Senator Loren Legarda Represents The Philippines in WAW! Tokyo 2014

TOKYO – Senator Loren Legarda represented the Philippines in the World Assembly for Women (WAW! Tokyo 2014) held here on September 12-13, 2014. The event was jointly hosted by four organizations – the Government of Japan, KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), Nikkei Inc., and the Japan Institute of International Affairs, and supported by the Japan Center for Economic Research. The estimated 1,100 participants included political, business and opinion leaders from countries across the world.

Senator Loren Legarda (R) joins other eminent women leaders in a private meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L). Also in photo are PM Abe’s Executive Secretary Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki, Foreign Ministry Director General Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Past President of India’s FICCI Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, and Thailand’s Ms. Wasna R.Lathouras of Narai Intertrade.

The Assembly opened on September 12 with statements from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, International Monetary Fund Chair Christine Lagarde and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a dialogue with the First Lady of Japan, Akie Abe, and former First Lady of the UK, Cherie Blair.

In a meeting of distinguished women leaders in Asia with Prime Minister Abe following the opening program, Senator Legarda, the only Philippine participant in the high level symposium, stressed the need to address the vulnerability of women to disasters. She highlighted the opportunities for the Philippines to enhance partnership with Japan in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management, and recognized the important role of women as Japan continually provides a venue for important global DRR initiatives, particularly through the hosting of the First UN World Conference on DRR in Kobe in 2005 that brought about the Hyogo Framework for Action, and the Third UN World Conference on DRR set next year in Sendai, Japan.

Senator Loren Legarda at the Group Discussion on the topic “A Society where Self-Determination of Women is Assured”. Senator Legarda delivered the opening statement for the segment, which was attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.

At the high-level meeting on September 13, the Senator delivered the opening statement for a group discussion on “A Society where Self-Determination of Women is Assured.” She stressed the importance of countries making gender-sensitive and risk-sensitive policies, plans and programs to empower women as part of the overall development strategy.

She recommended concrete examples by introducing Philippine laws on women as model legislation that could be adopted by other countries to operationalize gender mainstreaming and empowerment, particularly the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act; Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act; Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act; Magna Carta on Women; and Executive Order 273, which mandates government agencies to incorporate and reflect Gender and Development (GAD) concerns in planning and budgeting.

Senator Legarda said that women can be frontliners in climate and disaster resilience efforts, stressing that to empower women is to reduce their vulnerability to disasters. Her call was echoed by Naoko Ishii, Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), who also expressed support to the Philippines’ efforts in the management and conservation of its 100 protected areas; and by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, who said that more women should lead in disaster risk management, prevention, relief and rehabilitation programs.

Senator Loren Legarda at the Group Discussion on the topic “A Society where Self-Determination of Women is Assured”. The discussion was led by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, accompanied by Mme. Akie Abe and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato.

The event succeeded in making recommendations on key issues in promoting women’s active roles in the economy, and the common issues relating to women throughout the world. Prime Minister Abe urged participants to work on these commitments in their respective countries and invited them to the WAW! Tokyo 2015 to sustain the momentum and progress in women empowerment and gender equality initiatives. (END)