ACWW's policies come from our Member Societies. At each Triennial World Conference, Member Societies propose resolutions which, if adopted by popular vote, become policy for action by all ACWW Member Societies. We also regularly issue statements on important global issues and International Days
STATEMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
CURRENT TRIENNIUM RESOLUTIONS
ACWW's 28th Triennial Conference was held at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, 17-23 August 2016. More than 600 delegates attended, representing 42 countries. On this page you can download helpful presentations from our Guest Speakers, and read following Resolutions & Recommendations were adopted:
RESOLUTIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
It is the belief of ACWW that all people have the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sound, safe and sustainable methods.
Food security, as defined by the World Food Summit in 1996, will exist when “all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”1.
ACWW’s members urge national agricultural programmes to adopt the principals of Food Sovereignty, and ensure that there is equity and full access to resources for rural women and communities. This would reduce rural poverty, environmental degradation and assist with achieving food security. There is also a need for local producers to have access to local markets, thus supporting their continued existence and contribution to local
Since the year 2000, global hunger has declined from 15% to 11%, but this leaves more than 790 million people who lack regular access to adequate food and dietary energy.
Global food companies report higher profits than ever in developing world 3
Food Sovereignty is directly related to SDG2 and the Zero Hunger Challenge.2. ACWW Member Societies are calling on their local and national governments for action on this issue, highlighting their own local communities, food producers and consumers.
Worldwide, obesity is becoming a serious health problem. On advice from the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) in 2014, the European Union (EU) has ruled that food and drink manufacturers can claim their sweetened products are healthier if they replace more than 30% of the glucose and sucrose they contain with fructose.
Fructose has a lower glycaemic index (GI), meaning it causes a less rapid and extreme blood sugar spike as sucrose or glucose. However, it is metabolised differently, and excess is stored in the liver as fat, which may cause life-threatening diseases. While refined fructose creates a lower glycaemic response in the short term, compared to other sugar, in the long term is causes greater metabolic havoc than sugar, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in scientific studies.
According to the Department of Physiology, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, there is significant need for further human studies on the impact of fructose:
“Consuming large amounts of fructose can lead to the development of a complete metabolic syndrome in rodents. In humans, fructose consumed in moderate to high quantities in the diet increases plasma triglycerides and alters hepatic glucose homeostasis, but does not appear to cause muscle insulin resistance or high blood pressure in the short term. Further human studies are required to delineate the effects of fructose in humans.” 4
ACWW members call on governments to ban food and drink makers from claiming their sweetened products are healthier if they use fructose until proven this is true
Shale gas is natural gas that is found beneath the ground, trapped within shale formations. It is increasingly used in parts of the world such as the United States of America, and there exists significant international controversy over methods of extraction including hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’.
Fracking involves drilling down into the earth, before a high-pressure water and chemical mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. The process can be executed vertically or, more frequently, by drilling horizontally into the rock layer, creating new pathways for the gas.
The controversy exists because there has been very limited research into the mid- to long-term geological and environmental impacts of fracking, particuarly as it relates to earthquakes. It also uses huge amounts of water, which must be transported to the sites, both of which have environmental impacts of their own.
ACWW urges member societies to request their governments gather sufficient data on the impact of fracking before allowing shale gas exploration to commence. This research is important as those companies who apply for fracking licences are able to exert significant pressure through lobbying, based on profit projections rather than social or environmental impact.
An energy source that requires water in vast quantities and which may detrimental affects on the environment around it, and those communities who live nearby, is not sustainable and should not be the focus of national energy policies.
SDG 7 builds towards affordable and clean energy7, whilst SDG 9 calls on for the building of resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation8. SDG 12 ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns, also very relevant in this case9.
As 2014 opened the United Nations decade of Sustainable Energy for All, ACWW urges the promotion of community energy projects, and universal access to sustainable energy.
The grave impact of lack of clean energy on health, particularly for women and children, is not widely recognised. The first two years of the SE4All initiative are dedicated to the complex ties between energy, women, children and health. More than one billion people in the world still have no access to electricity; millions more rely on unsustainable and polluting fuels for cooking.
In the developed world the problem is not generally one of access, but of inefficiency and pollution. ‘Affordable, Clean Energy’ – the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goal 7 – sets national targets for energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency; locally generated energy is cleaner, more efficient and more secure. The goal of the resolution ‘Secure Sustainable Energy’ is ‘working together for a better future’.
