On The Brink of CSW61!

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The Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session will open officially on Monday morning March 13th at  10.00 am in the UN General Assembly Hall. The NGO’s will start with Consultation Day on Sunday March 12 from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 in the afternoon.  Already participants are beginning to arrive delegates from the various member states and groups of women from all over the world.  8,600 people have pre-registered to attend – a record number.  Yesterday afternoon the Chair of the Commission H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), gave a final briefing to NGO outlining what is planned.  Of particular interest to me was information on the current status of the outcome document.  The first reading is completed.  Ms. Fatma Al Zahraa Hassan (Egypt), is the chair for the negotiations.  This first reading was based on the compilation text of February 28   We are awaiting a new version based on the first reading.

This years’ CSW  is breaking new ground addressing the issue of women’s unpaid care work.  It was noted that there is a lot of similar language and common ground  in a document that went from 6 pages to over 70 pages.

During the briefing I made two observations: one in relation to social protection and the second about girls.  There are over 31 references to social protection systems but only two times is there reference to  social protection floors.  We need implementation of social protection floors as a tool towards women’s economic empowerment as social protection systems are tied to employment.  I asked that this be noted in the ongoing negotiations.  Secondly, there are multiple references to girls but always tagged to women … ‘girls and women’ or ‘women and girls’ but there is no stand alone paragraph on empowering girls through education as the surest way of empowering the women of the future.

There are many references to ending trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation .. noting that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced marriage, forced labour, services and other forms of exploitation, and recognizing the link between migration and trafficking in persons.

 

 

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session – March 13 – 24, 2017

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Spanish link

The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session begins on March 13th and concludes Friday March 24th.  The theme this year is ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.’  There is a small of library of information on the UN Women Website Preparations  i)  Regional CSW61 Preparatory and Consultative Meetings ii) Multi-Stakeholder Forum and iii) Expert Group Meeting

Perspectives of NGO can gleaned from 220 statements on the Official Documents page.  I would like to draw your attention to Statement No 13 in all official languages of the UN – French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.  This is the statement submitted by ‘Good Shepherd.’  Does it reflect your view and experiences?

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French Link

When I wrote this statement I had just listened to  Ms. Dambisa Moya ,  a global economist speak at the Second Committee of the General Assembly.  Dambisa suggested six ‘headwinds’ that indicate a growing disadvantage for women and girls seeking economic empowerment.  The results of the ‘headwinds’ are i) a jobless underclass; ii) continuing population growth and underinvestment in quality  education; iii) reinforcement of pre-existing obstacles to girls and women including; lack of women’s access to land rights, girls’ disproportionate time in carrying  water, and increasing feminization of agriculture;  the green economy/green growth has not led to more equitable land and resource distribution; iv) income inequality; v) the impact of austerity measures further impoverishes women and girls;  and vi) economic policies that actually widen inequalities and impact most negatively on those ‘left behind’ posing a threat to the future of the planet.

Are the girls and women  that you work impacted by one or more of these headwinds?   Where do human rights and dignity, gender justice, economic justice and climate justice fit in?

Women’s economic empowerment must pay attention to the plight of girls, who are the agents of change for the future.  We are calling for improved nutrition, health and education for all girls.  If not today’s generation of girls will continue to populate the jobless underclass, work in the informal sector, receive low wages, be landless and be vulnerable to exploitation and gender-based violence.

The accompaniment of girls an women who are furthest behind is the hallmark of our Good Shepherd Ministries.  See Maisha Documentary film based on our project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Recall the #16Days16Stories project of the 16 Days to End Violence Against Women.  Read I Have A Voice – Trafficked women in their own words  These are ongoing projects addressing the headwinds on a daily basis.

