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Background to the NGO CSW Forum 


The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is an official Commission of the United Nations (UN) which focuses on the rights and empowerment of women and gender equality. It's an intergovernmental body consisting of 45 Member State governments of the UN. As the Secretariat of the CSW, UN Women supports all aspects of the Commission's work. Each year, the annual CSW session, which takes place for two weeks in March in New York, focuses on a priority theme related to gender equality. At the end of the two weeks, an outcome document is produced on the theme.


The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) CSW Forum is organized by and for global civil society and NGOs to connect them with the official United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) process. The NGO CSW Forum runs parallel to and complements the UN CSW and it is a separate process with separate organizers. The NGO CSW is held both onsite in New York and online by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)/NGOs. The NGO CSW Forum informs, engages, and inspires grassroots efforts and gender equality advocacy around the world. The recommendations prepared through the NGO CSW Forum are included in the main CSW outcome document.


In 2024, the NGO CSW68 Forum will be held from March 10-22, 2024 on the CSW priority theme, “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”.


ICA-AP and NGO CSW Forums


In 2022, the ICA-AP Committee on Women in collaboration with the ICA-AP Committee on Forestry organized a virtual parallel side event at the NGO CSW66 Forum on the theme ‘Women in Cooperatives: Combating Climate Change Together’. This side event was held in line with the UN CSW66 Forum priority theme, “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”. It was the first time that the ICA-AP organized a side event at the NGO CSW Forum where our members from Australia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Japan, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and  Thailand discussed the impact of natural disasters on cooperatives and women and climate change initiatives taken by cooperatives. The event brought international visibility to the works and impact of cooperatives on SDG 13 – Climate Change and Action.


In the past, Office Bearers of the ICA-AP Committee on Women have participated in the side events of the UN CSW Forums in New York in 2015 and 2019. In 2015, the ICA organized a joint event with the ILO at the UN CSW59 in which the ICA-AP Committee on Women released its ‘Resource Guide for Advanced Training of Co-operatives on Entrepreneurship Development of Women and Gender Equality. In 2019, the ICA-AP Committee on Women made an intervention at the UN CSW63 Forum putting forth the case of cooperatives and its impact on women from low income communities.



Virtual Parallel Side Event at the NGO CSW68 Forum 2024


In 2024, the ICA-AP Committee on Women and ICA-AP Committee on Credit and Banking are organizing a virtual parallel side event at the NGO CSW68 Forum. The theme of the side event is “Impact of Cooperative Financing on Women’s Empowerment in Asia-Pacific”.


The event will be held on Zoom on March 12, 2024 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST) (Convert to your local time here)


The event will highlight:

  • How has the cooperative model of finance and insurance been crucial for gender-equality in Asia-Pacific? What are the key future trends/shifts in the cooperative finance sector to watch for in Asia-Pacific?
  • How are financial cooperatives impacting women’s economic empowerment and contributing to SDG 5 (Gender Equality)?
  • How are cooperatives driving innovation and gender-inclusion in their products and services to address the emerging women-member needs and expectations?
  • Why are financial cooperatives a preferred choice for women amidst the growing presence of private institutions? 




To register for the event, click here. You will receive the joining link along with a confirmation email upon registration. 




Keynote Speaker 




Mr. Arvind Kumar Srivastava, Ex-General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); Consultant, NABARD Consultancy Services; and Editor, Samarth Sahkarita, India


Mr. Arvind Kumar Srivastava is an Ex- General Manager at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India with postgraduate academic qualifications in the areas of rural development and social work. In his more than 3 decades of service at NABARD, he had been closely associated with the working of cooperatives: from planning development initiatives to implementation of many schemes and packages. Having a background of serving as a Probationary Officer in the State Bank Group, he is also an author of around half a dozen books relating to Cooperative Banking and Bank’s Business Correspondent. He has been an editor/ publisher of newsletters named “Samarth Sahkarita” for the stakeholders of Cooperative Banks in India for two years and “Responsive Rural Banking” catering to Regional Rural Banks and those involved in rural credit. His academic achievements include the publication of more than 30 articles in many reputed journals like the Journal of Rural Development, The Indian Banker, The Cooperator, and The Microfinance Review on subjects ranging from banking to rural development, and legal aspects of banking. He has been involved in many studies including a recent All-India study on the ‘Revival, Restructuring and Innovations in ARDBs” at the instance of Govt. of India/ NABARD.



