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    

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    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.