Energy is crucial for achieving almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals, from its role in the eradication of poverty through to health, education, industrialization, water and combating climate change.6
The proportion of the global population with access to electricity has increased steadily, from 79% in 2000 to 85% in 2012. Still, 1.1 billion people are without this valuable service. Recent global progress in this area has been driven largely by Asia, where access is expanding at more than twice the pace of demographic growth. Of those gaining access
to electricity worldwide since 2010, 80% are urban dwellers, leaving a severe deficit for rural communities and women in particular.
ACWW’s Project 987 provided training and support for the production of compressed recycled materials used to create smokeless charcoal briquettes for cooking. This is just one element of community education use, and a sample of the kind of project that allows rural societies to be empowered through sustainable independence. Furthermore, it has been shown that cooking using smoking fuels inside homes can have serious impact on the health of pregnant women and their children.
ACWW urges all countries to vigorously protect the supply of potable, farming and industrial water through the best technical information available that will provide sustainability of life.
Water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, critical to the survival of people and the planet. Sustainable Development Goal 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.
According to the United Nations, in 2015 more than 946 million people lacked sanitation facilities, with no option but to practise open defecation. This continues to present a major risk to public health and the environment.10
More progress has been made in access to drinking water. In 2015, 6.6 billion people, or 91% of the global population, used an improved drinking water source, versus 82% in 2000. Despite this improvement, an estimated 663 million people were using unimproved water sources or surface water that year. While coverage was around 90% or more in all regions except sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, widespread inequalities persist within and among countries. Moreover, not all improved sources are safe. For instance, in 2012 it was estimated that at least 1.8 billion people were exposed to drinking water sources contaminated with faecal matter.
Effective water and sanitation management also depends on the participation of stakeholders. According to a 2013-2014 Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water survey, 83% of the 94 countries surveyed reported that procedures for stakeholder participation were clearly defined in law or policy.
In the Sustainable Development Goals, the focus is being refined to also include the participation of local communities, which will be captured in the next cycle of Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water monitoring.
Sensible use of water, and avoiding its waste is a global and personal responsibility.
Women in Camps
What to do
ACWW societies and members urge their governments and health organisations to continue local vaccination efforts of potentially eradicable diseases in order to work toward area elimination which would then result in global eradication.
To date smallpox is the only infectious disease that effects humans that has been eradicated and we are close to a second global eradication, that being Guinea Worm Disease. Other diseases Lymphatic Filariasis, Measles, Rubella, and Taeniasis/Systicerososis are currently potentially eradicable with Poliomyelitis at the top of the list.
In some cases there is a public misconception of the seriousness which can be a chief obstacle to eradication. Incredible headway has been made and we need eradication efforts to continue.
Vaccines keep children alive and healthy by protecting them against disease. Immunization is especially important for the hardest to reach families as it can also be a bridge to other life-saving care for mothers and children in isolated communities – such as child nutritional screening, anti-malarial mosquito nets, vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets. Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments we can make for future generations.
In 2015, nearly 1 in 5 infants, or 19.4 million children, missed out on the basic vaccines they need to stay healthy.11
1/3rd of deaths in children under 5 years can be prevented by vaccines.12
Low immunization levels compromise gains in all other areas of health for mothers and children. The poorest, most vulnerable children who need immunization are the most continue to be the least likely to get it.
UNICEF and its partners are working to change these numbers and ensure that all children are successfully protected with vaccines. But, if immunization is not prioritized, the most marginalized children will not get vaccines, which could mean the difference between life and death.
The worldwide need for food production, the eradication of poverty, and the urgent move towards sustainability needs strong citizens of all ages. It has been clearly shown that budget cuts and so-called ‘austerity’ programmes
disproportionately affect women and, more specifically, rural women. There is evidence of rising precarious working conditions, increasing discrimination in the labour market with a subsequent shift to informal work, rising levels of poverty, reduced access to services, and rising levels of domestic violence, accompanied by cuts in vital support services. Solutions are needed which are built on the positive effects of gender equality on well-being, employment and people-centred sustainable growth.
Food, care and health are in the hearts of women. Working in these fields contributes to the development of life-standards and to the eradication of poverty. Investing in sustainability is a chance to restore the gender balance and using the knowledge of the region of both men and women.
