Official Launch of CSW 65 – An in-person meeting at the United Nations HQ in NY

The official opening of the Commission on the Status of Women took place yesterday morning at United Nations Head Quarters in New York at 10.00 a.m. EDT. We heard from UN Leaders, including the Chair of CEDAW and civil society members speaking up for their communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to making gender equality a reality.

The Secretary General made a powerful statement – fully recognizing the intense suffering of women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and calling ‘on all leaders to put in place five key building blocks.  First, realize women’s equal rights fully, including by repealing discriminatory laws and enacting positive measures.  Second, ensure equal representation — from company boards to parliaments, from higher education to public institutions — through special measures including quotas.  Third, advance women’s economic inclusion through equal pay, targeted credit, job protection and significant investments in the care economy and social protection. Fourth, to enact an emergency response plan in each country to address violence against women and girls, and follow through with funding, policies and political will.  Fifth, to give space to the intergenerational transition that is under way.  From the front lines to online, young women are advocating for a more just and equal world — and merit greater support.’ Extract from the UN Meeting Coverage and Releases. The full recording of the session can be had at UN Web TV

The UN Secretary General: ‘The fallout from COVID 19 has shown how deeply gender inequality remains embedded in the world’s political, social & economic systems.’ Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and President of Economic and Social Council delivered a statement calling for a New Global Compact for Women’s Empowernment Video based on an action plan to mainstream women’s participation in public life and proposing concrete measures to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The agreed conclusion of the 65th session could provide a concrete recommendation for framing such a global contract. Ambassador ended hoping that the international community will rise to the challenge and ensure that half of the world’s population is never again left behind.

The Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in her statment said this is a defining moment for gender equality, change is possible, political will is critical. The full statement of her address has been posted. Towards the end a surprise for me – maybe others too – Executive Director indicated that she will be leaving UN Women at the end of this year.

Youth and NGO’s had strong voices within the opening session Listen to Renata Koch Alvarenga a Political Analyst in Brazil, Founder of EmpoderaClima Brazil, Delegate of the @girls20 Summit, and Gender Youth Activist of @unwomen #GenerationEquality

Virisila Buadromo – representing Fiji feminist NGO committed to removing discrimination against women through institutional reforms & attitudinal changes stated that “it’s time we all collectively work towards shifting the power dynamic to allow more Pacific women working at the grassroots levels to be seen and heard.”

I am following the parallel event of Mercy Global Action entitled: ‘Domestic Violence: Gender-based Violence & Degradation of our Common Home.’ From Papua New Guinea, to Peru, Argentina and Australia. The presentations are a powerful demonstation of the harm caused to communities and earth by Mega Mining and Agri Business. A globalized market system impacts the earth and women – violating them, making them invisible. Destruction of the earth and femicide are motivated by the same system. Corporate responsibiblity, gender equality and such terms are empty terms and mere words devoid of committment. Extractive industry degrades the social environment – with increases in prostitution, trafficking, the destruction of traditional culture, and agriculture. And in COVID 19 the Government of Argentina bets on the coroprate sector to pay the foreigh debt and provide for the needs of the people while devestating and polluting the enrironmental and eroding and destroying the social fabric. In the face of extractivism the solidarity of the people becomes stonger but the response is criminalization of the people and even death. Unemployment is now 40% with COVID 19. How care for the family? COVID 19 is not a democratic virus. As it is attached to the market system it has promoted inequality of access to health care, water, and food, and during the pandemic gender based violence has increased greatly. Femicide – a woman is killed every 29 hours in Argentia – is not just an Argentian problem. It is indemic througout the region. There are 11 femicide a day in Mexico and it was recalled that in September 2020 two 11 year old Argentian girls were killed by Paraguayan police.was

A strong recommendation was issued to decrease extractive mining and to develop an alternative system of production that respects people and the earth. We need to develop an alternative economy, one of care. A strong call to end institutional violence which is so frequent in the health system, especialy against indigenous women, and the injustice in judical rulings that favour the corporate sector. The event has been live-stremed on Facbook if you want to learn more.

CSW 65 has begun with NGOCSW Consultation Day

The Consultation Day programme of NGOCSW launched this morning at 10.00 am in New York. An amazing programme opening with a prayer for women of the world offered by our indigenous sister, which is followed with a dialogue with the Chair of NGOCSW and the Executive Director of UN Women on the global situation of women and girls. There is a most wonderful call by girls from the Working Group on Girls. The leaders and processes of Generation Equlaity Forum are introduced and towards the end we hear of this being a moment to ‘reimagine the global contract for gender equality.’ The programs end with a piece from the UN Orchestera entitled ‘Nimble Feet’ by Florence Price. The YouTube is available and the programe below. Enjoy

The Congregation has an Exhitition Booth on the NGOCSW Virtual Platorm. To visit the booth registration is required through NGOCSW. We learned this morning that already 25,000 attendees have registered – there is a waiting list which the adminstration is seeking to resolve. Our program at the booth is available here. About 100 mission partners around the world have registered. Monday provides four distinct opportnities for a moment of guided prayer and reflection. Differerent Good Sheoherd regions and Units are presenting. RENATE – Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation – are our partners at the virtual booth.

