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HLPF 2020 Interventions

29. Juli 2020 - 19:05

In this year’s virtual High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF), feminists of Women’s Major Group came together to draft interventions, 12 of which we were able to deliver in official thematic and VNR sessions that can also be found on UN Web TV. Below you may find a compilation of our recorded interventions, including some we were unable to deliver.

Sadia Mir’s Intervention at the “Launching the decade of action at a time of crisis: Keeping the focus on the SDGs while combatting COVID-19” session on 7th July 2020.

Erin Helfert Moësse’s Intervention at the “Transformative pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda: a whole of society approach taking into account the impact of COVID19 (Stakeholder perspectives)” session on 7th July 2020

Grove Harris’ Intervention at the “Ending hunger and achieving food security” session on 7th July 2020.

Fusi Masina Tietie’s Intervention at the “Mobilizing international solidarity, accelerating action and embarking on new pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway: Small Island Developing States” session on 8th July 2020.

Daksha Vaja’s Intervention (could not be delivered due to time constraints) for the “Protecting the planet and building resilience” session on 8th July 2020.

Olga Djanaeva’s Intervention (could not be delivered due to time constraints) for the “Responding to the economic shocks, relaunching growth, sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries’ financing challenges” session on 8th July 2020.

Sarah Zaman’s Intervention at the “Bolstering local action to control the pandemic and accelerate implementation” session on 9th July 2020

Ume Laila Azhar’s Intervention at the “Are we leaving no one behind in eradicating poverty and working towards the 2030 Agenda?” session on 9th July 2020.

Sarah Baird’s Intervention at the “Sustaining efforts to ensure access to sustainable energy” session on 8th July 2020.

Ratang Dijeng’s Intervention at the “Mobilizing international solidarity, accelerating action and embarking on new pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda and respond to COVID-19: African countries, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries” session on July 9th, 2020.

Mabel Bianco’s Intervention, as a lead discussant, at the “Bolstering local action to control the pandemic and accelerate implementation” session on 9th July 2020.

ElsaMarie D’Silva’s Intervention at the “Means of implementation to match the scope of the crisis and the breadth of our ambition for 2030: Science, technology and innovation” session on 10th July 2020.

Cileito V. Perez’s Intervention (could not be delivered due to time constraints) for the “Means of implementation to match the scope of the crisis and the breadth of our ambition for 2030: Mobilizing well-directed financing ” session on 10th July 2020.

Naz Chowdhry’s Intervention at the “Messages from the Regions” session on 15th July 2020.

Svetlana Slesarionok’s Intervention at the VNR review of Ukraine on 16th July 2020. Constanza Pauchulo and Laura Viladevall’s Intervention (could not be delivered due to time constraints) for the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. You can also find all our HLPF 2020 interventions compiled in this YouTube playlist.

The post HLPF 2020 Interventions appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

Intervention in WSSCC/OHCHR/WaterAid Roundtable July 23

27. Juli 2020 - 16:26

WMG member Shaila Shahid, Senior Advisor of Climate Change, DRR, and Gender at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), gave an intervention on most vulnerable groups living in informal settlements at the WSSCC/OHCHR/WaterAid roundtable on the 23rd of July, 2020.

“We urge governments, donors, and UN to ensure equitable access to WASH commodities and services must be protected and extended for all, without any form of discrimination by nationality, income or ethnicity. Governments need to ensure that gendered impacts of the measures implemented during the pandemic are taken into account and negative impacts are avoided; as well as use intersectionality analysis to map differentiated WASH impacts of vulnerable groups like women and adolescents girls, focus on menstrual hygiene and those are already affected by the intersecting power of globalisation, fundamentalism, militarism, and patriarchy. Any response to COVID-19 must be gender-responsive, and advance gender equality by ensuring the fulfillment of women’s human rights as recognized in CEDAW and other treaties and agreements.”

Please find her full intervention here. 

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Kategorien: english

HLPF 2020 Alternative VNR Reports by Our Members

5. Juli 2020 - 20:37


Similar to previous years, the Women’s Major Group’s members throughout the World, have prepared Alternative / Shadow Reports for their countries’ Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). The list of HLPF 2020’s VNR countries can be found here.

In fact, developing a shadow report can be a powerful tool in any case. It provides a platform to work across civil society organizations, creates opportunities to engage with your government, helps determine a baseline to measure change over time, generates information and analysis to use in advocacy and media work, and helps to identify gaps and deficiencies in government policies and programs. If you are engaged in other types of international reporting, such as reporting to the CEDAW Committee, you may be able to use information and analysis from one shadow report to support another.” – WMG’s Engaging with the National Voluntary Review Process


Alliance of Civil Society Organizations of Argentina’s Report (English)

Alliance of Civil Society Organizations of Argentina’s Report (Spanish)


Right Here, Right Now Coalition (YUWA)’s Report (English)



The post HLPF 2020 Alternative VNR Reports by Our Members appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

250+ Groups Call onto UN and Member States for Strong Civil Society Inclusion in UN Virtual Meetings

19. Juni 2020 - 12:54


More than 250 organizations from throughout the World have signed an “An Open Call for Strong and Inclusive Civil Society Engagement at UN Virtual Meetings.” Initiated by the Women’s Major Group, and supported by the broader Major Groups and Other Stakeholders, our call, to the UN, its agencies and member states, aims to draw attention and suggest some of the possible measures to ensure a strong and inclusive civil society participation at the virtual meetings of the United Nations.

The current COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through and the safety measures taken has resulted in the important meetings of the United Nations to be carried to the virtual space. This could present an opportunity to ensure continued and improved civil society access and meaningful engagement to these meetings, but for this to happen certain measures need to be taken. 

The call will remain open for signatures until the end of the UN High-Level Political Forum 2020, and will be periodically updated with new signatures. Please send in your organizational / group signatures, through this form .

The full text of the open call, and the list of organizations and groups that have endorsed the letter can be accessed here.

