Webcast of Civil Society Forum January 31, 2012 The Social Protection Floor – Brigiding the Gap to Poverty Eradication is now available

A webcast recording of the proceeding of the whole day are uploaded here. Learn more about the Social Protection Floor Initiative and the views of Civil Society. The webcast is in two parts – the morning sessiona and fternoon session.  The programme for the day is presented here for your convenience.

Civil Society Forum
Commission for Social Development
The Social Protection Floor Initiative – Bridging the Gap to Poverty Eradication 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 10.00 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.

United Nations HQ, NLB-Conference Room 3

The Civil Society Forum has been planned by the NGO Committee for Social Development in joint sponsorship by United Nations DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development & Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.  This Forum has been organized to prepare civil society participants to participate during the 50th Session of the Commission for Social Development (Feb 1-10, 2012 at UNHQ in New York) and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro).  Speakers will present the Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPFI) as an essential and universal solution to break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality and social exclusion while accelerating action toward achievement of Millennium Development Goals, 2015.

Upon completion of this Forum, participants will be able to:

  • Describe SPFI as a universal framework for achieving equity and sustainable change.
  • Discuss the importance of developing innovative strategies for providing social protection floor to high-risk populations.
  • Identify the positive experiences and challenges of providing the Social Protection Floor Initiative

10:00-11:00 Opening Session     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZPp4WnIkd4&feature=youtu.be  


Ms. Winifred Doherty, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Chair NGO Committee Social Development; Co-Chair, Working Group on Girls.

10:00-10:15 Ceremony “Million Signature Campaign Delivery” –  NGO Committee for Social Development

Guest Recipient of Signatures: H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, Sixty-eighth President of the Economic and Social Council, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

Special Presentations:                 

H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, Sixty-eighth President of the Economic and Social Council, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Slovakia to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Ambassador Jorge Valero, Chair of Bureau; Chairman of the 50th Commission for Social Development; Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the UN 

Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UN-DESA

Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy & Development

Mr. Werner Puschra, Director of the New York Office of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

11:00-1:00 Keynote Panel

 ”The Social Protection Floor Initiative– Bridging the Gap to Poverty Eradication”      

Moderator:    Ms. Eva-Maria Hanfstaengl, Director, Social Justice in Global Development

Invited Speakers:

Mr. Michael Cichon, Director, Social Security Department, International Labour Organization

Ms. Isabel Ortiz, Associate Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Ms. Braema Mathiaparanam, Regional President for SE Asia and the Pacific, International Council on Social Welfare; Chairperson/Coordinator, Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism

Ms. Laila Iskander Kamel, Chairperson, Community and Institutional Development Consulting, Egypt

The afternoon panel –

2:30-4:15 “From Passion to Action”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWLRxr2EDTU&feature=youtu.be 

This interactive session will offer attendees an opportunity to discuss relevant UN plans and programs of action pertaining to the situation of social groups: persons with disabilities, youth, ageing and the family as one anticipates maximizing the impact of the SPFI in their own organizations. Universal access to basic social protection and social services is necessary to break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality and social exclusion. “The Global Social Crisis: Report on the World Social Situation 2011” UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Publication, 2011 notes, “The Social Protection Floor Initiative is affordable; its benefits need to be weighed against the potentially high human, social and economic costs of not investing in social protection.” 

Moderator:    Ms.Eva-Maria Hanfstaengl, Director, Social Justice in Global Development


Ms. Braema Mathiaparanam, Regional President for SE Asia and the Pacific, International Council on Social Welfare

Ms. Griselda Martínez Morales, Congregations of St. Joseph

Ms. Sylvia Beales, Strategic Alliances HelpAge International

Ms. Marwa Sharafeldine, Board Member of Musawah International Movement for the Reform of Muslim Family Law

Mr. Baquer Namazi, Independent CSO Activist Coordinating the Pro-Poor CSO Initiative; Founding Member of Iran Local Development NGO Resource Center

4:15 – 4:30       Closing Remarks by Ms. Winifred Doherty  Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd; Chair NGO Committee Social Development; Co-Chair, Working Group on Girls.

