Part I. Introduction
The aims and purposes of the organisation are :-
1. To strengthen the bonds of peace by fostering a better understanding and friendship among women of all Pacific and South East Asia areas;
2. To develop co-operation among women of these regions for the study and development of social, economic and cultural conditions.
National Member Associations (NMA), of which there are 23, have national constitutions which include indigenous priorities within the broad framework of the parent International Association.
Expanded areas of activities.
At the last PPSEAWA International Conference held in Auckland, New Zealand in March 2007 ( Women making a difference for Peace), members agreed to extend the Association’s focus, realising the impact that factors such as social, economic and human rights, lack of opportunities and inequality have, on people’s lives to live in peace and harmony.
The attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is seen as an important milestone to achieving world Peace. PPSEAWA International has adopted the MDG for programme action but more specifically MDG 3: gender equality and empowerment of women. NMA are expected to report on MDG 3 and other MDG activities in their countries, at the next International Conference to be held in Bali, Indonesia in May 2010.
Members reach out to the under-privileged, vulnerable, displaced and orphaned. We welcome and applaud the social, ethnic, religious and economic diversity of our members.
Activities to achieve PPSEAWA’s aims continue and have expanded since the previous reporting period e.g.:-
§ Friendship links: Russia/Australia; Thailand/China; Japan/Korea; Papua New Guinea/Australia ;
§ Student education exchange: 2 young women from Fiji spent 2 ½ months of practical training in the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI).
§ Financial assistance: $5000 to Mercy Malaysia to assist in the rebuilding efforts in Banda Aceh following the 2005 Tsunami and $5000 to Mercy Indonesia to assist in the rebuilding efforts in Jogjakarta following the destruction caused by the earthquake in 2006;
§ Support for income-generating projects for women eg., sewing machines and assisting with market gardens for members in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; supporting and participating in government initiatives through membership of the Australian Women’s Coalition (Alliance), aimed at improving the quality of life of indigenous families in Australia.
§ Literacy programmes and support for schools and scholarships for disadvantaged children;
§ Networking with community agencies to help: women on the fringe of society; women’s prisons; abused women’s shelters and action groups against trafficking of women;
§ Financial support for women over 25 years of age who return to college or university to complete their studies.
All NMAs have strong linkages with relevant government agencies that may include: Ministries for Women; the environment; education; social development and, where they exist, Peace Councils. It should be noted that many PPSEAWA women are also members of local NGOs and Civil Societies, UN Associations, UNIFEM, national women’s associations and international organisations such as Soroptimist International, Red Cross and Girl Guides. PPSEAWA values the opportunities to network amongst these and other women’s organisations, allowing PPSEAWA to be an important part of the collective decision making. All such linkages are powerful tools for effecting change for Peace, which we try to exploit wherever possible.
In 2007 the Pacific Centre of UNDP based in Suva, Fiji was mandated to establish a Peace Building and Development Institute. PPSEAWA was a foundation member of the Steering Committee. Following almost 2 years of planning and revisions the renamed Crisis Prevention and Recovery Capacity (CPR) Development Training is about to begin for senior practitioners in order to develop a community of practitioners, increasing capacity of the strategic actors that constitute CPR architecture of the Pacific. PPSEAWA International and regional members will seek every opportunity to work with and support the work of this important Institute.
PPSEAWA is affiliated with the Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW), All India Women’s Congress and All Pakistan Women’s Congress.
PPSEAWA is enrolled with the Directory of Institutions and Organisations in the Web-based Pacific Portals on Conflict Prevention and Peace BuildingFunding
External and corporate sources of funding to PPSEAWA International have ceased through the sad loss of a very generous benefactor and member. The International Association has no fixed headquarters. Its work is carried out by the Executive Committee and Council through voluntary effort. Funds are collected from annual dues which are deliberately kept to a minimum. NMA fund their own projects and all expenses to attend conferences and UN meetings.
Donations from members have enabled two special funds to be established: an Emergency Fund to help NMA suffering the consequences of natural or man-made disasters, and a Young Women’s Fund to enable young women attend the International Conference or for training. This fund was used to allow the President of the PPSEAWA PNG attend APEC’s Women in Export Trade Day, 24 June 2007, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia.
The membership of NMA remains at 23 nations, with Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands considering joining the Association. A few NMA are inactive.
Three youth ambassadors have been appointed as advisors to Council to assist with the recruitment and retention of young women. This is one of our priorities.
Lack of funding is a major barrier to the recruitment of new members of all ages.
Individual membership varies from 20-50 in the small Pacific Island nations to over 1000 in Indonesia.
i) PPSEAWA Heritage Book 11, History of the Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association 1994-2007, written by a member of PPSEAWA USA, published with financial support by PPSEAWA Malaysia.
ii) PPSEAWA Platters for Peace, 2008, containing recipes and articles on peace contributed by members, supported by PPSEAWA International;
PPSEAWA NSW, PPSEAWA Australia and Australian Women’s Coalition
Part 11. Contribution of the organisation to the work of the United Nations i) Participation in the work of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies and/or major conferences and other United Nations meetings. Member nations still need to overcome the technological communications divide. Whilst widespread e-mail communication has improved and although physical participation in meetings by members is encouraged, without any financial support, attendance by our members is often unaffordable.