HLPF Continues – July 13 – 16, 2020. Some events we are engaged in – the first event is separate from the HLPF.

Good Shepherd International’s Foundation – Cristina Duranti is a panelist at a webinar on Monday morning July 13 2020 from 1:30 –3:00 pm CEST entitled “Putting an end to greed: The interaction between respect for human rights and the protection of nature. Cristina will focus on the project in the DRC.

The following two events are within the HLPF Program – Tuesday morning July 14 at 8.00 am and Wednesday July 15 at 1.00 p.m. Registration is required.

Registration required by July 12th.
Registration Required Link to Concept Note

HLPF and Voluntary National Reviews (VNR’s)

Voluntary National Reviews (VNR’s) are scheduled to start on the afternoon of July 10th between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 pm New York time. 47 Countries are scheduled to present. The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to to share national experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation of the VNRs seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs.

July 10, 2pm – 4pm Armenia, Ecuador, Honduras, Samoa, Slovenia.

July 13, 9am – 12pm Bangladesh, Georgia, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda.

July 13, 2pm – 4pm Argentina, Benin, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru.

July 14, 10am – 1pm Finland, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burundi, Gambia, Russian Federation.

July 14, 3.15 – 4.15 Micronesia, North Macedonia.

July 15, 10am – 1pm Estonia, Austria, Seychelles, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

July 15, 2pm – 4pm Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.

July 16, 9am – 1pm Comoros, DRC, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Republic of Moldova, Zambia.

July 16, 2pm – 4pm Barbados, Liberia, Solomon Islands

Check the website and click on date The session will be webcast on UN Web TV Live at the date and time or in the archives for listening at a later time.

Map showing the number of countries for each region.

This page of the website gives you the list of the 47 counties with a copy of the report that the country has provided to the United Nations.

Ending week one -‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality’ – HLPF 2019.

My assessment of how the global community is doing ‘Empowering the girls, women and children Good Shepherd accompany and ensuring their inclusiveness and equality’ is not too well! The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 tells the story The question asked on the front page of the report is telling. ‘We must ask ourselves if our actions today are laying the right foundation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?’ The specific set of Goals reviewed this week were SDG 4, 8, 10, 13 and 16. Some of the headlines in the SDG 4 report are: Shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics signal a global learning crisis’; ‘Early childhood education offers a head start in school, but one third of the world’s children are being left behind’; ‘Progress has stalled in reaching out-of-school children’; ‘Too many schools in sub-Saharan Africa lack the basic elements of a good quality education: trained teachers and adequate facilities’; and ‘Despite progress, 750 million adults still cannot read and write a simple statement; two thirds of those adults are women.’ See SDG 4

I attended the side event SDG 4: At the Heart of Achieving the 2030 Agenda co-sponsored by groups that have education at the heart of their mission. The panelists presented a range of examples of inclusive, quality education. It was noted that injustice is inherent in the educational system.

Sr. Nakato Betty RSCJ outlined some principles underlying quality and inclusive education and depicted the current interaction of the system of education with the student to asking a fish to climb a tree!

Mr. Brian Fitzsimons with International Presentation Association presented a project ‘iScoil Ireland’ begun in 2007 that seeks to addresses the ‘shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics’ mentioned in the SDG report through interactive, flexible, and personalized learning using technology and multiple modes of assessment leading to a recognized accreditation with 82% receiving a qualification.

Kristin Hokanson, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur presented Education for Life with Sustainable Development Goals integrated into the virtual school.

Nick Newland, Associated Country Women of the World spoke to the situation of education in conflict affected and fragile states and this should be at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. I was reminded of an article in Global Sisters Report that you may help helpful to situate your self in the reality of the camp with the Society of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.

Nick Newland addresses the issue of education in conflict affected and fragile states.

The Spotlight Report was launched on Thursday morning. This is the 4th edition of the report which seeks to track progress across the Agenda and the individual goals. The findings are that progress is seriously off track. Progress has not and will not come with accelearation or resources. Rather a major shift in policy is required with serious attention being given to the role of the public sector in line with responsibility for human rights and the public resources required to implement the goals. There is a need for strong institutions and good governance for sustainability. In the Spotlight Report there is a chapter on SDG 4 By Antonia Wulff, Education International The chapter can be accessed here It gives a very good insight into what is really happening. “In practice, numerous actors are competing for influence, particularly on defining what works in education, as so-called knowledge-based economies, grapple for growth and hunt for quick fixes in education. The SDGs are to be implemented in a political landscape where the UN system struggles to assert its relevance and values; gone are the days when UNESCO was the obvious authority in education, to which countries would turn for policy advice. This matters because agreement continues to be sought as to what the broad priorities within SDG 4 mean in practice, such as quality education or relevant learning. Governments have committed to a shared level of ambition and set of priorities but at the end of the day it is up to each government to translate them into more specific national policy.”

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2019

While numerous actors are competing for influence – the World Bank, the OECD, the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission), and the London-based Varkey Foundation – NGO’s are at the cutting edge empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality as demonstrated at the SDG 4 event for individuals and groups within society but who notices, how counts?