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Kategorien: english

Draft Short Report from Major Groups and Stakeholders from UNEA5

16. Juni 2020 - 18:48

Last week, the Women’s Major Group had a strong presence at the online consultations with Major Groups and other Stakeholders and the bureau of Member States for UNEA 5. Representing WMG, Isis Alvarez, Noelene Nabilivou and Neth Dano gave powerful presentations.

Here you may find the Draft short report from MGs Consultation 7th June.

Below you may find excerpts of the document, including a description and WMG’s key requests.


“In preparation for the UN Environmental Assembly 5 (UNEA5), an international online
consultation for major groups and stakeholders was held on 7th June 2020.
The main themes of the consultation was: Tackling Ocean Pollution, Health and
Environment, Ecosystem Restoration, Biodiversity and Development and
Involvement and Implementation. Following public panel discussions and closed
group discussions, the major groups gathered to develop their concrete key requests
on these themes.”


WMG Key Requests

Tackling ocean pollution

  • UNEA5 to adopt a mandate to negotiate a legally binding instrument to tackle plastic pollution that covers phase-out/reduction of plastic at the up-stream and middle-stream level, and addresses health impacts of plastic pollution;
  • Address other kinds of ocean pollution such as geoengineering (i.e. synthetic micro-bubbles, ocean fertilisation, marine cloud brightening), deep-sea mining, chemicals/hazardous wastes dumping to the ocean;

Proposals for implementation of the requests:

  • Include the impacted communities and vulnerable populations in the plastic negotiation process (i.e. fish-eaters, communities impacted by fracking activities, petrochemicals industry pollution).
  • Meaningful engagement with the right-holders to assess new technologies


Health and Environment: What a post-pandemic recovery looks like

  • Stop bailing out polluters (chemicals industry, airlines, agro-industry, ) and divesting from dirty technology/industry.
  • Admit and emphasize the link between environmental pollution with human health (communicable diseases as well as non-communicable diseases) that affect all populations especially the vulnerable populations (women, children, people with underlying health problems).


  • More work towards planetary health, not only environmental health.
  • Polluters-pay principle need to be strengthened, no fiscal incentives/subsidies for polluters and dirty businesses.
  • Replace agriculture and food production system with decentralised, localized, biodiverse peasant, and women-led agriculture system with agroecology approach.
  • Enforce existing environmental health conventions and agreements (Climate Change, BRS and Minamata Conventions, and SAICM), phase-out harmful chemicals production and use in products and processes, replace with organic and nature-based materials.


Ecosystem Restoration, Biodiversity, and Development: How can we have development in harmony with nature?

  • End dirty business practices that destroyed the ecosystem and ecosystem services.
  • Rethink the development paradigm, and development financing, stop funding false solutions.
  • Support interventions using a landscape approach to maintain high biodiversity mix in the ecosystem.


  • Promote and support sustainable economic activities especially in the impacted communities in harmony with nature.
  • Promote and support more investment in real renewable energy (solar, wind, wave).


Road to Stockholm+50, UNEP@50 and achieving the SDGs: Involvement and Implementation

  • We are the right-holders. UNEA should recognise the devastating impact of business stakeholder (profit-focused) on rights-holders and the environment. UNEA needs to recognize the conflict of interest of UNEP partnerships with polluters (#nodirtybusiness).
  • Gender-digital UNEA should recognize the gender-digital-divide: fewer women than men have smartphones /access to the internet (OECD) and are affected by the environmental and social impacts of digital tech (energy use, emissions, scammer, etc.).
  • More meaningful We are upset that we have no voice in the town halls next week, this lack of meaningful engagement, limited participations, never facilitates meaningful stakeholders engagement/dialogues with higher delegates.
  • Business stakeholders should also include sustainable solutions providers (recycling industry, alternative delivery system providers, biomaterials packaging etc.).
  • Meaningful engagement and dialogues with high levels delegates, not only between the major groups.
  • Provide more support for sustainable community-led solutions.
  • UNEA should support/facilitate rights-holders to meaningful participation, to assess/evaluate the impact of new technologies.

The post Draft Short Report from Major Groups and Stakeholders from UNEA5 appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

From The Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change

15. Juni 2020 - 20:33

COVID-19 crisis have brought to light many of the systemic issues that have been widening inequalities, throughout the world. Women, girls and gender non-confirming people have been gravely and disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Through “From the Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change” series, the Women’s Major Group seeks to draw attention to the systemic issues faced by women, girls, and gender non-conforming people, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The series also includes WMG’s recommendations for a just, equal and sustainable transition to a better future for all, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Our briefers including our briefers with more details and references on the issues can be found under each language option.


Human WellbeingEconomic BenefitsPlanet & ResilienceSustainable EnergyFood Security & HealthLocal ActionCross-cutting Recommendations


El Bienestar HumanoLos Beneficios EconómicosEl Planeta y ResilienciaEnergía SostenibleSeguridad Alimentaria y SaludLa Acción LocalRecomendaciones Transversales


Le Bien-être HumainLes Bénéfices EconomiquesPlanète et RésilienceL’énergie DurableSécurité Alimentaire et SanitaireL’action LocaleRecommandations Transversales

The post From The Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

From Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change

10. Juni 2020 - 12:56

COVID-19 crisis have brought to light many of the systemic issues that have been widening inequalities, throughout the world. Women, girls and gender non-confirming people have been gravely and disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Through “From the Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change” series, the Women’s Major Group seeks to draw attention to the systemic issues faced by women, girls, and gender non-conforming people, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The series also includes WMG’s recommendations for a just, equal and sustainable transition to a better future for all, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.


Human WellbeingEconomic BenefitsPlanet & ResilienceSustainable EnergyFood Security & HealthLocal ActionCross-cutting Recommendations


El Bienestar HumanoLos Beneficios EconómicosEl Planeta y ResilienciaEnergía SostenibleSeguridad Alimentaria y SaludLa Acción LocalRecomendaciones Transversales


Le Bien-être HumainLes Bénéfices EconomiquesPlanète et RésilienceL’énergie DurableSécurité Alimentaire et SanitaireL’action LocaleRecommandations Transversales

The post From Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

WMG HLPF 2020 Position Paper is Out!