In spite of our difficult financial situation, we are undertaking a considerable investment in upgrading our old website, to increase inter agency programme discussions and foster projects promoting United Nations activities amongst our membership. The website serves to inform, educate and enlarge our membership. Links are included to relevant United Nations agencies websites, which facilitate direct access for our members.
We serve the work of the United Nations through advocacy, and participating in UN days e.g., the International Day for Women; International Day for Peace; International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women; Human Rights Day; International Day of Volunteers and other international days of particular interest to members.
Our triennial meetings devote a session on one day to the United Nations, with speakers from various UN agencies representing different facets of UN outreach. PPSEAWA is accredited to the UN in New York, Geneva, Vienna and to its subsidiary bodies, UNIFEM, UNICEF, UNESCO and ESCAP in Bangkok.
PPSEAWA is also accredited to the NGO/DPI. Within the constraints of time and finance, representatives attend sessions whenever possible as listed below:-
UNICEF monthly meetings.
Special UNICEF Working Group on Girls (WGG) general meetings. A PPSEAWA member has been appointed to the Board of WGG..
NGO monthly briefings.
Annual sessions of the CSW Conference.
Attending and participating in Workshop on Empowering Women in Political Process, Caucuses on Girls’ Issues, Workshop on Financing for Gender Equality in Education, Workshop on Empowering Girls to Enter the Workforce Through Non-Traditional Channels.
NGO Committee on UNIFEM at its monthly meetings. A PPSEAWA member has been elected to be its “Archivist Historian”, giving her a position on the executive committee.
PPSEAWA joined and helped to form the Task Force for Violence Against Women, A PPSEAWA representatives attended the UN meetings on Say No to Violence and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
PPSEAWA was represented at the 18th Annual Celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, October 2, 2008, NY
Conference on Interfaith Cooperation and the Protection of Human Rights, Human Rights Committee sessions 9-21 July;. 13-31 Oct. 2008. Geneva. Switzerland also attended the “Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, Dec. 2008 in Geneva. .
UN Representatives make recommendations to PPSEAWA International for endorsements of UN initiatives – such as the following:-
§ signed the Campaign for the Establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations – 9 July 2008;
§ supported Resolution 1820 of 2008 to end sexual violence in conflict;
§ is a Signatory to a Joint Statement on The Eradication of Extreme Poverty as a Condition to the full and effective enjoyment of the Human Right to Peace;
§ is a Signatory to UNIFEM’s Say NO to Violence Against Women Campaign;
§ Supported an NGO Joint Statement on Human Rights Education and Learning;
§ is a Signatory to the Statement prepared by WGG on the equal sharing of responsibilities between Women and Men including Care-Givers in the context of HIV/AIDS.
UN representatives lobbied for the creation of an independent women’s agency to be on a par with major agencies like UNICEF and UNDP, and which should have the
rank of Under-Secretary-General, reporting to ECOSOC.
They signed in support of a movement spearheaded by the Centre for Women’s Global leadership and others called Gender Equality Architectural Reform.
PPSEAWA’s name was listed among many NGOs for an online petition calling for a special representative on violence against children.
PPSEAWA is a member of CONGO and was represented in the CONGO Board for two terms until the end of 2007 .
Activities in line with the MDGs
MDG 3 is the focus of PPSEAWA activities for the next few years and NMA are engaged in implementing projects relevant to their cultural, economic and social conditions. These include mentoring and empowerment of women in rural areas, law reform that protects and guarantees women’s rights, membership of local CEDAW partnerships or Women’s Ministries, Voter and Women Candidates Education, supporting capacity building training for members, scholarships for disadvantaged young women, financial support to schools for under-achieving young women and anti-human trafficking initiatives.
PPSEAWA International has approved a project to train an MDG3 Project Officer from each NMA in the development and implementation of activities to achieve MDG 3 in their own country. Sources of sponsorship and funding are being solicited, but so far remain elusive.
At the International Conference held in 2007, it was encouraging to note that NMA are engaged in activities involving one or more MDG and that all eight are covered to an extent.
Activities for Peace
The emphasis given to Peace is reflected in the appointment of a Peace Ambassador who advises the International Council and NMA on all matters pertaning to Peace.
Four PPSEAWA members were nominated for the “1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005”.
PPSEAWA is represented in The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom(WILFP) by a member from Australia. Their slogan underpins what PPSEAWA epitomises:- If you Want Peace, Live Peace, Prepare for Peace and Work for Peace.Members have instigated and participated in interfaith celebrations held on or near the UN International Day of Peace, 21st September. PPSEAWA groups, when planning their programnes, always try to include a component on peace.
Several individual members and NMA have adopted Virtues Projects (endorsed by the UN) in schools, communities and prisons.
A “Design for Young Peace” project targetting school children is active in the Cook Islands and Fiji.
The UNICEF funded production of “Peace Songs” – composed by a former Peace Ambassador has been widely distributed to NMA and others. It has been especially used by teachers promoting peace and dance in schools.
ii) Activities in Support of Global Principles
PPSEAWA representatives are selected for their commitment to the purposes of PPSEAWA and their support for the work of the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies as well as their residential proximity to the various UN Offices. This gives them the flexibility and means to attend sessions when possible. For the vast majority of members, attending ECOSOC conferences or other UN meetings is out of reach, although occasionally UN meetings/conferences are held in member countries. Members take such opportunities whenever possible, as they arise e.g.,
Indonesia attended the Sixty Second session of ESCAP held in Jakarta, Indonesia,
6-12 April 2006.