Women actors in solidarity in a digital world
Director of Research at the Destrée Institute
and Head of Millennia 2015
Address to the Permanent Mission of the
International Organisation of Francophonie to the United Nations
New York, 3rd March 2010
Reprinted with Permission
It is an honor for me to address the experts of the International Organisation of Francophonie NGOs. To have this opportunity at the occasion of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women “Beijing + 15” (CSW54) at the United Nations in New York is really important. Let me thank Pietro Sicuro – Director of the Institute of the Digital Francophonie, Director of Administration and Finances of the International Organisation of Francophonie – for the creative impulse he has constantly added to Millennia 2015's process since 2007 and for the trust he attaches to the initiative.
During her opening speech to the 54th CSW in plenary session at the United Nations, Madam Asha-Rose Mtengeti Mijiro, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, reminded that “Defending women’s rights is defending the global good”. The mobilization of associations from around the world for the cause of women is impressive, as well among the civil society organizations as within the United Nations. All these women and all these men promote their work, debrief about issues and suggest solutions-actions linked with the Millennium Development Goals.
An international network of Women actors of development for the global challenges
Among all those ones, the Francophonie has decided to support Millennia 2015: I want to convince you that it is a wise choice and to invite you to share it by joining the initiative in a partnership that will lead the “Women, actors of development for the global challenges” to work about it all together until 2015 in order to build a sustainable 2025 horizon in solidarity for all women in the entire world. Supported by Millennia public and private research centers, Millennia 2015 has taken into account the existence of various processes that have the same objectives of development and empowerment of women at all levels, that encourage human rights and cultural diversity's respect in all countries and societies over the world.
In that context, we particularly address "Women actors in solidarity of the digital world" because the information society is the privileged context of Millennia 2015's work. All the stakeholders are concerned and we call for contributions at all levels: countries, regions and continents. We work in long-run partnership with networks such as the Millennium Project (in which I am a board member of the Brussels Area Node) or the Women United Nations Report Network (WURN) whose chairwoman Lois A. Herman – which is also a delegate of the Committee on World Food Security of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States – honours us with her presence, or the Council of French-speaking Women of Belgium which has entrusted me with its mandate for the UN CSW54 in New-York. We also call for international and regional organizations such as the International Organisation of Francophonie – and we thank His Excellency the ambassador Camara, OIF permanent Observer to the United Nations, who honor us with his presence – or the European Commission, represented by Mrs. Viviane Reding, Vice-president and Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner, that we greeted during the opening plenary session on Monday. Led by a Steering Committee representing all the continents, the Millennia 2015 community counts more than 600 people from all countries. A recent contribution has generated the translation of a document in 21 languages. This collaborative work will be requested throughout our process.
a foresight research process at the horizon 2025
But what is Millennia 2015? It is a foresight research process structured through three international conferences: Liège in 2008, Paris in 2011 under the auspices of the UNESCO and New York at the United Nations in 2015. The originality of Millennia 2015 is to work with foresight as a method that I worked out with Philippe Destatte, General Director of the Destree Institute, Chairman of the European Regional Foresight College and in charge of that course at Paris 7 Denis Diderot and Reims Champagne-Ardenne universities in France. The document is available on the portal in French and in English. The methodology had been completed and validated by Millennia 2015 Steering Committee, with the permanent advice of Eleonora Barbieri Masini, emeritus professor at the Social Science Faculty of the Gregorian University of Roma and honorary member of the Club of Rome.
The Millennia 2015 process will take care to target its research on knowledge, that involves learning as well as transmission, notably possible thanks to the long-life learning spread through the internet. An interactive knowledge database is being developed on Millennia portal, on the basis of the topics defined during the 2008 session dedicated to "Information Transfer".
Four common tasks to define the long-term challenges
Four tasks had been validated as lines of conduct for Millennia 2015 process:
- T1. Identify the nature of the current and future changes;
We intend to mobilise the "Women actors in solidarity in a digital world" as well as all men, because the motivation of this societal evolution must be shared in complementary. We call upon your contribution in order to increase the awareness all the stakeholders. Seminars should be organized in every participating region. The results will be structured and discussed in order to prepare the second international conference which will take place in Paris, under the auspices of the UNESCO in 2011.