31. Mai 2020 - 16:45

Women’s Major Group’s 2020 High-Level Political Forum Sectoral Position Paper is out!

In order not to lose the gains and the promises of these anniversaries we commemorate, feminist, women’s, girl-led and social movements globally must be resourced, protected, and respected. Resourcing, protecting and respecting our movements not only is the right thing to do, but it will also drive inclusive, accelerated action by creating the public pressure that generates political will and accountability, as well as creating inclusive justice-oriented policies. Feminist and women’s and girls’ rights advocates have continuously questioned “business as usual” and have pushed for more just and egalitarian visions of the world. Drawing on our tools of analysis policy makers will be able to envision new ways of doing things that respond to the needs and the rights of those most left behind.

Read the full position paper here.

The post WMG HLPF 2020 Position Paper is Out! appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

WMG response to the Letter from the UNEA President on the Ministerial Declaration

27. Mai 2020 - 23:00

Women’s Major Group developed a response to the Letter from the UN Environment Assembly President on the
Ministerial Declaration, which was sent on April 24.

You may find our complete response letter here and attached to this post. You may also find a summary of our key messages and recommendations below:

1. What would you welcome as the most important elements and/or key messages from the Ministers in the UNEA Ministerial Declaration to address the theme in an impactful manner?
– Support meaningful real solutions that address root causes of environmental degradation while respecting human rights
– Outline methods and enable support for initiatives that respect nature and restore natural ecosystems including women, indigenous peoples and local communities’ initiatives
– Support People-responsive transformational change leading to sustainable agriculture and healthy food systems leading to healthier diets while exerting climate action
– Uphold People’s rights and justice in genuine solutions for climate change while calling for reduced consumption and sustainable production
– Urge action to governments for the implementation of UNEP’s environmental defenders’ policy

2. How can the Environment Assembly make a significant contribution to Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at a global scale? In doing so, you may take into account the preparation for the meeting, its conduct and follow-up, as well as its relationship to other meetings and processes.
Our key suggestions include the following:
– Adopt a “nexus” approach that tackles interconnected issues in a systemic and holistic way thus re-thinking solutions that
lead to systemic transformation for genuine ‘harmony with nature’
– Ensure full and inclusive and meaningful stakeholder participation in the preparation for UNEA5, including through regional
consultations and dialogue between Ministers and stakeholders
– Inform other intergovernmental meetings to ensure policy coherence, and strengthen multilateral systems
– Apply the principle of non-regression

WMG – UNEA 5 Ministerial Declaration input-FINAL

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Kategorien: english

WMG signs on to CSO letter in support of UN and WHO

22. Mai 2020 - 21:21

WMG has signed on to a letter addressed to António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in support of the UN and WHO and in response to the Acting USAID Administrator John Barsa’s letter to the Secretary-General demanding the UN remove reference to “sexual and reproductive health” from the Global Humanitarian Response Plan’s (HRP) guidance on COVID-19. The letter also expresses support for the global leadership of the UN and the WHO during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as support of steps to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The letter includes 293 organizational sign-ons as well as 371 individual sign-ons.

The letter can be found here and is also attached below.

The post WMG signs on to CSO letter in support of UN and WHO appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

WMG signs on to letter in support of Argentina’s debt restructuring

16. Mai 2020 - 20:19

The Women’s Major Group signed on to a letter, by the global debt justice movement, to call for the Paris Club Secretariat and Paris Club Member States’ support for Argentina’s proposal regarding the restructuring of its debt towards the Paris Club.

The final letter is here in Spanish:

You may find the English translation below:
We write to you today, as representatives of the global debt justice movement, to call for your support for Argentina’s proposal regarding the restructuring of its debt towards the Paris Club.

Argentina is struggling with recession and a mounting debt crisis. The country has been on selective default for a few months already and is battling to avoid a broader default. It has been trying to find a workable path with creditors, notably its private creditors, by proposing a comprehensive and consistent debt restructuring process. However, this has resulted in little success to date. On top of this already complicated situation, Argentina is now facing the economic consequences of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Supporting debt restructuring in Argentina is imperative in order to address the profound social and humanitarian crisis affecting vast parts of the country’s population. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the poverty rate was already as high as 38 percent. According to the Social Debt Observatory in the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA), the combination of the lockdown and the pre-existing financial crisis in the country has provoked an increase in the poverty rate that could have already reached 45 percent of the population. As food insecurity increases, threatening the survival of many, a decision from creditors to ease the economic recession becomes urgent and necessary.

Argentina’s public debt had already been deemed unsustainable prior to the Covid-19 crisis. With interest payments having doubled as a share of government revenue, the cost of refinancing has become excessively high. This has been consistently stated by Argentinian authorities, as well as by the IMF, since February, at which time the Fund made clear a substantial debt restructuring would be necessary to restore sustainability, and this should include private creditors. In response to this situation, the Government of Argentina has developed a debt sustainability strategy approved by its parliament as a priority policy to implement.

Compared to its private and multilateral debt, Argentina’s outstanding bilateral debt towards the Paris Club countries does not represent a significant part of its overall debt. However, Argentina is not in a position to meet the USD 2.1 billion debt service payment to Paris Club creditors which was due on the fifth of May. Until May 2019, Argentina had been paying down its bilateral debt as scheduled since it was renegotiated in 2014 by the Club. This was despite the prohibitive terms of the agreement which did not allow for any reduction of the principal and imposed a very high 9 percent penalty interest rate.

Argentina is now addressing the Paris Club with a reasonable and vital request for a debt restructuring, including rescheduling and extension of its repayment period and a reduction of its interest rates. We believe this proposal sets the minimum the Paris Club should offer to Argentina, considering the extraordinary circumstances. It is the responsibility, not only of the Argentinean Government but also of its creditors, to grant fairer conditions that would allow the population to tackle this economic and humanitarian crisis. A fair decision within the Club could also help pave the way for a broader restructuring by its private and multilateral creditors. Indeed, the Club has an opportunity to set a precedent and provide important leverage, by requesting comparable treatment from Argentina’s private creditors. A successful outcome depends upon the participation and fair burden-sharing by all creditors.