Have you signed the Social Protection Floor Initiative –  if not now is a good moment to do so English  http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/signature-campaign-social-protection-floor/signatures.html  Add your name to the list.         Spanish http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/en-apoyo-del-piso-de-protecci%C3%B3n-social.html
French   http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/appuyer-le-socle-de-protection-sociale.html    Portuguese  http://www.ngosocdev.net/index.php/anexo-protecaon-social/


Head of UN Gender Entity Expresses ‘Deep Regret’ as Commission on Status

‘I Will Not Hide My Great Disappointment’, Says Chair, as Delegations Question Each Other’s Good Faith over Collapsed Negotiations read more http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/wom1905.doc.htm


A ‘regreatable’ ending to CSW 56 – The word used by some Member States to sum up the fact that there are no agreed conclusions.

Yesterday March 14th the UN Journal indicated two things a) that the CSW informal conclusion were convened from 10.00 – 1.00 and 3.00 – 6.00 p.m. and b) that the Commission on the Status of Women would hold its 19th meeting in order to conclude its work for the 56th session.
Today, March 15th, I went for the meeting. CSW 56 ended with NO agreed conclusion! In the final remarks the Chair of the Bureau – H.E. Ms Marjon V. Kamara (Liberia) expressed her disappointment and said that she would prepare a Chair’s Summary to reflect agreements reached. Ms Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director, Under Secretary General for the United nations, was also present and expressed her disappointment despite the many good discussion, initiatives, participation and involvement by both member states and NGO’s. Michelle Bachelet noted that there were 2,015 NGO representatives from 429 organizations present and that there were 300 parallel events outside the UN discussing, sharing and networking for the empowerment of rural women. Member states had 70 parallel events some in collaboration with NGO, sharing best practices and strategizing for the future. So one wonders how in the context of so much activity promoting the empowerment of Rural Women, a state of ‘impasse’ is reached when it comes to negotiating the agreed conclusions? In my experience of the conditions in which rural girls and women live from Ethiopia, to Egypt, to Kenya, to Madagascar, and from Sabah, East Malaysia to India and Thailand why can the member states together not put forward agreed conclusion to uphold the human rights of girls and women and to provide basic services of water and sanitation, education and health? Why do member states not want to invest girls and women to develop agriculture ensuring national food security and food sovereignty? Why did member states not work on having agreed conclusions implement ting the social protection floor initiative globally, guaranteeing human rights and basic services coupled with a cash transfer to every rural girl and woman? Wouldn’t that be progress? Such provision would certainly limit the supply side of girls and women fleeing poverty and finding themselves trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation.
No agreed conclusions for CSW 56! Regrettable said the spokespersons for the CARICOM Member States to the UN , Iran, Denmark for the EU, Zimbabwe for the African States, USA, Peru, Pakistan, Norway, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iceland, Switzerland, Mexico , Russian Federation, Canada, Russia, Turkey, Japan and Australia. (Cuba, Iran, Japan, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe and the USA are members of the Commission). All member states that spoke paid tribute to the Chair of the negotiations H.E. Carlos Garcia from El Salvador and other Bureau members. But why were there no agreed conclusions? NGO’s were permitted to be present during the first reading of the compilation text on March 2 but after that negotiations were in ‘closed’ sessions. A negotiating text was shared with NGO’s on March 8th. You can read this text at http://www.ngocsw.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2-March-CSW-Compilation-Document.pdf CSW was adjourned on March 9th to give time to complete the negotiation.
As NGO’s are not permitted to observe the intergovernmental negotiating process one must infer and read between the lines. For certain the ‘impasse’ was not reached due to inability to implement globally, the social protection floor initiative! Words such as ‘intransigence’, ‘inflexible mind sets’, seeking to ‘dilute international agreements’, ‘opposition from one delegation’, ‘several delegations tried to bring their own views and opinions to bear’, – these are the rationales we heard from member states that spoke. It seems that the ongoing struggle towards the empowerment of women suffered a defeat today with no agreed conclusions from the Commission on the Status of Women. Why is so threatening to have a girl or woman take control her own life? This is seen clearly when it comes to a girl or women, having a real education on the true meaning of sexuality and access health care. Why is it that the words ‘gender equality’ evokes such primal fear as to stop negotiations? But these same underlying ‘fears’ permit the degradation of girls and women subjecting them to human trafficking for sexual exploitation and labour, is abusive of them for prostitution, mutilating their bodies through female genital mutilation and cutting, forbidding them to have an education, condemning them to death for sexual transgressions, sexualizes them for profit while condemning them to lives of poverty and violence in remote rural areas without access to basic human rights and services. What can be done to bring sanity to the process? Regrets that ‘working methods take an undisciplined trend’ and regrets about the ‘inefficient use of time’ are not very helpful or empowering of rural women! ‘Moral hazards’! ‘Moral evaluations’ are evoked to prevent women being empowered! The CSW needs ‘rational decisions’ for all women!

