1. Establish a formal network of women legislators in the Asia-Pacific region
From this two-day meeting, the participants expressed their desire to continue relating with other women legislators from the region.
Discussions during the formal conference sessions and informal small group interactions have been an opportunity to share their experiences as women struggling to assert their political rights and have their issues paid attention to within a male dominated environment. It was also a chance for the participants to get suggestions based on what has worked for other women in their respective countries.
A side activity during the conference was a series of meetings organized by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for the delegates from South Asia and South East Asia. After their meeting, the 21 participants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan decided to spearhead the formation of a South Asian Forum for Women Parliamentarians. They plan to hold their first meeting in Nepal later this year. UNIFEM intends to follow up the results of the Conference at the country level, particularly for the developing countries of Southeast Asia, in order to assist the parliamentarians and their constituents put some of these plans into practice.
On a more personal level, the conference was a venue for the women legislators to affirm each other and provide encouragement to continue their struggle. It was likewise an opportunity to make contact with their peers and explore concrete ways to help each other. For instance, a neophyte (first-term) legislator was invited to visit the constituency of a senior and more experienced colleague to learn about mobilization at the grassroots level.
2. Holding of similar conferences at the sub-regional level
At the end of the conference, the women parliamentarians were very vocal about their having benefited from the input provided by the experts as well as the chance to meet and discuss with fellow women legislators from other countries in the region. A number requested that sub-regional conferences for women parliamentarians, utilizing the same format, be organized in order to provide more women legislators an opportunity to participate and draw up more focused national and sub-regional plans of action.
The first day of the conference was open to invited guests from academe, non-government organizations (NGOs), and representatives from government, business and media. The general feedback from the non-parliamentarian participants was that they found the presentations stimulating because it provided a different perspective on critical issues. In particular, it was a good advocacy tool for women's concerns and how various groups can work together to promote good governance.
3. Follow-up the plans of action drawn up by the women legislator
The three workshops produced a list of proposals that the women legislators can undertake together with other key players in their respective countries and in their sub-region. CAPWIP is going to assist the women legislators push their proposals by furnishing copies of the plan of action to its NGO partners throughout the region, multilateral/bilateral and other donor agencies who can provide financial and technical support, and other regional organizations.
CAPWIP will be allocating a space in its interactive web site for the women parliamentarians in the region. Results of this conference and other similar activities will be available over the Internet. CAPWIP will create a special web page for the women parliamentarians where they can regularly communicate with each other - whether to share what they are doing or new ideas as well as to ask for and/or give suggestions.
CAPWIP will also be carrying out policy analysis studies on critical development issues and policy options that are anchored on the promotion of transformative leadership for good governance. In conjunction with this, CAPWIP is advocating for policy dialogues at the country level involving women legislators and the various stakeholders on identified priority policy areas affecting women. The results of these studies will be published as well as featured on the CAPWIP website.