Should Paris Club creditors reject Argentina’s request, buy-in from the private creditor could prove harder to foster and would impact negatively on overall negotiations. The humanitarian impacts of such a decision would be devastating, and the possibility for Paris Club members’ to obtain a better deal in the future would be unlikely to increase.

In this unique and exceptional context in history and, as the Argentinian case painfully illustrates, the absence of – and the need for – a comprehensive international legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring is more obvious than ever. This shortcoming in the current international financial architecture, which should be urgently addressed by the international community, should not in the meantime prevent distressed economies from protecting their people and providing for economic recovery during the crisis.

Argentina’s request to the Paris Club offers a historic opportunity for its members to show that they are committed and able to resolve a sovereign debt crisis in an orderly, efficient and sustainable manner. Offering Argentina a fair solution that would help them deal with the grave humanitarian crisis that the country faces would also demonstrate the commitment of Paris Club creditors to international human rights law – and their extraterritorial obligations thereunder – and to the realisation of the SDGs. A positive agreement from the Paris Club in this case would set a precedent for Argentina, and more generally for the global financial architecture.

The post WMG signs on to letter in support of Argentina’s debt restructuring appeared first on Women's Major Group.

Kategorien: english

WMG Members Launch Global Advocacy Toolkit: “Young feminists want system change”

11. Mai 2020 - 17:23

A WMG member organization and previous OP, WECF, Women Engaged for a Common Future, has launched a global advocacy toolkit for the Beijing +25 process and beyond. The resource is entitled “Young Feminists Want System Change,” building on WMG’s campaign #FeministsWantSystemChange. You can download the toolkit and find more information here.

Advocacy spaces such as international processes and negotiations can be quite complex from the outset and difficult to access for youth. This manual aims to motivate and support young feminists to participate in international policy-making and push for system change throughout the Generation Equality Forum (Beijing+25) process and other policy spaces related to women’s rights and gender equality. These include the Commission on the Status of Women and its review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for action, Agenda 2030 with its High Level Political Forum, and the United Nations General Assembly.

In the toolkit you’ll find:

  • From cause to advocacy
  • Know your rights – herstory of policies, rights and world conferences
  • How do I engage? Finding your way through the wiggly maze of global advocacy (UN)
  • From words to action – practical tools for effective advocacy
Advocacy during a pandemic

It’s worth mentioning that this toolkit was written before we had entered into this new pandemic reality. As some governments are using this time to infringe on human rights, multilateralism becomes more important than ever. And by multilateralism, we mean the global processes where governments are holding each other accountable. As we see new global feminist networks being formed and UN processes either being postponed or turned virtual, this manual becomes more relevant than ever. 2020 was meant to be the year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Generation Equality Forums. This will still happen, but it’s been postponed to 2021 with virtual consultations scheduled during the time leading up to the celebration. Meaning, the Beijing+25 roadmap in the toolkit has changed slightly. You can find an updated roadmap here.

Kategorien: english

WMG Participation in WSSCC Roundtable

11. Mai 2020 - 17:01

The Women’s Major Group has been supporting ongoing efforts alongside the WSSCC towards integrating human rights in the WASH agenda to leave no one behind in SDG 6. In October 2019, we participated in a roundtable regarding “interdependencies and mutual impacts between the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation and other human rights, especially for specific left behind individuals and groups.” See below for the attached report. Representing WMG was Lauren Liu, Advocacy Coordinator at WaterAid.

WSSCC New York Round Table Report

Kategorien: english

WMG Members Host Feminist Digital Organizing Teach-Ins

6. Mai 2020 - 17:10

In early April, as countries around the world began to implement social distancing measures to protect public health in the face of COVID-19, it became clear that feminists must be equipped with tools for unprecedented levels of virtual organizing. Though we may not be able to gather together around tables or in the streets in the next few months, the work of advocating for a just recovery and resisting repressive responses must continue virtually. As feminists, we must still find ways to build power together online. 

There are a great many tools and platforms available to host virtual forums and conferences, collectively write and brainstorm digital media, reach broad audiences online, and more, but there are also a variety of challenges to accessing these tools. The digital divide, as well as lack of information about how to use various platforms that exist, often limit feminists’ (and everyone’s) chances to participate in virtual organizing.

WEDO and our partners at WECF planned a series of three teach-ins for organizing virtual meetings, centered around three kinds of skills to grow together. The recordings of each teach-in are linked below, and we are planning to build these resources out into a comprehensive toolkit with frequently asked questions about virtual tools and how best to utilize them. Look out for it!

Planning Meetings: Accessibility & Methodology
In the first episode of our training series we outlined the different steps that go into planning a virtual meeting and how to grow as an effective facilitator. We also use resources from disability justice work to describe steps you can take to ensure that your virtual meeting is accessible. (Guest speakers: Marine Uldry & Loredana Dicsi, European Disability Forum)

Logistics: Nuts & Bolts of Software
In the second episode of our training series we are exploring a wide range of the online conferencing tools out there, as well as looking into other collaborative tools such as Google Docs and presentations. The second half of the training explored in depth the many settings and functions within Zoom, and how to master them to prevent “zoom-bombing”.

Digital Safety
This is the third and last session in our training series on how to host virtual meetings where we looked deeper into the question around “why digital safety”. We look at what are the Feminist Principles of the Internet? How do you use technology for feminist creativity and care? What are some practical steps you can take to be in control of your time engaging online. (Guest speakers: Jennifer Radloff & Erika Smith from Association for Progressive Communication (APC))

Kategorien: english

WMG Joins Human Rights Sign-on Letter in Opposition to the US’ Commission on Unalienable Rights

5. Mai 2020 - 21:43

The WMG recently joined the following sign on letter; see attached PDF for full letter and signatories.