What can you do:  It is not too late to take the link to the statment and send it to your national delegation who are attending CSW 61.  There are very specific asks at the end.  i) Fully resource and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;  ii) Urgently invest in girls’ economic empowerment;   iii) Challenge and dismantle the power structure that subjugate girls and women – an example of this is the new law in Ireland decriminalizing women in prostitution but persecuting the buyer of sex.  A long struggle but worth the effort.  When I came to the UN in 2008 Ireland had not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol (2010) and now the Nordic Model is being implemented. (2017);  iv) Implement National Floors of Social Protection (ILO Recommendation 202)                                                               csw61-banner-en

English Link

Reflecting on week one of the Commission for Social Development

Friday, February 3 was the last day of week one of the Commission for Social Development. Overall, it was an interesting week which commenced on Monday afternoon with the opening of the Civil Society Forum.  This forum continued on Tuesday morning with panel presentations followed with the continuation of Monday’s discussion in the afternoon.  Both these session are webcast.  Civil Society Forum – January 31st and Part 2 Afternoon session  civil-society-forum

The formal opening of the Commission took place on Wednesday February 1st  – all sessions are webcast – Opening Session (Meeting 2)  There were three statements presented – one from the President of the General Assembly (PGA) H.E. Peter Thompson (Fiji), the President of the Economic and Social Council H.E. Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe) and a statement on behalf of the Secretary General Antonio Guterres.  Points noted from these statement are the following:  The Commission is taking place at a time of global contradictions.  While significant progress has been made in eradication extreme poverty, conflicts are reversing gains in social well-being and the gap between the rich and poor was growing (Sec General) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the “masterplan for people planet and prosperity,” and is “firmly within our reach.” (PGA).  “Today’s generation can be the one that eradicates poverty and turns the tide on inequality, exclusion and environmental degradation…” (President of ECOSOC)   ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said that despite all achievements, many countries had been left behind and growing global inequities challenged the universality of human rights. Poverty was a system and people living in poverty continued to be deprived, above all, of the capacity to claim their inalienable rights.  Human dignity must be at the centre of any sustainable development process.  Further the vice-president said  respecting, promoting, and protecting rights required Governments to take positive action, which in turn, demanded national compliance with international obligations, particularly the 2030 Agenda.

In the afternoon at Meeting 3  the Vice-President of Costa Rica was a member of the panel during the interactive discussion on “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.”  She stressed the need to design public policies to meet the needs of people facing constant hunger, exclusion and poverty.   No development can be sustained if millions of people are left behind.  Poverty is a flagrant violation of human rights.  Social policy must  end the income gap and move towards peace, justice and inclusion.  Costa Rica is poised to eliminate extreme poverty in less than 10 years.  Costa Rica has developed social maps to track impoverished areas and understand the prevailing socioeconomic conditions. This coupled with a poverty index was used to measure poverty beyond income poverty and to take into account shortages in education, health care, water and housing.

Nigeria, both Government and civil society perspective were presented and Brazil noted that their nation had been removed from the FAO Hunger Map.  The new challenge for Brazil is to sustain the gains.Through Bolsa Familia cash transfer programme 13.6 million low-income people received stipends on condition that they kept their children in school and followed a vaccination schedule. This year a National Strategy for Social and Productive inclusion was launched by the Government to build professional skills and generate income.  The Happy Child Programme was launched in 2016 that gives regular assistance, including home visit to 530,000 children in 2017 and 1.5 million in 2018

Good Shepherd continue to promote implementation of social protection floors as a good strategy for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all. There is growing interest in and concrete action towards implementation.
See http://bit.ly/2kttxSM which ‘showcases 16 experiences from 12 countries which have achieved universal or near-universal social protection coverage in the areas of health care, child allowances, maternity benefits, disability benefits and old-age pensions. Good Shepherd are in 5 of the Countries Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, South Africa, Thailand.

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February 2nd  Meeting 4 and Meeting 5  and  February 3rd Meeting 6  and Meeting 7. These meeting focused on “Promoting Integrated Policies for Poverty Eradication: Youth Development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (meeting 4) Meeting Coverage and “Leaving no one behind: poverty and disability” Meeting 6. Meeting Coverage

Side events are taking place throughout the Commission focusing on a myriad of topics related to the theme.

