Minister of??Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley (right), in conversation with Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Ransford Smith, during a courtesy??call last Tuesday, at the West Wing of Parliament.??(A. Miller/BGIS)

Barbados is "on track" to host a successful 9th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting.

This assurance has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, as he spoke to Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Ransford Smith, during a courtesy call last Tuesday, at the West Wing of Parliament.

"Everything is at an advanced stage … we are moving speedily and we are on track with our planning," Mr. Lashley declared.

The meeting will be held from June 7 to 9 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre under the theme, "Gender Issues in Economic Crisis, Recovery and Beyond: Women as Agents of Transformation".

Minister Lashley noted that the topic for the conference was very important, explaining that it had been chosen because some countries were battling issues as a result of the economic recession. He proffered the view that the upcoming dialogue would allow for advocacy and concrete approaches to women’s issues, as well as position countries to create a cadre of entrepreneurs.

Mr. Smith agreed that the agenda would respond to the needs of the Commonwealth countries, especially since some small states continued to face adverse economic conditions. "The discussions will pave the way for concrete action," he reassured.

He pointed out that during the meeting, there would be a mid-term review of the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender Equality (2005 -2015) and the ministers would have discussions with finance officials, who are responsible for national finances and budgeting.

WAMM meetings have been held triennially since 1985 and they provide opportunities for ministers, senior officials, civil society organisations and partner agencies to discuss critical issues in advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality.

These conferences are said to be one of the largest held by the Commonwealth.

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