Interview with Theresa Symons – Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services, Malaysia

This interview was conducted by the Director of Communications, Denise Richardson at the Salvation Army in New York. Theresa Symons was one of her guests.  Theresa  attended The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 56) over the past two weeks.  You can access the full interview at this link.  http://wor710.com/pages/podcast/123550.rss   This interview will give you a flavour of CSW – with reference to the international women’s day celebration and non-governmental organizations at the commission.  Together with Theresa are Layla Alkhafaji from Iraq, and Aime Nelson from West Africa.  They share on the lives of rural women from Iraq to Malaysia to West Africa.  Issues range from bread on the table to politics and the importance of both.  Listen to Theresa experience of CSW!

Another slideshow of International Women’s Day

We gathered at the corner of 41st and 1st Avenue, walked up 41st to 2nd Avenue and up 2nd Avenue to 47th, into Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza where there was a circle dance, druming and singing.

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Celebration of International Women’s Day March 8, 2012 with NGOCSW

Some photos of the celebration with the NGOCSW in New York.  Banners were not permitted.  Instead each person work a yellow sash inscribed with an advocacy issue, the fulfillment of which would ensure a better quality life for girls and women worldwide. 

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Good Shepherd Advocacy during the Commission on the Status of Women CSW 56

ImageCSW 56 is in its second week here in New York.  How be effective as an organization during CSW?  How be an advocate?  The priority theme for CSW this year is ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication development and current challenges.  The main document coming out of CSW is called the Agreed Conclusion.  This is a document negotiated by the member states.  The process begins with draft agreed conclusion prepared by UN Women and presented to the  CSW Bureau for consideration.  It was a 5 page document having some introductory paragraphs and  4 sections urging action A.  Strengthening gender-responsive policy environment   B. Leveraging investment for rural development to improve food security and reduce poverty  C. Expanding access to resource, assets, employment and services  D. Strengthening participation and leadership in decision-making.  This draft was available on February 13, 2012.  The draft is basically a good, comprehensive document incorporating many aspects that are essential to the empowerment of rural girls and women.  It is available on the CSW Website  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/56sess.htm    

On reading the draft I was happy to see reference to the social protection floor as Good Shepherd had been promoting this during the Commission for Social Development through the signature campaign.  However, some issues that are of critical concern to Good Shepherd were missing.  There was no mention of the vulnerability of girls and women living in poverty to human trafficking.   Based on our Direction Statement I inserted  5 paragraphs around the issue of Human Trafficking using agreed language from the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  I highlighted the need to :
• mainstream the issues of trafficking in person into broader polices and programmes for rural women and girls
• adopt and implement policies and programs at the national and regional level,
• promote awareness-raising campaigns
• reinforce efforts regarding the provision of identity document for all and
• have labor laws which provide legal rights and protection for workers that would limit the risk of being trafficked
I worked on another four paragraphs with regard to substantive issues around girl sensitive issues and the need to:
• empower and invest in girls
• provide formal, non-formal  and quality education for girls
• have access to skills and entrepreneurial training
• recognize the disproportionate burden placed on girl headed households in caring for and support of those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS
Here I used UN agreed language from the Resolution on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Girl Child.  The International Presentation Association (IPA) collaborated in this work.