An equal relation between civil society, the government and private sector is essential. Women’s organizations, as a part of that civil society, play a role in empowering women through their network and programs at local, regional or national level. The main goals for women are: encouragement in decision making and participation, learning by doing, learning together, strengthening personal development and competences, such as entrepreneurship. Stimulation of knowledge sharing and strengthening civil society, such as women’s organizations, is effective for the
livability (survival expectancy) and continuation of projects in local communities.
It is important to recognise that inequality exists at every level of society. Women hold only 22% of parliamentary seats worldwide. They spend, on average, 90% of their earned income on their families (in contrast with 30-40% for men) and represent two thirds of illiterate adults globally and only 5% of national heads of state.
Global averages show that one in four women are physically or sexually abused during pregnancy and suffer invasive and abusive treatments such as forced early marriage, domestic violence and murder, and female genital mutilation/cutting.
“There is strong evidence from all regions of the world demonstrating that increasing investments in women’s human capital, especially education, should be a priority for countries seeking to increase both economic growth and human welfare. Investing in quality secondary education for girls yields high economic and social returns.” 12
“Evidence from Africa, Asia and Latin America consistently shows that families benefit when women have greater status and power within the household. Increased control over income gives women a stronger bargaining position over economic decisions regarding consumption, investment and production. When women have more influence over economic decisions, their families allocate more income to food, health, education, children’s clothing and children’s nutrition. 15 Social safety-net programmes in many countries now target women specifically for these reasons. A large number of studies have linked women’s income and greater bargaining power within the family to improved child nutritional status, which in turn influences health outcomes and educational attainment.” 14
Alongside our work towards the Global Survey of the Living Conditions of Rural Women, ACWW members call on all governments to integrate a gender perspective in their policies and to create an enabling environment for economic and social development with specific emphasis on those in rural areas.
ACWW members urge their governments to take action to stop sexual abuse of women and children in refugee camps and shelters. This is an increasingly critical issue, with internal conflicts and insurgencies causing a vast increase in the number of refugees.
Initiatives such as the UNHCR’s ‘Safe from the Start’ programme are intended to provide gender specific and sensitive, preventative action for refugees. This work is crucial and ACWW calls upon all governments, particularly those actively dealing with the refugee and migration crisis, to act quickly and decisively to bring this situation to an end.
The status and lives of refugees has an impact on each of the following SDGs, and is crucial in establishing a safer, healthier and more peaceful world.
There are 65.3 million people around the world who have been forced from their homes. This includes 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under 18 years.15
34,000 people are forcibly displaced every day as a result of conflict or persecution. This is the highest level of displacement in history.16
There are many ways that organisations, socieities and individuals can influence their governments. From issuing public statements. to writing to your elected representatives, attending demonstrations or protests and helping to organise community activities, your involvement and activism is crucial. Why not stand for election to represent your views and those of others like you?
In the next column there is ACWW’s public statement marking the International Day of Families, which was issued in May 2017. This gives you an example of the kind of document that can be sent to your representatives or policy-makers. Always remember to cite your data - legislators find it harder to ignore hard facts and figures!
CURRENT TRIENNIUM RESOLUTIONS TEXT
CONSTITUTION: TO APPROVE THE ACWW CHARITY INCORPORATION PROCESS
The members, having been informed of the incorporation process and consulted on the new constitution, hereby resolve that:
Ad Hoc Committee on the Constitution (established as a consequence of 27th Triennial Conference Resolution)
Supporting statement: It was noted that:
Be it resolved that the ACWW accept Food Sovereignty as part of ACWW agricultural policy and that the ACWW begin a campaign to bring awareness and understanding of Food Sovereignty to the organisation and its members during the next triennium (2016 - 2019).
National Farmers Union of Canada (ACWW Membership Number 091021)
Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food production through ecologically sound and sustainable methods and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It advocates for equity and full access to resources for women on farms and in rural communities. Food Sovereignty aims to reduce rural poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation.
Be it resolved that the ACWW and its member organisations strongly urge their governments to ban food and drink manufacturers from claiming their sweetened products are healthier if they use fructose as sweetener.
Koninklijk NVVH Vrouennetwerk (ACWW Membership Number 091058)
Worldwide, obesity is becoming a serious health problem. On advice from the European Food Safety Authority (ESFA), taking effect as of 2014, the EU has ruled that food and drink manufacturers can claim their sweetened products are healthier, if they replace more than 30% of the glucose and sucrose they contain with fructose. Fructose has a lower glycaemic index (GI), meaning fructose does not cause as high and rapid a blood sugar spike as sucrose or glucose.
