Call to Girls to Grade the Beijing Platform

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An on line or mail in survey is available for girls up to 18 years of age to complete in English, Spanish French, Portuguese and Arabic.


On Line Survey in 5 languages – Click here

Download hard copies of the survey here, complete and mail them to Working Group on Girls  777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 6E, New York, NY 10017.

If you would like to check what your country is saying visit this web page and insert the name of your country

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Join the Discussion at CSW 57

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To involve key stakeholders in its preparation – particularly civil society and women’s groups, policy makers and other experts – UN Women will use a two-week online discussion (23 July – 3 August) on the critical gaps and challenges facing women and girls in the priority area: the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Within this, the two key areas of focus are primary prevention (stopping violence before it starts) and multisectoral services and responses to victims/survivors.

The first week’s discussion (23 – 27 July) will focus on primary prevention. The second week (30 July – 3 August) will be on support services and responses, across sectors. You must REGISTER to take part in the discusison.

TO REGISTER, please send an email to with your name, position, the name of your organization, and the country. As Subject, please write: Registering for online discussion. Within one or two days you will receive an email with login and registration instructions.

The online discussion will be in English.

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.

Collaboration to Combat Human Trafficking in the Asia Pacific Region

Clare Nolan facilitated a capacity building workshop in Kuala Lumpur from the 12 – 17 February 2011 for 50 participant from the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Region.  The process of the workshop was based on dialogue, discussion, sharing of expert knowledge within the group, with some input on issues such as International  trends, human rights, and perspectives of  (input from) NGO partners (ICMC)  and US State Embassy in Malaysia. Two participants shared on experiences of international advocacy – one going to the margins with migrants in Mexico protesting a Un international body and calling for grassroots voices, the other in presentations to a group of international bishops in Rome – how different can you get! Good Shepherd Mission Development Office also presented their role in funding and responded to questions.  Read more

“Migration is not a static phenomenon, nor is it black and white”, noted ICMC U.S. Liaison Officer, Jane Bloom, in her presentation to the plenary. “The continuum from migration to trafficking is a ‘slippery slope’, which increases protection risks for migrants—especially women and children on the move—who can become easy prey for traffickers. What we are doing here this week is leveraging the strengths, the knowledge, the connections of each others’ work to better the lives of those who are most vulnerable.”  Read more

Mr Ban Ki-moon’s address for International Women’s Day

Go to this link and you will find the address in the 6 languages of the United Nations.    Here is a quotation from the address:   ” The Beijing Declaration remains as relevant today as when it was adopted. The third Millennium Development Goal – to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment – is central to all the rest. When women are denied the opportunity to better themselves and their societies, we all lose. On this International Women’s Day, let us look critically at the achievements of the past 15 years so we can build on what has worked, and correct what has not. Let us work with renewed determination for a future of equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all.”  Read the whole text here

Commission on the Status of Women 54th Session

During the 2 week session of the Commission on the Status of Women there were six panels.  You can access a video link to each panel, the issue paper and most of the presenters papers at   Panel 1:   Linkages between implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the achievement of the MDGs   Panel 2:  Regional perspectives in progress achieved and remaining gaps and challenges in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action  Panel 3:   Commemorating 30 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women  Panel 4:    Women’s economic empowerment in the context of the global economic and financial crisis  Panel 5:    Unite to End Violence against Women  Panel 6:   The evolving status and role of national mechanisms for gender equality.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – last day of the Commission on the Status of women

“The status of the world’s women is not only a matter of morality and justice. It is also a political, economic, and social imperative. Put simply, the world cannot make lasting progress if women and girls in the 21st century are denied their rights and left behind”  Hillary Clinton”

Here is the link to the full text of Hillary Clinton address to women gathered at the UN on the last day of the Commission on the Status of Women.  The video can be see here too.

E-Discussion on Women and Poverty

29th Congregational Chapter Direction Statement   ‘We work zealously with women and children, especially those who are ….oppressed by abject poverty.  We support projects for economic justice, confront unjust systems…”

Here is an opportunity for you to express your views based on your vast experience of working with women living in abject poverty.  In doing so you are influencing policy and confronting unjust structures. 

From 11 January to 12 February 2010 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) will jointly organize an e-discussion on Women and Poverty. The e-discussion aims to provide critical policy messages and an action agenda to the Commission on the Status of Women’s 15 year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1 to 12 March 2010); ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (28 June – 3 July 2010); and the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly, focused on the Millennium Development Goals (September 2010).  Go to this website, scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up for the discussion.  In replying in the box Organization please enter Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.   This is our organizational name at the United Nations.   

Here is a quote from the facilitators note:  “Please help us bring new thinking and new ideas to the policy debate about poverty reduction, gender equality and women’s empowerment, drawing on experience with implementing the Bejing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals. Share your innovative ideas, research and good practice examples with policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners around the world, and help make a difference in the fight for gender equality and eradication of poverty.”