Presenters and Panellists 



Mr. K.K. Ravindran, Chairperson, ICA-AP Committee on Credit and Banking and Managing Director, National Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks' Federation Ltd. (NAFCARD), India


Mr. K.K. Ravindran holds postgraduate degrees in Economics and Business Management.  He started his career in rural credit as a Management Trainee at the Kerala State Agriculture and Rural Development Bank, India. He has worked in various senior positions in the bank and joined the National Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks' Federation (NAFCARD) as its CEO in 1996. As the Managing Director of NAFCARD, he is closely associated with a number of national and international organizations including the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). At ICA, he has served as the Chairman of the ICA Asia and Pacific Credit and Banking Committee for the last 3 years.



Ms. Elenita V. San Roque, CEO, Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), Thailand


Ms. Elenita V. San Roque is the CEO of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) and has been associated with ACCU for 30 years. Ms. Elenita joined ACCU in 1995 as the Manager for Member Services and was responsible for assisting ACCU member organisations in developing and improving their institutional capacity. She is a strong advocate of women's empowerment and climate adoption practices in credit unions and cooperatives. ACCU operates as a regional representative organization for credit unions and similar cooperative financial institutions in Asia. It represents over 50 million individual members from more than 35,000 credit unions in 22 countries in Asia.




Ms. Sylvia Quinesio, Vice-President, for Sales and Marketing, 1CISP, Philippines


Ms. Sylvia Quinesio is the Vice President for Sales and Marketing at 1 Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines (1CISP). She has over 30 years of work experience in the cooperative movement and has held several management-based positions. She is an advocate for women’s empowerment in the cooperative sector and believes in breaking barriers and championing inclusivity at every step of the way. Her passion for women's advancement has led to the birth of Koop4HER, 1CISP’s solution for women in cooperatives.




Ms. Yuki Nishimoto, Public Relations Division, Joint Management Department, CO-OP Insurance (Kyosai) Consumers’ Co-operative Federation, Japan


Ms. Yuki Nishimoto joined Japan CO-OP Insurance (Kyosai) Consumers’ Co-operative Federation (CO-OP Kyosai) in 2010. After working in the clerical department of mutual insurance, Ms. Yuki worked at the ICA-AP Malaysia Business Office from February 2014 and served as the Secretary of the ICA-AP Consumer Committee. After working in the CO-OP Trade Japan Ltd. in 2017, she returned to CO-OP Kyosai in 2019 and was appointed to the public relations department. She is in charge of media relations, SNS, owned media and international affairs.



Ms. Madhu Rayamahji, Head of Business Development and Member Secretary of the Gender Equality Sub-committee, National Cooperative Bank Limited (NCBL), Nepal


Ms. Madhu Rayamajhi has over two decades of professional experience in the cooperative banking sector of Nepal. She currently serves as the Head of Business Development and is the Member Secretary of the Gender Equality Sub-committee at the National Cooperative Bank Limited (NCBL). Ms. Madhu has demonstrated strong leadership in promoting women's participation in the cooperative movement, contributing significantly to gender equality and inclusive development in Nepal. Her deep involvement in the cooperative movement underscores her commitment to fostering community empowerment through the cooperative business model.



Ms. Anagha Kamath, Director, Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank, India


Ms. Anagha Kamath is the Director of Strategy, Impact, and Innovation and one of the Board of Directors at the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank in India. She is a young leader, passionate about working with children, women, and their communities. At Mann Deshi Foundation, Ms. Anagha has started and leads the Kickstart Girls and Youth Leadership Lab programmes, designed to foster self-assurance, social engagement, and financial confidence among youth from rural and marginalized communities, with a special focus on empowering young girls. Ms. Anagha actively encourages the cultivation of a money-confident mindset among women and young girls, recognizing its profound impact on their future.


  Session Chair 



Ms. Sylvia O. Paraguya, CEO, National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO), Philippines


Ms. Sylvia O. Paraguya is the CEO of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) in the Philippines since 2009. She has over 30 years of work experience with cooperatives, with 18 years of experience with a cooperative federation in Mindanao. In both these federations, she has led the team on focused services that build the capacities of cooperatives in financial intermediation, enhancing members’ access to financial services via ATMs, mobiles and point of sale. Her international exposure included visits to the different cooperative movements in various countries around the world. NATCCO is a federation composed of 957 cooperatives with 7.6M individual members and consolidated assets of 368 billion Pesos. NATCCO’s products and services include Treasury and Credit, Payment Services through the Kaya Payment Platform, Information Technology, Microfinance Innovation in Cooperatives, Education, Training and Consultancy, and Stabilization Fund System. NATCCO’s advocacies include gender and development, children and youth, diaspora, disaster risk reduction and management and business development services.  A chemical engineer, Ms. Paraguya has an MBA from the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines.


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Event start date:
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Event end date:
Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Venue: Zoom