This video explains what the CHMM Civil Society Forum is about.

The Commonwealth Foundation, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and host governments has, where feasible and relevant, convened a Civil Society Forum (CSF) as a pre-conference meeting.

The CSF enables the presence and participation of Commonwealth civil society to put forward a position on issues discussed at the Ministerial meetings with the intention that civil society’s policy asks will be taken on to the World Health Assembly. The Commonwealth Foundation has enabled the participation of civic voices from the margins which includes local leaders, subject experts or representatives of communities impacted by the policy under discussion.  The Forum also provides civic actors the opportunity to share good practises and build partnerships on issues impacting diverse constituencies.

Commonwealth Perspectives: the post-2015 Millennium Development Goal agenda

The publication Commonwealth Perspectives looked at the extent to which the MDGs created opportunities for civil society but also how future development agendas could be more inclusive.

Undertaking research in 14 countries, the Commonwealth Foundation worked with a range of civil society actors to take stock of what progress had been achieved and the extent to which civil society had been able to participate in, influence and benefit from MDG attainment. They also agreed recommendations to influence the new development frameworks being shaped for the post-2015 era.

In addition to the research and national consultations, the project drew on a 2005 Commonwealth Foundation report Breaking with Business as Usual:Perspectives from Civil Society in the Commonwealth on the Millennium Development Goals in the same 14 countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Malawi, New Zealand, Pakistan, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Trinidad ad Tobago, Uganda and Zambia.

With additional support from the UN Millennium Campaign, this project expanded to include four additional Commonwealth countries: Nigeria, The Gambia, Mozambique and India; and two non-Commonwealth countries: Nepal and Philippines.

To read all the reports, please go to the Knowledge Hub where you can download them.