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Side events where I have been a panelist:

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If you wish to see your country statement to the commission for Social Development Papersmart UN Meetings

 

Some reflection question in preparation for the Civil Society Forum – Jan 30 and 31st

 

Have you read the Civil Society Declaration to the Commission? civil-society-declaration-csocd-55th-session  The civil society declaration addresses the theme of the commission and responds in four parts: (1) Introduction (2) A strategy to eradicate poverty (3) …and achieve sustainable development …for all (4) A call to action.

The Good Shepherd Microfinace No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) in Australia is one  strategy that has been effective in implementing Social Protection policies in Australia.   Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission in English, French and Spanish

Case Study:   Universal social protection policies that benefit all of society must reach women and girls who are in the most vulnerable situations, for whom barriers tend to remain even when services and national human development averages improve. These programs must empower girls and women, strengthen their citizenship, and equip them with the knowledge, spaces and networks with which to claim their entitlements. The Good Shepherd Microfinance No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) in Australia provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable loans for essential goods and services. Participants recognize that repaying their loan means that those funds become available to someone else in the community — consequently, the repayment rate is consistently 95-97%. Follow-up analysis shows that four out of five NILS participants are moving away from crisis and hardship towards stability and resilience — achieving economic mobility. In Australia, more and more women are turning to high cost, predatory payday loans, suggesting that a growing number of women are being excluded from the financial mainstream. NILS focuses on improving opportunities for women and girls, with women representing 67% of NILS participants. Microfinance programs promote gender equality through financial inclusion, and are essential for ensuring women living on low incomes and their families are able to enjoy improved quality of life. The NILS commitment to education and financial literacy is also empowering for women. The loan process begins a conversation about money and household finances with each microfinance applicant. These conversations lead to increased financial literacy and confidence dealing with money. This improves women ’s selfesteem, and participation in decision-making processes.

Étude de cas:  Les politiques de protection sociale universelle profitant à l’ensemble de la société doivent prendre en compte les femmes et les filles les plus vulnérables, celles pour qui les barrières ne tombent pas, y compris quand le niveau mo yen des services et du développement humain dans leur pays progresse. Les différents programmes doivent autonomiser les filles et les femmes, renforcer leur citoyenneté et leur fournir les connaissances, les espaces et les réseaux nécessaires pour revendiquer leurs droits. En Australie, le programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » de Good Shepherd Microfinance donne aux individus et aux familles à faible revenu un accès à des prêts sûrs, équitables et abordables leur permettant de bénéficier de biens et servic es essentiels. Les participants étant conscients que le remboursement de leur prêt permet de réaffecter les fonds à d’autres membres de la communauté, le taux de remboursement s’établit entre 95 et 97 %. L’analyse de ses effets montre que quatre participants sur cinq au programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » parviennent à opérer la transition d’une situation de crise et de pauvreté à une situation de stabilité et de résilience, jusqu’à parvenir à la mobilité économique. Dans ce pays, de plus en plus de femmes se tournent vers des prêts sur salaire aux conditions abusives et au coût élevé, ce qui donne à penser que le nombre de femmes exclues du système financier traditionnel progresse. Le « No Interest Loan Scheme » met l’accent sur l’amélioration des perspectives pour les femmes et les filles, les femmes représentant 67 % des participants au programme. Les programmes de microfinancement favorisent l’égalité des sexes par l’inclusion financière et sont déterminants pour permettre aux femmes vivant avec un faible revenu et à leur famille de jouir d’une meilleure qualité de vie. L’engagement du programme « No Interest Loan Scheme » en faveur de l’éducation et de la culture financière contribue également à l’émancipation des femmes. Le processus de prêt commence par une conversation sur l’argent et les finances du ménage avec chaque demandeur d’un microfinancement. Cet échange renforce les connaissances de base en matière de gestion financière et la confiance quant à l’utilisation de l’argent, ce qui a pour effet d’améliorer l’estime de soi chez les femmes ainsi que leur participation à la prise de décision.

