In Memorium : Thanpuying Sumalee – Founding Member of Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW)


Asia Pacific Women Watch would like to express our deepest condolences at the passing of  Thanpuying Sumalee on 4th April, 2022. It is a great loss for Thai Women Watch and APWW.  The world has lost a leading light and great advocate for Gender Equality with her passing .  May her soul find peace as she journey’s forth.

Thanpuying Sumalee was one of those rare women who would bring out the best in others, was generous of time and spirit and worked to improve the world through collaboration and kindness.  She was one of the founding members of Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) and at a time when many women were working on national issues, had the foresight to recognise the important role regional organisations played in the battle for women’s rights.

Each of us have special memories of Thanpuying Sumalee an elegant, woman , a gracious host and a great leader of the Asian Women’s Movement.  May we hold these memories close as the days move forward.


CSW 66th Session – Commentary on Parallel Sessions and Agreed Conclusions

Dear CSW followers,

We made it.   Well done to everyone for surviving a second online / hybrid CSW.   For many this was a long haul of working through the day, following the negotiations at night and working with their governments to hold them accountable to push a progressive agenda. It’s been a joy working with you all and I hope you’re recovering rapidly from the sleep deprivation.

Parallel Sessions

The Beyond Beijing Committee (Nepal) and APWW successfully presented ‘Achieving Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls int he context of Climate change’ on Friday March 18th 2022.   Moderated by APWW SC Member Ms Shanta Laxmi Shrestha, speakers covered a range of topics from food security, sexual and reproductive rights and addressing the challenges of climate change (interpretation was available in Nepali)

APWW also successfully co-hosted the NGO CSW Asia Pacific Forum Day event held on Saturday 14th March, 2022.  This event featured a celebration of women activists from the Asia Pacific Regain along with an interactive panel on the impacts and solutions to some of the issues arising from climate change in this region . A link to the recording of this event can be found here.  

A commentary on the Agreed Conclusions

Negotiations for the Agreed Conclusions once more came down to the wire. It sounds like the most difficult negotiations revolved around the climate action paragraphs; negotiations on these paragraphs apparently occurred last, after delegates had already worked through the night, and so were apparently fairly short and to the point.  The full version of the  final Agreed Conclusions  can be found here.

Despite the facilitator’s preference for a brief document, the Agreed Conclusions are about the same length as usual, although there is slightly more content in the preambular paragraphs than in previous years.

Here are  some initial thoughts about the outcomes:

  • The language regarding climate change mitigation and response is weak. It certainly doesn’t go beyond COP26 and in some places doesn’t even reach that standard.
  • Language on the women, peace and security agenda made it in, but isn’t as strong as we would have liked. The connection between conflict, disaster response and gender was not clarified and the direct reference to Security Council resolution 1325 was deleted.
  • On the plus side, multiple references to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in the PPs. (See paras 6, 13, 27 in the PPs and 64(c) and (d) in the OPs.) were included.
  • Reference to sexual and reproductive health and rights is included in the PPs, a gain, because the PPs set out the acknowledged and accepted context for the subject area. The language in the OPs regarding access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights (para 62(ii)) has reverted to the CSW65 language, which is not as progressive as it could have been.
  • Unfortunately language about sexuality rights was not accepted.
  • The language on comprehensive sexuality education was watered down significantly, eventually reverting to CSW65 language. (para 62(ff))
  • There is a new paragraph specifically on the need to protect women journalists and media professionals from interference, violence and harassment. (Para 62(rr).) There are also several other references to journalists and media workers as important partners and stakeholders. . (Paras 35 and 62(oo).) This is all new and welcome language, and was useful to win here, as it will set a standard for discussing trolling and online harassment against women in public roles under next year’s theme.
  • There are good reference to oceans and water, which will be important in Small Island Developing States (SIDs countries).
  • There was push back on the  rights of women to own land , key advocacy pushed back on this and  the result is a reference to the right to ownership of and control over land and other natural resources in the PPs (para 57), and two reference to eliminate discrimination in relation to ownership of and control over land and other forms of property in the OPs (paras 62 (f) and (h)).
  • There has been a very obvious battle over including language about women human rights defenders – only two references have survived, down from six in rev.2. (paras 35 and 62(qq).) Language about women environmental defenders has been completely removed.
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was included in the PPs and there is also a solid reference to ‘respecting and protecting the traditional and ancestral knowledge, including of indigenous peoples’. (Para 32) and a good stand alone paragraph about Indigenous women in the OPs (para 62(dd) ), along with 10 or so references throughout the text.
  • The OP paragraph on women and girls with disability includes a reference to the need for disability-inclusive design (para 62(q) ) and there is a reference to integrating a disability-inclusive perspective in policy and laws (para 62(h) ).
  • There is strong language on women and girls in rural areas throughout the document.
  • We are apparently only allowed to have three references to multiple and intersecting discrimination in the ACs (paras 19, 25 and 62(dd) ). Down from 5 references in CSW63 and seven in rev.2. (yep – it gets this petty.)
  • There are strong paras on data and research (paras 56, 62 (ss) and (tt).)