However, being isocaloric ISO. isometabolic like other sweeteners, fructose is metabolized differently from other sugars. Fructose goes straight to the liver and unprocessed excess is stored there as fat, building up deposits that may cause life-threatening diseases. While refined fructose creates a lower glycemic response in the short term, compared to other sugars, in the long term it causes greater metabolic havoc than sugar, as has been repeatedly demonstrated in scientific studies.
Even the EU Panel on Dietic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, while still agreeing with the health claim for fructose, notes in their Opinion Paper 7 that ‘high intakes of fructose may lead to metabolic complications such as dyslipidaemia, insulin resistance and increased visceral adiposity’.
As 2014 opened the UN decade of Sustainable Energy for All, be it resolved that the member societies of ACWW promote and support community energy projects and access to sustainable energy for all.
Wiltshire Federation of Women’s Institutes (ACWW Membership Number 092505)
The grave impact of lack of clean energy on health, particularly for women and children, is not widely recognised. The first two years of the SE4All initiative are dedicated to the complex ties between energy, women, children and health. More than one billion people in the world still have no access to electricity; millions more rely on unsustainable and polluting fuels for cooking. In the industrialised world the problem is not generally one of access but of inefficiency and pollution. ‘Affordable, Clean Energy’ – the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goal 7 – sets national targets for energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency; locally generated energy is cleaner, more efficient and more secure. The goal of the resolution ‘Secure Sustainable Energy’ is ‘working together for a better future’.
Be it resolved that ACWW members request their governments to, before allowing shale gas exploration to commence, gather as much as possible information from more than just the oil and gas companies applying for the fracking licenses.
WAU Overvaal (South Africa) (ACWW Membership Number 091206)
The decision should be based on sound scientific information, in other words proper investigation on the risks of shale gas exploration and extraction. Task teams should include NGO’s involved in the sustainability of the environment, all government departments like Agriculture, Health, Rural Development, Land Reform, Tourism and Transport.
Well pod sizes differ from 1 ha to 2.4 ha. According to an oil company one pod can house up to 32 wells. The amount of water needed per well is 20 million litres. 55 000 truck trips per road will be transporting water and other equipment (like chemicals) to and from the wells. Road infrastructure will take a beating. 32 billion litres of water will be used on one pod, of which half will end up toxic and radioactive waste water.
A myriad of health concerns and risks are associated with natural gas production and can range from infections and irritations to cancer. These are not just related to humans, but also the ecosystem. Different stages of the gas extraction pose different health issues. Groundwater and surface water contamination resulting from the toxic drilling waste water leads to serious illnesses in humans and cattle, especially due to BTEX chemicals known for causing endocrine disruption and cancer. Arid countries will not have the capacity to lose any water resources, as that will impact negatively on all communities and herds along the area earmarked for drilling.
Civil Soc. & Gender
PROTECTING THE SUPPLY OF WATER
Be it resolved that ACWW urges all countries to vigorously protect the supply of potable, farming and industrial water through the best technical information available that will provide sustainability of life.
Country Women's Council USA (ACWW Membership Number 093495)
ACWW has supported drilling wells and clean water. It is time to think about not wasting a precious resource. Water is not a limitless resource and only 3% is available for drinking. Water usage has increased 6 times in the past 100 years and will double again by the year 2050. By 2025 it is estimated that half of the world’s population will lack access to safe drinking water. One fifth of the world’s population (l.2 billion people) live in areas where water is physically scarce. Shortages of water may be caused by population growth, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and lack of the natural resource. One third of all water used in the home is flushed down the toilet. Homes could reduce this waste by using a water saving device. The average household could save 44,000 gallons per year by just turning off the tap.
VACCINATION AGAINST POTENTIALLY ERADICABLE DISEASES
Be it resolved that ACWW societies and members urge their governments and health organisations to continue local vaccination efforts of potentially eradicable diseases in order to work toward area elimination which would then result in global eradication.
