The ASR Resource Centre had organized a two day post-Beijing (4th UN World Conference on Women) National Conference in Lahore (13 – 14 November, 1995). ASR had been involved in a two year programmatic process in connection with the World Conference on women and had found tremendous response from people all over the country towards international conferences and agreements of which Pakistanis had been a part of over the past few years. ASR was particularly interested in sharing the significance, debates, positive and detrimental aspects of international action plans and agreements. Those of us at ASR felt it was unfortunate that often our own struggles and directions tended to get fragmented by the UN initiatives and agendas. We believed all of us should been critically assessing these conferences, documents, action plans in a more holistic way and sharing the connections and links through our perceptions and involvements.
The conference centered around two days of brief presentations and workshops to discuss and highlight the significance and implications of various UN and other international conferences held in Rio, Vienna, Cairo, Copenhagen, Marrakesh and Beijing. We had invited resource persons from IUCN, SDPI, HRCP, Shirkat Gah, SUNGI, PILER, Aurat Foundation, Christian Study Centre and Ministry of Women’s Development as well as other individuals and organisations to share the decisions, debates, politics, implications of the agreements/documents emerging from each conference. On the first day brief presentations were made in plenary, while the second day of the conference was devoted to thematic workshops where groups reflected and strategized on the relevant issues in the light of the presentations made on the first day. It was hoped that this space would encourage opinions, strategies and methods as well as critical assessments of applying/adapting these global agreements where they may be applicable or indeed challenging them when they go against the people of Pakistan.