- T2. Promote a culture of respect of diversity and peace;
- T3. Recognize and make recognize the capacity of women to becoming actors and not victims of the social change, while developing a new worldview that can create a more sustainable life for all humankind;
- T4. Build women’s networks of competence.
Based on the online 2008 contributions, the current step of the foresight process led us to identify the variables to take into account to address, with a systemic and foresight approach, the issue of women in the knowledge society by 2025. These variables are, for example: the importance of women in running the economic life; their participation in the political life; their role of educators and mediators within the family and in the societal context; the violence against women; the scientific training of women; the access of women to healthcare; their access to information & communication technologies (ICT) as well as to computer and communication sciences & technologies (CCST); women as peace ambassadors and generators of survival in wartime.
Millennia 2015, Women actors in solidarity in a digital world
Our motivation is to take into account all women’s opinions and especially testimonies of those who live in poverty, in situations of war or conflicts, of freedom or fundamental rights deprivation, of natural disasters and of non-access to education. The solidarity of Millennia 2015 community will sublimate those difficulties in order to collect their contribution to the Millennia research process. Women and men who benefit from the internet as a tool will collect their more destitute sisters’ contributions with a paper and a pencil. They will do it in each woman’s mother tongue. We saw that the Millennia 2015 community is capable of mobilization to translate a text in about thirty languages. We are convinced that the challenge will be taken up to stimulate this collaborative process on a larger scale.
We invite you to join a vast operation of international digital solidarity with Millennia 2015 foresight research process. The complex results will be analysed through professional scientific methods and presented at the Paris international conference in 2011. The setting out of the long-term issues aims at identifying, thanks to exploratory scenarios, the future issues that will impact women’s life in the knowledge society and that will constitute as much opportunities or risks for their condition, their lifestyle, their empowerment in society and their responsibility confronted with their evolution at a global level.
Equality between women and men, essential for democracy, innovation and sustainable development
The research on the corpus so built up will help to create a methodological base and a common reference system, from which Millennia 2015 Steering Committee and Community will elaborate the scenarios leading to more equality and solidarity, in respect of cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as with the concern of innovation oriented sustainable development.
Concretely, a list of 50 variables will be proposed. The participants' mission will be to argue on the variables they considered as relevant in relation with their life context (analysis, indicators and bibliography). Then they will be asked to identify, among the proposed variables, those which are the most decisive for women future in their region. A Women Watch System will fuel this work on Millennia 2015 interactive portal and knowledge database. The data analysis will help identifying challenges by region or by country as well as contributing to build Women state of the future index (SOFI) in partnership with the Millennium Project.
On this 1st March 2010, addressing the UN CSW54 ECOSOC session, Mrs Gülser Corat, director of the UNESCO's Division for Gender Equality, insisted on the fact that building peace and development can not be conceived if gender equality is not achieved. She insisted on the fact that it is a fundamental priority that the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova decided to implement to the UNESCO five fields of utmost importance. Beijing + 15 is a progress for women but the new vision of the global issue must give empowerment to all women: this progress will only be reached with the mobilisation of the international community, in order to consider the global economic, moral, financial, food and environmental crisis whose first victims are women and girls.
The Francophone Declaration on Violence against Women adopted by the Francophone High-Level Consultation on this 1st of March 2010 during the CSW54 session in New York states that "the equal participation of women and men in all areas of economic, political and public life constitutes an essential element of democracy and sustainable development". It is essential “to provide women with means of action and empowerment, including with capacity building" notably thanks to the digital environment.
A call for participation: foresight to empower women
With Millennia 2015 foresight research process, supported by the International Organization of Francophonie since 2008, we suggest to reach these objectives in collaboration with all the NGOs in order to participate to the foresight exercise: its results will be discussed in Paris under the UNESCO auspices in 2011 and the action plan will be introduced to the United Nations in 2015
We invite all the stakeholders in every countries and regions to register online on Millennia 2015's portal about "Women actors of development for the global challenges": our goal is to empower women, we hope you will contribute.
Millennia 2015 Community Registration