V. Matvienko Conducts Meeting of the Organizing Committee for the EAWF

V. Matvienko Conducts Meeting of the Organizing Committee for the EAWF

The meeting looked at the issues related to preparing and hosting the Forum, which will be held on 19–21 September in St. Petersburg. 

Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko conducted a meeting of the Organizing Committee for the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum.

The wrap-up meeting included a discussion of issues related to preparing for and running the Forum, which will be held on 20–21 September in St. Petersburg.

Valentina Matvienko emphasized the fact that Forum preparations had entered their final stage. A great amount of organizational, technical, and analytical work has been completed. “It is already clear that this second Forum will be larger in scale than the first one. This pertains, first and foremost, to the geographical spread of the participants; while we welcomed guests from 80 countries around the world in 2015, we are expecting delegations from almost 120 countries this year.”

The head of the Federation Council noted that the event’s participants included well-known and well-respected female politicians, leaders of the international women’s movement, and preeminent representatives of public organizations, the scientific community, and the business community. Confirmed participants include nine speakers and ten deputy speakers of national parliaments, the vice presidents of Bulgaria and Zambia, the first ladies of four countries, and the leaders of a number of international organizations.

Valentina Matvienko made particular note of the unprecedentedly wide representation that international organizations had in the Forum’s work. The Speaker said that this could be considered one of the Forum’s most outstanding changes. The UN, WHO, ILO, UNIDO, UNICEF, and World Bank are among the 27 international organizations that will be represented at the Forum events. “There is already a serious interest within influential international structures in the Forum’s future results. As such, the Secretariat of the Council of Europe proposed that a Russian representative give a report on the outcome of the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg this November”, said the Speaker of Federation Council.

According to the Speaker, it is vital to once more evaluate their preparedness in all matters, beginning with the condition of the spaces where the Forum’s main events will be held. The primary space is the Tavricheskiy Palace. Other spaces include the “Universe of Water” Museum Complex, the Manege Central Exhibition Hall, Hare Island, and Peter and Paul Fortress. Valentina Matvienko stressed the fact that clear transportation, accommodation, and security logistics need to be established.

While discussing the Forum’s programme, Valentina Matvienko stated that the starting day of the Forum, 19 September, would essentially be dedicated entirely to Russia. In addition to discussions on relevant topics, the day is scheduled to include the opening of an exhibition, master classes, and the presentation of the “Success Story” project. An enlarged meeting of the Women’s Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Women’s Council of the Ministry of Industry and Trade will be held, and a summary of the “Ecolyata: Young Defenders of Nature” campaign will be conducted. There are even plans for a cooking show to be put on by food manufacturers.

The main day in terms of number of events will be 20 September, the first official day of the Forum. A plenary session on the topic of “Women for Global Security and Sustainable Development” will be held in the Tavricheskiy Palace’s Duma Hall. During the second half of the day, this session will transition into the interparliamentary dialogue “Women for the Sustainable Development of the Global World”. The Women 20 session and UNIDO special session are also scheduled for this day.

Valentina Matvienko emphasized the importance of the Forum’s cultural events. In addition to a gala concert, a highlights tour of Peterhof has been planned. The possibility of a free visit to the Hermitage and other museums around St. Petersburg has also been provided for.

According to the Speaker, the primary result of the Forum’s work should be an outcome document. “This text should be sent to the heads of countries, governments, and parliaments, and leaders of non-governmental organizations. I hope that its draft is already finished, but it is of utmost importance that we have the opportunity to finalize it with the Forum’s discussions and decisions in mind.”

Valentina Matvienko considers information support to be an important component of the Forum. The Speaker noted that it is crucial to illuminate the Forum’s work not only in the traditional media, but in modern communicative media as well, such as social networking sites and the blogosphere.

Galina Karelova, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council and Head of the Working Group, presented the programme for the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum to the members of the Organizing Committee.

The Deputy Speaker stated that the Forum’s programme was structured across three days: the starting day, which will have a separate programme, and the two main days. Approximately 2,000 people will work at the Forum, representing 116 countries across five continents.

The Forum will officially open on 20 September in Tavricheskiy Palace with the plenary session chaired by Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko. After the official opening, the discussion will be presented in the format of an interparliamentary dialogue. This day will also see four main strategic sessions and the start of over 30 discussion platforms with programmes covering a wide array of political, humanitarian, and economic topics.

One of the first day’s central events will be the St. Petersburg Meeting, an open session of the Women 20 (W20), which will be held in Russia for the first time. Galina Karelova emphasized the fact that Susana Balbo, W20 Chair within Argentina’s G20 presidency, will participate in this session, as will W20 Founding President Gülden Türktan. According to Galina Karelova, the meeting’s key speakers will include the W20 representatives from Germany’s 2017 G20 presidency and Japan’s 2019 presidency. The platform will be moderated by Svetlana Lukash, the representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the G20.

Included among the interesting events of the first day’s programme is a session of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), during which it is expected that the first Russian UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador will be appointed. “With this step, we will start a new chapter in our relations with this influential organization and in the process of strengthening the role that Russian women play in the international arena,” says the Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council.

She noted that there are plans to sign several other cooperation agreements during this Forum. These agreements are aimed at developing the international women’s agenda and expanding women’s economic opportunities.

According to the Deputy Speaker, the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum’s programme is distinct in its new and varied format. The first session of the Female Governors International Debate Club will be held. Female governors from Andorra, Norway, Serbia, the Philippines, Estonia, Japan, and other countries will participate. The Club’s session is due to conclude with the signing of a declaration founding the European Women’s Association. Among the Forum’s other events, Galina Karelova also singled out the Female Diplomats Summit, the presentation of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, and bilateral international business dialogues.

Galina Karelova stated that there are also plans to select projects to receive an MBA certificate from the RSPP Business School and to participate in the Social Projects Support Fund’s Acceleration Programme.

The grand opening of the exhibition “Made in Russia: Women Rein the Export” will be held on that day as well. Examples of export products made by female entrepreneurs from various regions of the Russian Federation will be presented at the exhibition.

A mental arithmetic championship and forum for girls called “New Records and Young Geniuses” will be held on the opening day. Over 100 girls from Russia, Europe, and CIS countries will take part in the event.

Participants of the Organizing Committee’s session on preparing and hosting the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum included Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council Ilyas Umakhanov, Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Lyudmila Bokova, and representatives of ministries, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.