I began the week on Sunday July 7th being a panelist at a Water Aid event – presenting an overview of SDG 4. My question to the participants was do we continues to advocate for our separate individual issues in relation to education or do we advocate for structural and systemic change? The Secretary General’s Report had some stark comments: “In 2016, one third of all primary schools lacked basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services, affecting the education of millions of school children, but particularly girls managing menstruation.” In 2018, one fifth of the world’s youth were not in education, employment or training… There is a stark gender difference. Young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in education or training.” I called for collective advocacy to challenge the unethical dimensions of the financial markets, financial institutions and an unscrupulous sector. When preparing for this I had access to two excellent presentations showcasing what Good Shepherd are doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo focusing on the education of children who were engaged in child labour and in Puket, Thailand with a focus on the education of children whose parents have migrated to Thailand. These programmes demonstrate holistic rights-based education.

Protecting the Human Right to Education
#ChildrenNOTMiners

NGO’s are often not recognized, not counted, not consulted, not included. But we do what we do best, ‘upholding the dignity of every person in the face of gross inequalities, violations of human rights, and the stubborn persistence of gender based violence against the girl child, women and children.

Impressions from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63)

Illustrating the theme of CSW 63 in pictures – focusing on social protection,
public services and infrastructure. Alexis Schutz from the GSIJP Office in the picture

The official opening of the Commission was proceeded by the NGOCSW Consultation Day on Sunday March 10. The GSIJP Office was joined by two Good Shepherd Volunteers – Sarabella Muise and Shannon Mahedy. ‘Social Protection mitigates economic and social distress’

The opening of the Commission was webcast and can be found in the Archives Secretary General indicated that this is the Commission on the Status of Women. But it could equally go by another name: the Commission on the Status of Power. How apt! Because he said this is the crux of the issue! Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. The statement of the President of the General Assembly is in Spanish. The Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Ms. Hilary Gbedemah said ‘Women are disadvantaged in social protection systems, experiencing lower coverage rates and substantially lower benefit levels. The Committee recognises that social protection policies are an important tool for reducing . poverty and gender inequality. Gender gaps in accessing social protection vary per region and country, as they are largely dependent on the characteristics of the labour market and the structure of the social security system.’ See the full text If you wish to see who is who with regard to Women’s and Girls Leadership at the United Nations review the panel line up. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women also made a Statement. If you prefer to read an account rather than watch the webcast go to UN Meeting Coverage

While there is optimism and hope for a good outcome many sharing and stories tell of backlash against gender equality. ” As push back against women’s rights around the world threaten to reverse hard-won gains, conviction and political courage must drive forward progress and build on achievements, high-level speakers pledged at the opening session of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women.” … “United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that when women are excluded, everyone pays, also warning that the world today is witnessing a deep, pervasive and relentless push back on women’s rights.  “We will push back against the push back,” he pledged, adding that the United Nations is also making progress in achieving gender parity.” All quotes from the UN Meeting Coverage link above

The GSIJP team starting the second day – taking photographs on the way!
Social Protection Advocates meet up! ” Establish human rights-based, gender-sensitive Social Protection Floors at the national level as a first step in the creation of Universal Social Protection, in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda, and ‘to reach those furthest behind first.’ Good Shepherd Statement to CSW 63 One of the official document to the Commission
Good friends and colleagues at CSW 63 doing their part in advocacy so as Enact a just, integrated and sustainable model of development, inclusive of gender, environmental, and economic justice, that puts the interests of disempowered, marginalized and impoverished girls, women and their communities at the centre of policy concerns, ahead of the corporate agenda, and upholds the protection of their human rights.
On the way to moderate this High Level Side Event “Gender Violence: Prevention, Protection and Social Inclusion”

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 63rd Session March 11- 22

Priority Theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland), Chair (Western European and other States Group) welcomes each one to CSW 63 Proud to be Irish!
Join us for our parallel event on March 14 – Access the documentary
PowerPoint Overview of CSW 63

Our statement to the Commission on the Status of Women makes the following recommendations. These are our advocacy points

Enact a just, integrated and sustainable model of development, inclusive of gender, environmental, and economic justice, that puts the interests of disempowered, marginalized and impoverished girls, women and their communities at the centre of policy concerns, ahead of the corporate agenda, and upholds the protection of their human rights.

Establish human rights-based, gender-sensitive Social Protection Floors at the national level as a first step in the creation of Universal Social Protection, in order to achieve the 2030 Agenda, and ‘to reach those furthest behind first.’

Express strong political will to reject austerity measures in favour of the implementation of social protection systems financed through progressive taxation, addressing Illicit flows, and the reallocation of military expenditures.

Ensure better access to health care, quality education, skills training, and public services for girls and women.

Enable inclusive, non-tokenistic participation for girls and women at all levels of decision-making including policy design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

See the references to Social Protection in our Position Papers
Explore more about Social Protection
Birthing an Alternative Future: Cosponsoring this event with Doula Designs
Panelist – presenting on ‘Girls Access to Social Protection’