Estudio de caso:   Las políticas de protección social universal que benefician a toda la sociedad deben llegar a las mujeres y las niñas que se encuentren en situaciones más vulnerables, para quienes las barreras tienden a permanecer, incluso cuando mejoran los promedios en materia de servicios y desarrollo humano a escala nacional. Estos programas deben empoderar a las niñas y las mujeres, reforzar su condición de ciudadanas, y dotarlas de los conocimientos, espacios y redes que les permitan reclamar sus derechos. El programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación de nuestra organización en Australia proporciona acceso a préstamos seguros, justos y asequibles para la adquisición de bienes y servicios esenciales a las personas y familias de bajos ingresos. Los participantes reconocen que el reembolso de su préstamo supone que esos fondos estarán disponibles para otra persona en la comunidad, por lo que la tasa de reembolso oscila sistemáticamente entre el 95% y el 97%. Un análisis del seguimiento indica que cuatro de cada cinco participantes en el programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación están saliendo de la crisis y las dificultades y se encaminan a la estabilidad y la resiliencia, logrando la movilidad económica. En Australia, un número cada vez mayor de mujeres están recurriendo a préstamos depredadores de alto costo a corto plazo, lo que indica que un número cada vez mayor de mujeres están siendo excluidas de las corrientes principales de financiación. El programa de préstamos sin interés con fines de microfinanciación se centra en mejorar las oportunidades de las niñas y las mujeres, y estas últimas constituyen el 67% de los participantes en el programa. Los programas de microfinanciación promueven la igualdad de género mediante la inclusión financiera, y son esenciales para garantizar que las mujeres que tienen bajos ingresos y sus familias puedan disfrutar de una mejor calidad de vida. El compromiso del programa con la alfabetización y la educación en materia de finanzas también está empoderando a las mujeres. El proceso de préstamo se inicia con una conversación sobre el dinero y las finanzas de la familia con cada solicitante de microfinanciación. Esas conversaciones dan lugar a un aumento de los conocimientos financieros y de la confianza para abordar cuestiones monetarias. Eso permite mejorar la autoestima de las mujeres y su participación en los procesos de adopción de decisiones.

Read more at Good Shepherd Micro Finance

 

 

55th Commission for Social Development

See the website – English only

See our statement to the Commission in – English, French and Spanish

The posters are in three languages:  First  giving you the dates, theme and link to the Good Shepherd Statement; the second set-  describes the Commission and the third set answer the question what is Social Protection?

The first commission I attended was in February 2008 – the 46th Commission on the theme of  “Promoting Full Employment And Decent Work For All.”  47th and 48th Social Integration, 49th and 50th Poverty Eradication, 51st and 52nd   “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all,” 53rd and 54th  “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world.”

‘Prostitution affects all of us, not just those in it.’

The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’  The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution.  Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.

There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’  All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women.  Prostitution is one of these violences.

Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’    Read the full article here

UN – High Level Political Forum 2016

HLPFThe High Level Political Forum (for those who love acronyms HLPF) starts on Monday July 11th.  Full details of all that will take place is on the website Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform  If you have a smart phone you can down load the app HLPF and have immediate access.  The website is only in English (apologies). The HLPF is the central platform for follow up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  By clicking HERE you can see easily the sustainable development goals which is the subject of the review.  Commitment to implementation began in every country on  January 1, 2016.  The theme of this years’ review is ‘Ensuring That No One Is Left Behind.’   There are the official meetings of the HLPF and multiple side events.