Country Women's Council USA (ACWW Membership Number 093495)
To date smallpox is the only infectious disease that effects humans that has been eradicated and we are close to the second global eradication, that being Guinea Worm Disease. Other diseases Lymphatic Filariasis, Measles, Rubella, and Taeniasis/Systicerososis are currently potentially eradicable with Poliomyelitis at the top of the list. In some cases there is a public misconception of the seriousness which can be a chief obstacle to eradication. Incredible headway has been made and we need eradication efforts to continue.
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP FOR BOARD & COMMITTEE CANDIDATES
Be it resolved that it is a prerequisite for any candidate seeking office as a member of the Board of ACWW, a Committee Chairman or a member of a specified committee, to hold individual membership of ACWW.
Rural Women New Zealand (ACWW Member Number 091062)
In order to be considered for a position on the highest level of governance of most organisations a candidate must be a financial member. ACWW is slightly different in that it is made up of Member Societies and Individual Members. Whilst Member Societies may nominate a candidate, that candidate should hold Individual Membership of ACWW to show a real commitment to ACWW. Individual Members are very supportive of and committed to ACWW without having any voting rights. A candidate needs to show that same kind of commitment.
This resolution was proposed by RWNZ at the 2010 ACWW 26th Triennial Conference in Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA. The Board downgraded it to a Recommendation. This was passed, but it is not binding as a Recommendation and therefore it was again raised at the South Pacific Area Conference in Dubbo, New South Wales. It was passed and is now forwarded as a Resolution from that Conference to the 2016 ACWW World Conference.
Be it resolved that the membership subscription for Categories I, II, III, IVa and IVb be increased to
Cat I = £105 + handling
Cat II = £64 + handling
Cat III = £53 + handling
Cat IVa = £35 + handling
Cat IVb for 1 year = £25 + handling
Cat IVb for 3 years = £65 + handling
Hampshire Federation of Women’s Institutes (ACWW Membership Number 091257)
The Constitution (old or new) states that the Triennial World Conference should review membership fees (2010 page 19 Bye-law 1 Dues and 32 Bye-law 18.6 Business of the Triennial Conference.) There was no review in 2013 so fees have not increased since 2010. The suggested new fees represent an increase of 10% over six years for Societies (less than 2% per year) and rather more for individuals where an increase has not been made for many more years. The handling charge is for foreign exchange and is standard on the ACWW website but of course the figures are for current fees. It is thought this is about the charge made by banks
CIVIL SOCIETY AND GENDER
Be it resolved that member societies of ACWW strongly urge their governments to integrate a gender-perspective in their policies to create an enabling environment for economic and social development especially in rural areas.
Vrouwen van Nu, The Netherlands (ACWW Membership Number 091057)
The worldwide need for food production, the eradication of poverty, and the urge for sustainability needs strong citizens of all ages. The whole series of budget cuts in the EU-countries for example are disproportionately affecting women through job losses and reductions in public services. There is evidence of rising precarious working conditions, increasing discrimination in the labour market with subsequent shift to informal work, rising levels of poverty, reduced access to services, and rising levels of domestic violence, accompanied by cuts in vital support services. Solutions are needed which are built on the positive effects of gender equality on well-being, employment and people-centred sustainable growth.
Food, care and health are in the hearts of women. Working in these fields contribute to the development of life-standards and to the eradication of poverty. Investing in sustainability is a chance to restore the gender balance and using the knowledge of the region of both men and women.
An equal relation between civil society, the government and private sector is essential. Women’s organizations, as a part of that civil society, play a role in empowering women through their network and programs at local, regional or national level. The main goals for women are: encouragement in decision making and participation, learning by doing, learning together, strengthening personal development and competences, such as entrepreneurship. Stimulation of knowledge sharing and strengthening civil society, such as women’s organizations, is effective for the livability (survival expectancy) and continuation of projects in local communities.
In addition to the previously submitted resolutions, the following Urgency Resolution was submitted from the floor and adopted by the Conference:
WOMEN IN REFUGEE CAMPS AND SHELTERS
Be it resolved that ACWW and its member organisations urge their governments to take action to stop the increasing worldwide sexual abuse of women and children in refugee camps and shelters.
European Area Pre-Conference Meeting
SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS FROM 28th TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE (AUGUST 2016)
Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases: A Global Perspective
Ms Alison Commar, World Health Organisation
Women @TUoS NET: Academic networking for change
Professor Julie Gray, University of Sheffield
Dementia: A Growing Global Issue
Dr Mary Tilki
ACWW & The United Nations
Zero Hunger Challenge
Triennial World Conference
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