On the 27th February a compilation text was made available.  You can access a copy  at http://www.ngocsw.org/blog/2012/03/draft-agreed-conclusions-csw56-as-of-1-march/    NGO representative were invited to observe and listen to comments by member states on the compilation text on Friday, March 2, 2012.  The document had grown from 5 pages to 17 pages.  In a comparison between the draft and the compilation text I track what has happened to my proposals.  This is the approach of each one – NGO or Member State who makes a submission.  NGO submission must be adopted by a member state for inclusion into the text.  I send copies of my proposals to Members of the Bureau – El Salvador, Philippines, Italy, Belarus as well as Ireland and Mexico.  Fatima Rodrigo from IPA sent to 40 member states of the Commission.  What happened?   EU, Australia and Belarus had made the insertion on human trafficking.  The EU added education but it is very weak while Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico,  Peru and Uruguay added the paragraph on formal and non formal education as submitted.  EU inserted implement birth registration in rural and remote areas as suggested.                                   

Since Friday March 2, we have not seen any further drafts and the negotiations take place in closed sessions.   Some points that I have noted from various briefings include the following.
• The EU wants a strong human rights approach.
• African countries wants texts back to basics of water and health
• Jordan wanted language on school drop outs
• Liechtenstein is concerned about access to justice.
• Syria is proposing some ideas in keeping with Sheria law
• Holy See wishes to replace the word ‘gender’ with ‘equality and equity of men and women.’
• Some member states want inclusion of climate change
• As I review the compilation text I note that there are no inclusions by Africa States in document while it was reported that the African States were interested in a more practical text focusing on basics of water etc.
 Today March 6 in a briefing by a Vice Chair of the Bureau, Mr. Filippo Cinti noted that the text is now 24 pages.  The hope is to have the agreed conclusion by Friday for adoption by the Commission.

NGO CSW 56 Consultation Day February 26, 2012

Each year prior to the opening of the Commission on the Status of Women the NGO Community host a consultation day. This year over 1100 women and men, boys and girls representing government and UN delegates gathered. The day opened with a performance by the National Dance Institute. This institute has impacted the lives of close to 2 million public school children through award-winning arts and learning programs. Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director , UN Women addressed the gathering. The Keynote address was delivered by Mirna Cunningham Kain, Chair, UN Indigenous People’s Forum and the NGO/CSW/NY, Woman of Distinction Awardee.  Leymah Gbowee, Noble Peace Prize Laureate was a special guest. These are the women leaders of today pushing forward for a better life for all women but particulalry rural and marginalized women. There were two panels one presenting regional perspective moderated by Ilona Graenitz, Chair, NGO/CSW/Vienna and the other focused on Rural Women and was moderated by Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, Chair, NGO/CSW Geneva. I mention both these ladies as they are the counter parts of the NGO/CSW Chair in New York – Soon Young Yoon. In the afternoon there were three parallel session – Orientation for new participants to CSW;  Advocacy Training and Training for Rural Women Leaders Speak-out. The day ended with the theme song ”Keep on Movin’ Forward.’  You can get a flavour of the day in the slide show.

Good Shepherd Orentation to CSW 56

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Good Shepherd had an Orientation for CSW 56 on February 21st, 2012 at the Office of Handcrafting Justice, Astoria, New York. Maureen McGowan, Simran Sachdev, Operations and Marketing Manager together with other staff and Good Shepherd Volunteers interested in CSW attended.  Winifred Doherty facilitated the orientation and invited some temporary representatives from the Presentation Sisters and UNANIMA International. From the Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office Theresa Symons, Director of Programs in Malaysia attended together with two volunteer staff Marie Guessou (Cameroon) and Virginie Woo (origninaly from Angers, France).  We are grateful to all at Handcrafting Justice for their welcome and hospitality in providing lunch.  If you wish to follow the powerpoint used it is uploaded here for your convenience  CSW 56 Orientation