May 1, 2020

Commission on Unalienable Rights

United States Department of State

2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

Dear U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights:

As human rights organizations, scholars, defenders and activists, we the 167 undersigned, write to express our grave concern about the work of the U.S. State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights and any potential report or output that undermines the international human rights system and purports to reinterpret its respective treaties and monitoring bodies. In particular, we urge the Commission to reject the prioritization of freedom of religion as a cloak to permit violations of the human rights of women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Now more than ever, countries worldwide should prioritize the rights to health and well-being of all their people without discrimination and recognize that reproductive rights are clearly established and articulated under international law. These rights are interrelated and indivisible from all human rights and cannot be subordinated within a hierarchy of rights.

[Find the rest of the letter in the attached PDF below].


Center for Reproductive Rights

Human Rights Watch

International Women’s Health Coalition



Kategorien: english

Hunna Gunnarsson, WECF, presents on Regional Forums Webinar

20. April 2020 - 19:20

Hanna Gunnarsson, Organizing Partner from WECF, was invited to speak about her experience with the regional coordination mechanism and the virtual forum in 2020 at:

Webinar on Regional Forums, Monday 6th at 2pm UK time: to discuss how to strengthen the role of CSOs in accountability on the Regional Forums

Her presentation can be found below:


Kategorien: english

Asia Pacific Women Constituency Inputs to the Chair Summary of APFSD 2020

13. April 2020 - 15:59

Asia Pacific Women Constituency Inputs for the Chair Statement 2020

We are not on track in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Instead, we have seen new crises: climate crises that threaten our survival,  public health crises especially COVID19, and wealth inequality crises that have worsened worldwide. Simultaneously, our democratic system is also under crisis, with more right wing and fascist leaders using populist messaging and manipulating data to be elected, and using attacks on women’s rights as a method to establish their power. The 2030 Agenda and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action can only be achieved through a drastic shift from neoliberal capitalism that devalues women’s work and prioritising corporate interests, as well as dismantling patriarchy, caste system, feudalism, communalism, authoritarianism and other social norms that discriminates women, girls and marginalised groups. These factors limit the rights of women and girls to self-determination, choice of profession, bodily autonomy, economic independence, health including sexual and reproductive health, and freedom from violence.


The six entry points identified have common necessities: a grounding in human rights, including women’s human rights; governments should restore the primacy of human rights in fulfilling their national, regional and international obligations, including: 1) reevaluation of economic, financial, trade and investment policies – reform of economic policy would also need a reckoning of the neoliberal economic order, which has exacerbated inequality and prioritised corporate power and profit over human and environmental rights. 2) provide universal access, across all background characteristics, social exclusion and vulnerability,  to well being and capabilities including access to social protection systems, food sovereignty,  universal access to health care including sexual and reproductive health and rights  and quality and inclusive education, water and sanitation and other public services  in a just equitable, gender equal world with full dignity, respect,  privacy and confidentiality for all free from discrimination, stigma and violence. 3) realise just and equitable transition, away from a consumption-based,  extractive and exploitative economy to just and sustainable economies based on the needs of communities.This requires ending fossil fuel energy dependence, as well as supporting sustainable food systems that are grounded in food sovereignty and support smallholder farming, agroecology and traditional knowledge. The reliance on the private sector and external funding for public services is alarming. It is vital to have stringent regulatory mechanisms to prevent corruption and capitalization of public resources and commodities.


Simultaneously, the High Level Political Forum and systems of accountability and measure of progress on sustainable development also need to be evaluated and reformed. The thematic discussions at HLPF, as well as regional and subregional forums need to shift, not only discussing progress but also on trade-offs, bottlenecks and systemic and structural  challenges that hinder the progress. VNR sessions should not be an opportunity for member states to showcase a feelgood tourist video of how much has been achieved, nor to present a good image for states that are faring poorly on realisation of fundamental freedoms and quality of democracy. The link between national, subregional, regional and global level processes need to be strengthened. Regional forums can be used to discuss transboundary issues and regional cooperation, as well as to present interim regional VNR that can strengthen inputs from civil societies.


In 2020, as we move towards the first five-year review of the 2030 Agenda, we are experiencing greater inequalities than ever before, and with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are bound to go several steps backwards. We don’t want quick fixes, but a total paradigm shift.. With irreversible change at our doorstep, the “new normal” that we create  must use 2020 as the year to radically transform our world and take action to enact systemic change, and realise a gender equal world and Development Justice


Answers for the questionnaire


  1. Where have we progressed the most? (max 250 words) – currently 231 words


Asia and the Pacific region is home to 60% of the world’s population with over half of the people being women, it is appalling that the gender equality goal in the region is making disastrously  slow progress. Progress around the Agenda 2030 SDGs , when taking into account women, has been uneven , with some goals showing progress and some showing negative trends.


We need to recognise that women and girls hold the key for sustainable development. Beijing+25 Review shows  that strides have been made in terms of laws and policies to preventing VAW, promoting gender equality and women’s rights,  the  decline in child Marriage in South Asia, promotion of political particiption and improvement of gender equality in national governance and establishment of national women focussed commissions/machnieries. The increased levels of female literacy and decreased gender parity in primary school enrolments,  along with an increase in the number of girls studying traditionally male-dominated subjects is certainly a long-term gain for the region.  Reduction in the maternal mortality ratio contributing to women’s and girls’ health, particularly maternal health, through increased skilled birth attendants and maternity facilities in hospitals is another landmark achievement in the region.  However,  the progress is too slow and uneven, and is marked by disparities within countries and across countries on the basis of intersectional barriers the women face and going against the principle of leaving no one behind


  1. What are the most important challenges in seeking to accelerate transformations? (current 239  words)


Current neoliberal capitalism relies on the systematic discrimination and degradation of women to generate growth. It perpetuates devaluation of women’s work , increasing vulnerability among informal, migrants and domestic women workers. Patriarchy, caste system, feudalism, communalism, institutionalized racism, majority authoritarinaism, and the prevalence of social norms and masculine attitudes , prevent the continued education of girls, promote women’s unpaid care work, early and forced child marriage and female genital mutilation and other harmful practices. These factors limit the rights of women and girls to self-determination, choice of profession, bodily autonomy ,economic independence, health including sexual and reproductive health, and freedom from violence.


