The eyes of the world will be on Barbados over the next few days, when a number of Commonwealth ministers responsible for women’s affairs converge at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. They will examine the effects of the global economic crisis on this group and how new funding mechanisms can make women agents of financial recovery and growth.

Over 150 delegates from 30 countries are expected to attend the three-day 9th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting, which begins on Monday, June 7. Approximately 25 government ministers from several African countries, including Vanuatu, Bangladesh, and Kiribati, will be in attendance along with representatives from Guyana, St. Kitts, Dominica and Bahamas.

Senior officials will gather on Monday to discuss initiatives critical to the success of the meeting. At 6:00 p.m. that evening, there will be an official opening ceremony, to be addressed by Acting Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart; Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley; and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Kamalesh Sharma. Winners of the NIFCA Governor General’s Award (song), Rheesa Garnes, and Prime Minister’s Award (dance), Carolyn Clarke, will perform.

Gender Issues in Economic Crisis, Recovery and Beyond: Women as Agents of Transformation is the theme of the conference and several topics will be dealt with during the intensive discussions which will follow. The United Kingdom Ambassador for Philanthropy, Dame Stephanie Shirley, will set out the arguments for prioritising investment in girls and women, in the context of recovery and beyond, while author of the best-selling book Philanthrocapitalism, Michael Green, will make a presentation to the ministers on the possibilities of harnessing philanthropy capital for development and growth.

Some of the other sessions will be on Promoting Economic Recovery and the Attainment of MDGs: Women as Agents of Transformation, and Gender Responsive Investment: Women as Agents of Transformation. There will also be roundtable discussions on Gender Responsive Investment, Economic Crisis and Social Protection: Ensuring Gender-responsive and Sustainable Outcomes, and Peace, Security and Prosperity: Women’s Leadership Roles.??

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