Part of the official meeting is the presentation of 22 national reports on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Good Shepherd is present in 1o of the 22 countries -Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Venezuela. A direct link is HERE and the reports are in French, Spanish and English depending on the language of the country. (The French report is not yet posted)

Apart from inputs from governments there are inputs from Intergovernmental Bodies and Forums – including the Commission for Social Development,  Commission on the Status of Women,  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW),  Human Rights Council ,    Human Rights Treaty Bodies, International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Dialogue on Migration  These are points of contact that the GSIJP Office follow at the United Nations throughout the year. The full list can be accessed here

A third group is  Major Groups and Other Stakeholders   We are members of the Women’s Major Group and have signed on to that paper.  Click HERE  The paper is divided into six areas 1. Introduction; 2. The Women’s Major Group; 3. Addressing the systemic causes of ‘being left behind’; 4. Key areas of action for implementation, follow-up and review to ensure no one is left behind; 5.Ensuring that the Review of 2030 Agenda Leaves No One Behind; and 6. Conclusion.

The focus on addressing systemic causes of ‘being left behind’ is central to our work at the United Nations. ‘Identifying and responding to the intertwined systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy, and their correlation to inequality and gender inequality, are essential for the successful implementation o the 2030 Agenda and shout be an important focus of follow up and review processes at all levels…” and address the systems that negatively affect the lives and lived realities of all girls and women of all ages.

In section 4 there is a call for a) inclusion and participation of grassroots women’s organizations in planning, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda at the local and national level.  The advice of 19 year old Berryl from Kenya sums this up quite succinctly:        “Bringing girls and young women to the table during the discussions about the SDGs is important because girls are the experts in their own lives. Girls and young women in the communities should be taught about the SDGs and how they affect their lives so they can monitor the implementation and how well the governments are doing. I think that world leaders need to:

  •  Give better support to girl advocates by providing resources and encouragement.
  •  ….allocate budget[s] for implementation of the SDGs, especially Goal 5 and Goal 16.
  • Invest in girls and their access to education

An educated, empowered girl is good not only for the family but also for the community, country and the world.” 

b) Financing and capacity building for women’s rights groups at all levels.

c) Gender disaggregated data

Section 5 states that women’s groups must be meaningfully engaged at all levels of the implementation, follow up and review from the national level to the global.

We also have a voice in the Major Group of Non Governmental Organizations  See HERE

Another set of inputs can be found in Partnerships and Voluntary Commitments

GSIFThroughout the HLPF the GSIJP Office are using the brochure prepared by the Good Shepherd International Foundation ONLUS ‘Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children.’ highlighting  Participation, Empowerment, Livelihood and Human Rights in programs focusing on  community development and economic justice; child protection and education; girls and women’s empowerment; and migrant and anti-human trafficking.  See the brochure by clicking on the link

GSIF Promoting Inclusive Development for Women and Children

Good Shepherd International Foundation Brochure – Where are the SDGs?
How We Help

  •  Community Development and Economic Justice
  • “Projects to eradicate extreme poverty” (SDG 1)
  •   Market research, business training and planning, micro‐finance and micro‐credit to start micro-enterprises to raise level of income (SDG 8)
  •  Advocating to change unjust structures discriminating women and to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation (SDG 5)
  • Children Protection and Education
  •  “Programs protect and promote the rights of the most vulnerable children” in a holistic model of care
  • Psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Nutritional Support (SDG 2)
  • Remedial education to be mainstreamed in the school system (SDG 4)
  • Awareness of human rights and activities for social cohesion and peace building (SDG 16)
  • Girls and Women Empowerment
  • Projects “help to achieve SDG no.5”
  • Engaging women and girls living in poverty (SDG 1), at‐risk of exploitation or victims of violence (SDG 16)
  • Counseling, psycho‐social assistance (SDG 3)
  • Reintegration in formal education (SDG 4)
  • Skills training, access to micro‐finance and micro‐credit, support to income generating activities (SDG 8)
  • Migrants and Anti‐human Trafficking
  • Programs to protect children, girls and women who have been trafficked or victims of commercial sexual exploitation (SDG 5, 8, 16)
  • Programs in border areas, where the rights of children, girls and women migrants are most at risk (SDG 8)
  • Psycho‐social support programs for children and women refugees (SDG 3)