Unjust trade and investment agreements lead to deregulation and liberalisation; privileging of investors’ rights over human rights via ISDS. Land and resource grabbing as well as militarism and conflicts resulting in increased attacks on women environmental defenders – including indigenous women, as well as detention and displacement.


Inadequate technical, political and financial resources for gender equality-related policies is contributing to sexual and gender-based violence, loss of economic security, higher infant and maternal mortality, and extrajudicial and summary executions.


Privatisation of public services as well public private partnership (PPP) further denies women’s rights. This situation aggravates out of pocket health  expenditure, which is a high 64% in South Asia, and primarily affects access for women and marginalized groups, such as women living with HIV.


Lack of sex-disaggregated data, gender indicators/statistics and state accountability structures for practical implementation of adopted laws continues to be a major challenge.


  1. On each entry point, what are the actions that can be taken to address challenges and accelerate implementation of the SDGs in Asia and the Pacific?


Entry Point 1: Human Wellbeing and Capabilities (current: 194 words)


Provide universal access, across all background chracteristics, social exclusuon and vulnerability,  to well being and capabilities including access to social protection systems including universal basic income, food security and sovereignty, universal access to health care including sexual and reproductive health and rights  and quality and inclusive education, water and sanitation, in a just equitable, gender equal world with full dignity, respect,  privacy and confidentiality for all free from discrimination, stigma and violence .


Ensure the universal attainment of gender equality, through gender mainstreamed clear financing strategies, and resource the SDG implementation, towards full realization of women’s and girls’ human rights; revoke all gender discriminatory legislation, policies and practices that contribute to gender inequalities. Provide access to justice, and ensure effective mechanisms to address violations of human rights, address all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and violence against women and girls in all their diversity and end impunity for sexual and gender-based violence.


Ensure equal access to, ownership, inheritance, and control of, productive assets and resources, including land, credit, and natural resources management. Reduce and redistribute the burden of unpaid domestic and care work through shared responsibility by states, private sector, communities, women and men.


Entry point 2 – Sustainable and just economies (current 248)
Sustainable and just economies can only be achieved through a drastic system change that rethinks the notion of growth and assumptions of gender neutrality. Challenging gender inequality therefore requires directly challenging economic policies, institutions and accounting that have entrenched social inequalities. Recommendations:

  • Policy coherence for human rights – governments should restore the primacy of human rights in fulfilling their national, regional and international obligations. Compulsory ex-ante, periodic and ex-post human rights, environmental, gender and SDG compatibility impact assessments of all aid, grants and loans, trade and investment agreements should be implemented
  • Governance: Establish a regional tax body to reform taxation architecture and synergise regional cooperation on taxation. The entity should be mandated to prevent illicit financial flows and combat corruption whichcosts billions of dollars that could otherwise be used for human development financing to reduce inequalities within and among countries
  • Accountability – Enforce a binding legal framework to regulate the private sector, in particular multinational corporations and other businesses and ensure adherence to human rights and accountability standards, through the proposed Legally Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.
  • The redistribution of paid and unpaid care work. Care work should be supported by the state and shared amongst community members. A commitment to decent work, universal implementation of a living wage and protect and strengthen the right of women to organize in the workplace.
  • Debt cancellation to enable governments to use their fiscal and monetary instruments to provide basic services and social security for the peoples. ;


Entry point 3 – Food systems and nutrition patterns.(max 250) currently 250

Rural women, particularly in the region, are vital in addressing hunger and malnutrition, and making agriculture and food systems sustainable. Although women comprise nearly 50 percent agriculture employees in low-income countries, they represent less than 15 percent of landowners, where data is available. Aside from gender parity, we need to tackle financialization of food systems, unjust trade policies, increasing power of corporations, adverse trade off between food and energy, land grabbing and lack of secure tenure over land for small farmers, including women farmers, and rising input costs and indebtedness. Recommendations:

  • To avoid isolated food systems and prioritise the well-being of small food farmers, ensuring social safety nets, insurance, and social protection systems for all, including landless farmers. This includes measures to eliminate harmful social norms and stereotypes that hinder women’s roles and decision-making power.
  • Implement agroecological approaches to agriculture and food production that enable food sovereignty of communities, through banning hazardous pesticides, policy clarity on land tenancy, protection to small farmers and their products from unjust trade practices, and curbing corporate control and consolidation in the food, agriculture and nutrition sectors;
  • Recognise rural women’s traditional knowledge as well as local innovations in sustaining the food system, all technological innovations should be “needs-based” and must be culturally appropriate, gender-responsive, economically feasible and ecologically sustainable. Operationalize the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), making it relevant to regional realities, and explore conducting technology assessment to build the capacity of countries and communities for future impacts and threats posed by new and emerging technologies.


Entry point 4 – Energy decarbonization and universal access (max 250 words): Currently 248 words


The key priority in this era of climate crisis and emergency is to urgently transition to zero carbon economies. This transition needs to be just and equitable: it is an opportunity to build a new worldwide renewable energy industry that is gender-just and follows the provisions of the Decent Work agenda and ensures living wages for all workers, as well as ensure the existing workers of the fossil fuel industry can have a place in renewable energy sectors.


In order to achieve universal access, the model for energy delivery should not try to replicate the large scale centralised old model, but instead foster small and nano models that are community-owned and maintained following the principles of energy democracy, especially in remote areas and difficult geographic terrain. It is important to respect human rights in all aspects of the transition, meaning new renewable energy projects should not displace or uproot communities. A wrong path that some governments have taken is to sign off on large scale projects such as mega hydro dams that have displaced entire villages; in some instances there has been no compensation, or very little; and in some cases residents have been forcibly moved to areas where they cannot pursue their former livelihoods. All of these considerations need to be taken on board and communities’ free, prior, informed and continuous consent should be mandatory at all stages of building and maintaining the renewable energy sector, including through regular human rights, environment and gender impact assessments.