It would be great to hear your thoughts / analysis as you develop your thoughts and workplans  with the Agreed Conclusions.


CSW 66th Session Update

As CSW starts here is a quick update to the process:

Negotiations are underway on the Agreed Conclusions (ACs) and Methods of Work.  We are now on the 3rd read through.

APWW supports the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC, in calling for attention to five key issues that can help advance a progressive agenda toward gender and environmental justice:

  • Recognise and redress loss and damage, centering the most marginalised peoples and communities in addressing climate impacts, particularly women and girls;
  • Commit to ending the sovereign debt crisis, to ensure fiscal space for climate action and gender equality;
  • Dismantle false solutions, particularly the emphasis on net zero and nature-based solutions in the climate and biodiversity arenas;
  • Advance a just and equitable energy transition, shifting from a fossil-fuel based economy to a low-carbon and renewable energy system that upholds women’s human rights and advances social and environmental justice; and
  • Fulfil historical obligations to provide gender-just climate finance that is predictable, adequate, transparent, accountable, accessible and in the form of grants rather than loan



A call for the Immediate Cessation of Hostilities in Ukraine and Respect of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws

Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) strongly condemns the military invasion of Ukraine and the recognition of the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states by the Russian Federation. We call on all parties to ensure respect for human rights, women’s rights, and international humanitarian law.

We stand in solidarity with the International NGO community   who are working to build peace in both Ukraine and Russia.

War is never gender-neutral. Women and girls in all their diversity are disproportionately affected by war, and it is no different in this conflict. It is vital to support humanitarian efforts led by Ukrainian women and ensure their participation in decision-making on peace and security in accordance with Ukraine’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

APWW urges the United Nations Security Council and the broader international community to take all necessary action to restore security in Ukraine, protect civilians and prioritise their needs, especially those of women peacebuilders, activists, and vulnerable populations.

APWW stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, especially women and youth peacebuilders, who are key actors in the survival and resilience of their families and communities during a crisis. We must continue to listen to and amplify the voices of the Ukrainian people. We reinforce their calls for:

  1. An immediate ceasefire, cessation of all hostilities, and adherence with international humanitarian law;
  2. Safe and accessible humanitarian corridors for evacuation and the delivery of aid that reaches all Ukrainian people in need, especially minority communities;
  3. Initiation of a peace process which ensures the meaningful participation of women, youth, and other historically marginalised communities at all stages of negotiations;
  4. Provision of rapid technical and financial support to Ukraine civil society organisations, including women’s rights organisations on the frontlines of the humanitarian crisis;
  5. Protection of women’s rights and human rights in Ukraine by Member States, multilateral institutions;
  6. An investigation of the crimes of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed within the territory of Ukraine by the International Criminal Court;
  7. Accountability for human rights violations through gender-responsive monitoring and accountability mechanisms led by international actors such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe; and
  8. Integration of key provisions of the Women, Peace, and Security resolutions into all programs and security initiatives in response to the conflict in Ukraine.

South Asia People’s Forum on SDGs 2020 22-23 November, 2020

The South Asia Peoples Forum on the SDGs 2020 (SAPF 2020) is the collective event of the NGOs, people organizations, civil society networks, social movements, civil society major groups and stakeholders and sustainable development advocates.

Main objectives of the forum are to:

(i) Assess the political, economic, social and environmental situation of the region in the context of COVID-19 pandemic,

ii) Identify civic actions and policy demands to protect and fulfill the rights of South Asian peoples and recommend for effective COVID 19 response and just recovery, and

iii) Develop strategies to intervene in 4th South Asia SDGs Forum.

Registration Open (Deadline: 21 November 2020) to register for your participation and contribution by deadline. Please open registration form.

The SAPF 2020 is  coordinated and facilitated by Asia Pacific Regional CSOs Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM) South Asia Working Group, National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal (NACASUD Nepal, Maldives Association of Persons with Disabilities (MAPD) Maldives, and Huvadhoo Aid Maldives.

More information can be found here


#OUTSUMMIT2020 A Virtual summit on LGBTIQ Global Issues

OutRight’s annual global convening for the human rights of LGBTIQ people, OutSummit, will be taking place virtually on December 9-11, 2020.  You can watch a short introduction here, and register for the summit here.

OutSummit is a space to share insights, challenges and best practices, and to strategize across civil society, state and private sector boundaries for the human rights of LGBTIQ people. Our keynote speakers this year will be Hamed Sinno, lead singer of the Lebanese-American indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila, and Filipino American supermodel and trans rights activist Geena Rocero.

More information can be found at the OutSummit Website click here


#16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence – 25th November – 10 December (annually)

Wednesday 25 November 2020 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the first day  of the 16 Days of Activism.

