Regional Conference on Asian Women for a
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Asian Women’s Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace

and Sustainable Development

We, Asian women, gathered in Hanoi, Viet Nam, demonstrate and reaffirm our commitment to a Culture of Peace and Non-violence and adopt the following Plan of Action as a regional framework for the promotion of women’s role and potential in peace-building, non-violence and sustainable development in Asia.

Education, Training, Socialization and Research: Learning the tools for living together peacefully and with respect for differences:

Constraints:

  • The absence of women at all levels of decision making.
  • Imbalanced resource allocation to military expenditure rather than to peace building and education.
  • Globalization bringing about changes in economic conditions, increased competition and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.
  • Education that promotes exclusion and superiority rather than inclusion and equality.

Opportunities:

  • The values of a culture of peace as outlined in the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.
  • UNESCO's Culture of Peace networks and websites.

Actions:

  • Involve educational policy makers, administrators, and professionals in developing: curricula, teaching methods, material, textbooks and teacher education programmes that foster gender-sensitivity and support the learning of non-violent conflict- resolution at all levels.
  • Actively involve children and young people to prevent bullying, to learn the skills of non-violent conflict resolution and to act as mediators to resolve disputes.
  • Encourage consumer boycotts of violent toys, comics and games and encourage the design of toys promoting creativity and the values of a culture of peace.
  • Encourage the enactment of legislation to outlaw violence in schools and homes.
  • Introduce training in gender sensitivity and peaceful conflict resolution for men and women across society, especially parents, educators, health workers, police, military personnel and employers.
  • Provide women with opportunities and training for leadership.
  • Support women’s networks to help prevent violence, show solidarity with the victims of abuse and to communicate across borders in conflict situations.
  • Research violence prevention, gender relations, and peace promotion to promote awareness of problems and new solutions.
  • Request UNESCO and other UN agencies to promote and widely distribute proactive peace research.

Women in Mass Media and Communication in Asia: Against violence and for peace building:

Constraints:

  • Women lack access to and control over mass media and information technologies despite communication advancements.
  • Gender insensitive and biased media capitalize on sensationalist and violent images and reportage.
  • There is a gender imbalance in mainstream media institutions and information technology corporations. Women's presence in these institutions is still limited.
  • The increased commercialization of media technologies and systems preserves the interests of certain sectors and reinforces socially constructed gender roles, inequality, intolerance of diversity, and social injustice.
  • The control of media by some vested interests results in biased reporting of violence, and armed conflicts as well as gender stereotyping, feeding into a culture of violence and conflict.

Opportunities:

  • Various forms of audio-visual media are effective in educational and consciousness-raising efforts amongst illiterate people.
  • Various forms of media can be successfully utilized for advocacy and to raise silenced and/or taboo issues in relation to gender discrimination, violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and health and sexuality issues.
  • Closer alliances between women media practitioners and women activists have strengthened the lobby for gender equality within media institutions.
  • New information technologies provide new opportunities for women in networking and knowledge-sharing.

Actions:

  • Governments, UN agencies such as UNESCO, NGOs and other actors further encourage and support the entry of women into the fields of media, journalism and new information technologies by providing scholarships and training opportunities.
  • National Commissions for UNESCO and non-governmental actors work towards strengthening networks of women in the media in all parts of the region.
  • National governments and UNESCO promote the introduction of gender analyses and human rights training as part of the core curriculum of media studies in universities and other educational institutions.
  • National governments and UNESCO cooperate in developing curricula and programmes for primary and secondary schools, and in providing training for educators that focuses on the culture of peace and on critical analyses of the media (i.e. media literacy).
  • UNESCO develops a forum for media owners in the Asian region to engage them in active dialogue to promote respect for cultural diversity in the media.
  • Media institutions, national and regional associations of journalists and editors promote gender-sensitive, non-violent codes of ethics within their media institutions through the setting up of self-regulatory, national-level councils.
  • Women’s NGO networks promote the active participation of women and all civil-society actors in the development of policies for new information and communication systems such as the Internet.
  • Women media practitioners and women activists utilize the media to monitor the commitments to the implementation of all recommendations made in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Global Review Meeting of the Fourth World Conference on Women (New York, 2000).
  • UNESCO supports programmes and initiatives in radio and television to raise consciousness of gender inequality and oppose violence.
  • UNESCO organizes international photography competitions for women photographers on different topics every year, focusing on the changing roles of women and men.
  • UNESCO develops or enhances currently available websites to promote the documentation, archiving and greater accessibility of writings, strategies, graphics and photographs that promote a culture of peace.