Entry point 5 – Urban and peri-urban development (max 250 words)


Key priority within the urban and peri-urban development revolves around vulnerabilities faced by the urban/ peri urban  poor and marginalised communities, most of them being women engaged in informal employment, doing menial, dangerous, and demeaning jobs, and blamed, stigmatized, and discriminated by virtue of being in the lowest rungs of the social ladder, and first to bear the brunt of the crisis such as the COVID19. This community is criminalized, scapegoated, and displaced, .


Urban and peri-urban communities need to have universal access to well-being. This calls for a need to ensure urban regeneration along with rural regeneration, with people’s interests at their core. Socially excluded groups including women should be prioritised in urban and periurban development.  The neoliberal approach to development should be unlearned by challenging private monopolies, taxing foreign investments, protecting local farmers as well as locally-owned small and medium industries, and promoting social enterprises by local communities. This way, we can create decent jobs and livelihoods in both rural and urban settings and internal migration then becomes a choice, not a forced decision.


Urbanization, too, affects women and girls differently due to persistent gender inequalities, social norms and stereotypes including women with disabilities, migrant women, older women, and women workers.An intersectional, gender and human rights analysis and approach to policy development is key in urban and peri-urban development.


Participatory governance, especially in urban and peri-urban development planning, should involve the urban poor and the most marginalized peoples are key stakeholders .


Entry point 6 – Global environmental commons  (max 250 words) currently 234 words


The linkage between gender and GEC, how women bear the key responsibility in conserving and protecting the commons such as biodiversity and how they suffer most from degradation of these common resources were not at all explored in the GSDR report. The GSDR 2019 also fails to discuss how the deficiency in democracy and violations of human rights of the environmental defenders – many of them are women – are damaging the global environmental commons. Recommendations:


  • Eliminate public finance for coal-power generation and stop subsidies for fossil fuels as they are undermining global actions to protect GEC, instead apply environmental taxes to harmful industries as policy instruments as to correct inequalities and a retrospective taxation regime for corporations mainly responsible for GHG emissions to finance developing countries.
  • Governance of GEC must address human well-being, environmental injustice and gender inequality by empowering people and social movements on environmental public good. These include ensuring gender-sensitive indicators in country, regional and global level to ensure the achievement of GEC, Ensuring women’s access to information, services and culturally appropriate and gender responsive technologies, as well as ensuring women’s participation in decision making processes on environment and natural resources.
  • Establish a Regional Environmental Entity to enhance safety and accountability standards at the national level. The entity can help standardize gender responsive environmental protection in the region by instituting support mechanism for national governments to hold multinational corporations accountable for environmental degradation,



  1. What are effective approaches to enable transformation? (max 250 words) currently 141 words


It is of utmost importance to address the root causes and reorient the SDGs discussions towards the systemic and structural  barriers to sustainable development. The process should clearly expose both progress and implementation gaps in order to enable corrective actions and change of policies and programmes. Wherever lack of significant progress is identified, an adequate analysis of the root causes and systemic barriers must be conducted, including those related to the global inequalities, international economic, trade, monetary and financial frameworks. It is important not to  cluster goals within entry points, as there are strong interlinkages within the clusters and beyond clusters that need to be addressed to enable transformation. A feasible approach would be to analyse how each goals interlinked with the progress of each entry points.   Utilise the lens of Development Justice with its five transformative shifts of redistribute justice, economic justice, gender and social justice, environmental justice and accountability to the peoples to enable transformation.  Lastly, we need to restore the primacy of human rights and ensure inclusion of human rights mechanisms in SDGs processes. The promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights including collective rights of all persons must be at the centre of all policies and measures to achieve sustainable development.


  1. What are some of the most inspiring examples of action by Governments and other stakeholders in advancing people-centred, environmentally sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific (max 250 words)



In Vietnam, women in the coastal lagoon area of Thua Thien Hue province are facing threats of floods and typhoons. Responding to social structure that deprives women from engagement in disaster prevention and preparedness, women of Thua Thien Hue demanded their inclusion in the “Village Rapid Response Teams”. More than 60 local women are included in 12 response teams, which not only reduce their vulnerability to climate crisis but also make them agents rather than subjects of mitigation and adaptation measures and policies.


Universal Health Coverage (UHC) -The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), launched by Indian government in March 2018 seeks to provide financial health protection for 500 million of the most vulnerable Indians and halt the slide of the 50–60 million Indians who fall into poverty annually as a result of medical-related expenditure. It presents the nation a chance to tackle long-term and embedded shortcomings in governance, quality control and to accelerate India’s progress towards the stated goal of UHC provision. The success of the program will rely on a reformed and adequately resourced public sector to lead the implementation, delivery, and monitoring of the scheme.


In Kyrgyzstan, following the adoption of legislative changes banning religious marriage ceremony with minors in 2016, the Plan on the Implementation of the Law on Child Marriage was signed in 2017. Another adopted law mandates reservation of 30 percent of the local council for women, which will ensure 30%  representation of women in the deputy body of local councils.


  1. What have been important benefits of the VNR processes, in particular for second time presenters? (max 250 words)


VNR’s are one of the important tools for the effective Follow up and Review  (FuR) as well as to further strengthen states’ accountability in the whole 2030 Agenda processes.. As widely understood, VNRs are not an end, but a means to exchange experiences, identify challenges and accelerate implementation, hence the countries that are presenting the VNRs for the second time will get benefits from their own experience in the past as well as learned from the best practices other countries, these may include:

  • The need to have high-quality, timely, reliable, disaggregated and accessible data. The access to information should also extend to state policies and budget allocation.
  • Capacity building at all levels of government and its institutions. SDG implementation also takes place at the local levels. Encouraging local governments to monitor, review and collect data through the Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) led by local and sub-national governments with a robust peoples and civil society engagement at the local level should be supported. States should also look at strengthening parliamentary oversight over the organs of the state and effectively address lopsided government spending that draws resources away from basic public services.


Benefit could only be realised in the second time VNR presenting countries if there is a political will. In countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, there is a large section of Civil society that collaborated with their respective governments while writing the VNRs, and the views of civil society were also reflected in a few chapters.