The 16 days begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends with International Human Rights Day on 10 December– highlighting that violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.

Where this all started…..  On 25 November 1960, sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, three political activists who actively opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, were clubbed to death and dumped at the bottom of a cliff by Trujillo’s secret police.

The Mirabal sisters became symbols of the feminist resistance, and in commemoration of their deaths 25 November was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Latin America in 1980. This international day was formally recognised by the United Nations in 1999.

In June 1991, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), alongside participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

During the 16 Days of Activism, people around the world will unite to raise awareness about gender-based violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and call for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.

UNGA 3rd Committee Resolution on women and girls’ rights, gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights

[Source International Planned Parenthood Federation]

3rd Committee Session UNGA

The United Nations General Assembly Third Committee is one of six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It deals with human rights, humanitarian affairs and social matters. The Third Committee meets every year in early October and aims to finish its work by the end of November.

The Third Committee is a critical intergovernmental space with the full membership of the United Nations (UN), which agrees on normative standards and frameworks on human rights, gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights. IPPF closely followed the negotiations on intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, child early and forced marriage (CEFM), women and girls and Covid-19, intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), efforts to end obstetric fistula and trafficking of women and girls.

Despite attempts to weaken and/or risk the longstanding agreements made in Cairo, Beijing and in the Agenda 2030, the vast majority of the UN membership supported the adoption of the texts as negotiated.

The Member States showed resounding commitment to upholding the principles of gender equality, preventing and combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), fulfilling women and girls’ rights, including SRHR, as demonstrated in the adoption of all gender-related resolutions and in the six separate cross-regional statements delivered on behalf of about 70 countries at the adoption sessions of the Committee.

Member States adopted  language that acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 on increased levels of violence, CEFM and ensured coordinated and strong responses in responding to the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of women and girls specifically during the pandemic. The resolution addressing the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls makes fundamental calls for Governments to ensure women and girls’ access to justice, SRHR and comprehensive sexuality education, while recognizing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as the most prevalent and least visible form of violence against women across all social strata across the world.

Gone too Soon – Vale Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua

Vale Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua          photo credit loop pacific

Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua, a distinguished Tongan scientist, passed away suddenly in Nuku’alofa, Tonga on 11 November.  She was a beloved and well respected leader in the community and Country, especially among the women of Kolomotu’a who have been energized by her vision and leadership.

Netatua is well known for her work regionally and internationally, but Dr. Netatua most valued her local contribution to Tonga, not only in her projects and consulting work with the World Bank, but also her engagement with the Government of Tonga.

Among her many achievements, last year she was selected to be one of an elite group of 15 international experts who make up the World Meteorological Organization Scientific Advisory Panel (WMOSAP).   Running as a political candidate she narrowly lost (by 16 votes) the  2019 Tongatapu 1 By-Election against Siaosi Pohiva. This was after the death of former Prime Minister, the late ‘Akilisi Pohiva, who died in September that year.

I met Netatua when she was Director of Climate Change Division at the Secretariat of Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP) with head office in Apia, Samoa. She was a vibrant,  inspiring and strong Pacific Voice, working her magic at international discussions regarding action against Climate Change to create opportunities for dialogue and action. She was a strong and inspirational leader, who truly understood the power of community connections and shared her passions and knowledge in such a way that everyone felt all the richer for being in her presence.

Our deepest condolences go to her husband, Dr Pita Taufatofua, her children Siosi’ana and Filimone, her family, friends and communities in Tonga and across the world.  Your legacy lives on in all those you inspired along the way.  Gone too soon.

Vale Dr Netatua Prescott Taufatofua

CEDAW Committee Updates (Nov 2020)


APWW wishes to congratulate the incoming and re-elected CEDAW Committee Members.  We acknowledge the outstanding support of candidates from the Asia Pacific Region,  Ms Bandana Rana (Nepal) and Ms Rosario G Manalo (Philippines) for their re-election to the  committee.  We   welcome incoming CEDAW members  Ms Natasha Stott-Despoja AO, (Australia)  and Ms Xia Jie (China).    APWW looks forward to working with you and other committee members as you progress through your office.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.

Bandana Rana
Rosario G Manalo
Natasha Stott Despoja AO
Xia Jie






The CEDAW Committee Elections took place on the 9 Nov 2020. The following 11 candidates out of 18 nominees were elected / re-elected:

Nicole Ameline,(France), Marion Bethel (Bahamas), Leticia Bonifaz Alfonzo (Mexico), Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen (Netherlands), Hilary Gbedmemah (Ghana), Nahla Haida El Addal (Lebanon), Dalia Leinarte (Lithuania), Rosario G Manalo (Philippine), Bandana Rana (Nepal), Natasha Stott-Despojer (Australia), Jie Xia (China)

The new members of the Committee are

Leticia Bonifaz Alfonzo (Mexico),  Natasha Stott -Despojer (Australia),  Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen (Netherlands) and Jie Xia (China).



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