Close to 150 persons will converge at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) this weekend for intensive discussions as part of the Partners Forum, a meeting of civil society players from throughout the Commonwealth.

The summit will be held on Friday, June 4, and Saturday, June 5, and has as its theme "Gender Issues in the Economic Crisis, Recovery and Beyond: Women as Agents of Transformation". It is a precursor to the 9th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (9th WAMM), which will also to be held here from June 7 to 9, and shares the same topic.

Some of the issues to be discussed include economic empowerment, the economic crisis in democracy, the intersection between gender and democracy, women’s participation as citizens in the affairs of their countries, and women’s leadership in their countries’ public policy-making process.

The participants will also look at HIV and AIDS, the reproductive rights of women, and the way forward. There will be a mid-term review of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender and Development (2005-2015).

At the end of the Partners Forum, a delegation will participate in the 9th WAMM and present a statement on what emerged during their meeting.

A Gender Resource Hub and an exhibition will be set up in the main foyer of the LESC during both meetings, to which the delegates and members of the public may visit. A Gender Hub is a documentation/resource facility which will display gender tools or materials, while the exhibition will showcase the contribution of women in the areas of sports, arts, business and science and technology.

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