  1. What are best practices and examples of peer support from member countries in the VNR preparatory process? (max 250 words)


In India, Niti Ayog and UN-System and Civil Society Organisations and community members came together for the chapter of Leave No One Behind of VNR-2020. The inclusive preparatory process ensured emotional support and esteem of the community members and their organisations by the government by providing them with a space, recognition of the vulnerable communities and hearing their voices. It provided instrumental support of materials, hand holding and some resource support through UN agencies and IGOs support for the communities to come together in the form of subnational and national events and effective participation, and the information support — of advice, guidance and feedback by both. It helped Niti Ayog and UN System as well in all support verticals — as a community lies at the core of SDGs. Any VNR without their input is incomplete as their own stories testify whether a country is achieving SDGs or not.



  1. How can different stakeholders contribute to strengthening local, national, global and regional follow up and review (including VLR and VNR, the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development and High-level Political forum on Sustainable Development)? (max 250 words)


In local and national level, Setting up local and national institutions and mechanisms to ensure that voices of civil society and peoples’ movements and grassroots communities  are reflected in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs. Recognise and encourage citizen-led data collection and reporting  and civil society shadow  or ‘spotlight’ reports be made widely available in a timely manner along with government reports.

Need to strengthen accountability of and interlinkages between the intergovernmental processes at the sub-regional, regional and global levels. At the sub-regional level, there is a need to strengthen the participation of civil society groups, which currently varies according to the different sub-regions. At the regional level, APFSD can be used to present interim Regional VNR for discussion and feedback before the submitting to HLPF; as well as to address transboundary issues. There’s a need to further support and institutionalise Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement mechanism as a platform for civil society engagement across the UN system in the region. At the global level, need to allocate more time for VNR presentations and interactive debates including ensuring civil society voices. HLPF and Ministerial Declaration needs to take into account the result and recommendations from regional forums. A follow up report is submitted a year after VNR to the regional forums. Countries reporting for the second time could be encouraged to follow-up lessons learned and recommendations with the assistance of UN systems (including Resident Coordinators and country teams.

  1. What are the transboundary issues on which more regional action is needed?

APFSD should discuss and tackle transboundary issues on problems relating to climate change and environmental commons, trade, health,  essential medicines, digital innovation and financing flows. It must, for example, respond to the climate crisis in the region by harnessing climate finance and technologies and respecting indigenous knowledge, plug illicit financial flows and foster tax cooperation through a regional tax body forum, promote aid facilitation and management, ensure fair trade rules that ensure policy space for development, foster capacity building of poorer countries, and foster technology transfer across the countries in the region,  that are accessible and beneficial to the people at large and engage on emerging issues such as digital technology; which, while of great benefit, have major regulatory and privacy issues.  We also reiterate the proposal to establish a Regional Environmental Entity to enhance safety and accountability standards including standardize gender-responsive environmental protection in the region by instituting a support mechanism for national governments to hold multinational corporations accountable for climate and environmental crisis.

Other transboundary issues that need regional cooperation are those in the area of work that could “tackle obstacles and create opportunities”  including issues such as ageing, migration, disabilities, gender equality and women’s empowerment, address humanitarian crisis, and acknowledge that inequalities and social protection should be studied to enable better policy advocacy for countries in the region. Regional forums should take leadership and discuss issues that are considered “political” including safe people’s mobility, conflict-induced migrations and refugees, and global health crisis such as COVID19

  1. What are some of the most important “trends to watch” as governments shape their policy response? (max 250 words)


Civil society space is shrinking, particularly for women human rights defenders and CSOs working in restrictive contexts and on politically challenging issues.  Recent years have seen a global rise of coercive movements, threatening gender equality, women’s rights and bodily autonomy.  Activists and organisations working on SRHR, environment, peace and security, LGBTI rights, are under attack by states and non-state actors.

COVID19 will have long term catastrophic effects on our region.  Women and girls are being disproportionately affected by the crisis, especially  migrants, sex workers, LGBTIQ and other marginalized groups who already face barriers to health services, including SRHR.  This is compounded by lock-downs implemented by many governments,  leading to increases in human rights violations.   Global shortages of essential medical supplies like ARVs and contraceptives are already being observed , and an upsurge of VAWG  across many countries, including India, Afghanistan, Iran, China. Women will  unfairly shoulder the burden of  economic impacts – over represented in the informal sector, in paid and unpaid care work.

The response to the Covid pandemic presents an opportunity to address gender inequality by directly challenging the status quo on economic policies, institutions and accounting that have entrenched social inequalities.  Human rights take primacy;  reform packages must consider rights, responsibilities, resources, and opportunities with a comprehensive gender-lens, informed by sex and age-disaggregated data and gender analyses. There must be strong accountability of private sector and a commitment to decent work, universal implementation of a living wage and protection of  womens’ rights to organize in the workplace.


  1. What specific actions could governments and other stakeholders put forward in support of a global decade of action?


Asia Pacific is not on track to reach any of the SDGs by 2030. Making progress is dependent upon addressing the key economic, political, social and systemic barriers,  including deeply entrenched systems of patriarchy, class, caste and other forms of oppression and marginalization, as well as current patriarchal neoliberal economic model.


Ensure availability of reliable, disaggregated data that is scientifically rigorous to effectively measure progress towards the SDGs, especially in the critical areas of social and environment. Data monitoring systems need to be made rigorous with triangulation of national data with CSOs and independent technical experts at the national level. Promote gender and age disaggregated data to improve the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of gender equality policies including sexual and reproductive health and rights,  as well as laws, programs and gender sensitive budgeting.


There must be  transparency and participation, to allow  public scrutiny of policies, financing and budgeting. Ensure that women, adolescents and girls are involved and have the necessary tools to engage in the relevant accountability  processes and mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels, such as the design, evaluation and implementation of relevant national policies and laws;

Finally, we note with strong concern regarding the shrinking space for Civil Society  engagement in  governance and SDG processes at national, regional, and global levels. Engagement with  civil societies,  including women-focused, people living with disabilities, LGBTQI+, indigenous organizations amongst others, must be meaningful and inclusive.








AP WMG – Inputs to Chair Summary

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