Strategies, Initiatives and Partners: Economic opportunities for women:

Constraints:

  • Unequal division of labour in the home.
  • Gender stereotyping that limits women's educational opportunities and continues segregation in the labour market.
  • Women’s limited access to resources of production; increased women's marginalization and vulnerability.
  • Long-term implications of national debt, impact of international financial integration, trade liberalization, rapid capital flows, negative impact of some donor-and-lender projects on women.
  • Prolonged economic sanctions and embargoes imposed on particular states.

Opportunities:

  • Women’s traditions of conflict resolution through dialogue and communication.
  • Micro-credit schemes that encourage the formation of women’s enterprises and social capital.
  • Strong women’s organizations and women’s peace movement.
  • Policy instruments promoting gender equality, international conventions (CEDAW and it’s Optional Protocol) and national plans of action.

Actions:

  • Educate policy makers about the gender impact of globalization, initiate gender sensitive data collections, institute gender sensitive budgeting and policy-making, and include women in international negotiations with regard to economic and trade issues.
  • Eliminate constraints to women’s economic rights, strengthen and protect women’s rights to land and mobility, and provide government support for women’s unpaid work such as care giving.
  • Strengthen women’s capacity by increasing literacy, including in legal and economic issues and communication and information technologies.
  • Affirm and promote women’s indigenous, diversified, ecologically sound and sustainable local economies.
  • Promote women’s banks, micro-credit and equal access to capital.
  • Ensure that women continue to retain control over their financial activities and initiatives when they succeed and expand.
  • Launch Asian women’s regional and sub-regional alternative markets.
  • Work to eliminate violation of rights, including trafficking in women and children, drug trafficking and arms trading.
  • Advocate the transformation and reprioritizing of international aid, introduce transparent language (e.g. "donor" vs. "lender"); ensure that grant and loan funds be spent in the recipient countries.
  • Introduce safety nets and laws that protect women in the informal sector.

A Gender Perspective: Peace building and political decision-making:

Constraints:

  • Wars and conflicts continue throughout Asia; more civilians are affected and loose their lives.
  • Women’s multiple roles in conflicts remain unacknowledged.
  • Militarism, the arms race and traditional methods of security continue to privilege the use of force for maintaining security and dealing with conflicts.
  • Issues of human concerns like social justice, economic concerns, gender and human security are not adequately considered in conflict resolution.
  • The presence of foreign military bases and the testing of weapons in the Asian region.

Opportunities:

  • Issues of human security and gender empowerment have been highlighted on the agenda of international bodies and governments.
  • Women the world over are involved in and contribute to peace initiatives at local, national and international levels.

Actions:

  • Develop Gendered Human Security Indicators (GHSI) for the Asian region to promote the concept of human security and demonstrate the gender differential impact on human security. These indicators will describe the inter-dependence of human security and national/state security and propose ways of resisting ideas of war. They will also indicate the number of women in politics and decision-making, and examine their influence on peace.
  • Recommend that UNESCO, as the lead agency identified by the UN for the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World, engage institutions to study different approaches to conflict resolution as a step in the preparation of these Indicators.
  • Promote the culture of peace and gender justice through publications, community radio projects, websites as well as in science and technology.
  • UNESCO, ESCAP and other organizations support networks and institutions in the Asia region, to train women and men leaders and decision makers in gender sensitivity, good governance and decision-making.
  • Establish partnerships and dialogue with business leaders, industry, trade unions and consumer rights advocates in promoting peace.
  • Promote a culture of peace by preparing programs to encourage states to decrease the defense budgets and transfer this peace dividend to social, cultural and educational sectors.
  • Establish an organization or network of Asian women for a Culture of Peace.

In adopting the Program of Action broadly outlined above, we, the Asian women gathered in Hanoi, strongly pledge to cooperate with one another and with all agencies concerned in the implementation of the Plan of Action, and to this end a follow-up mechanism will be established with the support of UNESCO, ESCAP and other international and donor agencies to coordinate the culture of peace movement in Asia for sustainable development.

Hanoi, Viet Nam
9 December 2000

 
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