Brussels, March 9 2016: International Woman’s Day 2016 was commemorated at the ACP House on 8 March with an explosion of colour, culture and candid discussions about gender parity issues in the context of Sustainable Development Goal #5.
Under the theme “Women moving forward”, speeches, artistic performances, and cultural presentations amplified the key message about the resilience of women around the world, in the face of adversity. The combination of dance, music and traditional foods showcased the remarkable diversity of culture in African, the Caribbean and Pacific.
Following a warm welcome by Assistant Secretary General in charge of Political Affairs and Human Development Amb. Léonard Ognimba, participants heard engaging presentations, including one by keynote speaker Prof. Patricia Sellers, an international criminal lawyer, who spoke about the realities of violence against women in armed conflict, including sexual slavery.
Ambassador Dr. Len Ishmael of the Eastern Caribbean States, Ambassador Vilma McNish of Jamaica, and by Ms. Katalaina Sapolu, Director of the Rule of Law Programme at the Commonwealth Secretariat, shared personal insights on women in leadership and politics, based in their own experiences as women in leadership positions.
In her presentation, UN Women-EU director Dagmar Schumacher pushed for “Planet-50-50 by 2030”, urging governments to “step it up” towards global gender parity by 2030.
President of the ACP Ambassadors’ Spouses Association, Mme. Lilian Leuelu of Tuvalu reported on the charitable initiatives achieved by the association for the benefit of communities in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Cultural and musical performances by artists from Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific were rounded off by a fashion show finale, displaying clothing designs from the African continent and the Pacific Islands.