Reviewing CSW 65 Virtual Platform and Engagment

The annual Commission on the Status of Women 65th session started with the NGO Forum on Sunday March 14th – setting the scene. Last year because of the outbreak of COVID 19 the session was cancelled but this year all took place virtually.  Planning took place throughout the year.   The most exciting part of this was the development of a virtual platform by the NGOCSW Committee members in New York.  This platform was enabled by ‘Pathable Virtual Event Platform.”   The platform permits for multiple live zoom connection to be happening simultaneously and a feature of it is the Virtual Tradeshow Booth.  The Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office, my colleague Alexis Schutz and I, explored the possibilities of having a Virtual Booth and then invited GSIF, MDO – Asia Pacific, Latin America and the NGO Regional Designates to a planning meeting at the end of January to discuss possibilities.  The members of the planning committee undertook responsibility for their regions.   A very rich comprehensive program was designed and multiple issued were addressed from North to South and East to West. Many were livestreamed on Facebook and others on YouTube.  Many recordings have been uploaded to https://winifredd.wordpress.com and can be viewed on blog postings of March 14, 16, 23 and 27. Issues addressed were varied and included the following – Understanding the Impacts of COVID 19 on Vulnerable Australian Women; Women’s Economic Empowerment, Ending Violence against Girls and Women, including 4 session on Obstetrics Fistula, Migration issues from Latin America and Europe.  My favorite was the 5-hour girls’ program from Asia Pacific – hosted by girls, moderated by girls, concerning girls’ issues and participation at all levels.  How insightful and informed these girls are –truly leaders for the future coming from all countries of Asia Pacific.  At the conclusion of my night vigil in New York at 6.30 am on Saturday morning (began at 1.30 am) I closed my intervention with “now dismiss your servant in peace as my eyes have seen ….”  This was followed at 11.00 am with a session from Madagascar again focusing on girls and with a recording of girls giving their viewpoints and opinions.

The Contemplative Sisters of the Good Shepherd – New York/Toronto and Ecuador prepared the Women’s Sanctuary Space for Monday March 15th with specially pre-recorded prayer reflections. 

I hosted a “Let’s Talk Series” for one hour each day covering various topics from Social Protection Floors, CSW Agreed Conclusion, Ending Violence Against Women, Generation Equality Forum, Migration, Sustainable Development Goals, St Patrick’s Day.  Alexis hosted Let’s Talk Girls with Patricia and Maddie who are Good Shepherd Volunteers in the New York/Toronto Province.

Live on FaceBook
Alexis Schutz – Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office – Working for Girls Around the World
Mattie Thompson – Good Shepherd Volunteer, Collier Services, New Jersey
Patricia Kelly – Good Shepherd Volunteer at the National Advocacy Center in Washington DC – Live on Facebook

An entry point for Good Shepherd, Europe was on the topic of Migration when my guests were Ivanna Youtchak, Coordinator of the Euro Project, and Gabriele Spina from Catania Italy, and Director of Migration in Il Nodo, Catania and Acireale.  What great work around ‘integration’ of migrants into local communities and fascinating insight into how programs adjusted and provided for the needs of migrants all during these pandemic times. A video ‘Whatever it Takes’ was specially prepared by Good Shepherd, Italy for this occasion.

It can ve viewed via Dropbox Please note – it may be stressful to watch.

Sr Mirjam Bekie, our NGO Representative in Geneva contributed a repeat session on Obsteric Fistuala, creating awareness of the problem and sharing on advocacy work in colaitions in Geneva. She also presented in the RENATE Sessions on Human Trafficking.

Live on Facebook

The issue of Human Trafficking with its multiple stakeholders and strategies was very well covered on the platform.   APT/AMRI engaged in 2 sessions facilitated by Noreen O’Shea, Ireland, available on their YouTube Channel. RENATE – the European network of religious committed to work together against human trafficking and exploitation – of which Sr. Marie Helene Halligon (France) is a staunch member, facilitated 9 X 2-hour sessions over the two weeks.  All Session can be viewed on their YouTube Channel

On Friday 26th the final meeting of the Commission was postponed until 5.00 p.m. and some wonder if there will be any agreed conclusion!  Yes, just after 6.00 p.m the Commission resumed and there are Agreed Conclusion! Agreed Conclusions are one barometer indicating support for women’s human rights. While very welcome, they do not reflect an adequate response to the urgent call of the UN Secretary General on the opening day of CSW 65, to realize women’s rights fully, ensure equal representation, advance women’s economic inclusion, asking for funding, policies and political will to end all gender-based violence and give space to girls and young women to transition into future leadership. What could the member states be the negotiating about you might ask? 

The terms gender, gender identity, women in all their diversity, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence, sexual identity, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and human rights defenders give rise to various interpretation – ranging from a human rights perspective to religious, cultural, and moral principles and objections. Concept on motherhood, maternity, paternity, family, role of family in society, gender as defined as male or female, marriage only between a man and a women are pitted against human right to self expression and ability to make choices are amoung the contentious issues. Other political issues surface – e.g invoking national sovernighty, whereby national laws, and religious laws are to be respected and upheld. Considerations that the agreed conclusion attempt to address a broad ranges of issues which were not the subject matter of the theme eg. climate change, women’s health, human trafficking, and unilateral financial trade agreement was also raised. There was reference to the Security Council Resolution 1325 being deleated from the document amid concerns about the impacts of conflict on girls and women and that there were attempt to unpick long standing commitments. See Global Sisters Report

But women and the women’s movement are undaunted and now have the opportunity to forge ahead towards the launching of the ‘Generation Equality Forum’ which will start in Mexico on Monday March 29th for three day.  The action now is towards full equality, and full peace, in prosperity for all, challenging all to stand as citizens, in a shared solidarity for the future we want. To end, NGO CSW65 passed the torch to Generation Equality at a ‘Joyful Disruption Rally’ with girls and women from around the world determined to realize a new future despite the paralysis in the agreed conclusion negotiations. Read the Advanced Unedited Verson of the Agreed Conclusion

Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Website have access to all their events during NGOCSW 65 Virtual Plaform HERE They also provide links for Latin America on their Facebook Page and RIMOA are on the GSIF YouTube Channel. This is a wonderful testimony to the many and varied ministries of the Congregation.

YouTube

In total live programs were facilitated on the platform for 66 hours over the two weeks. 114 identified Good Shepherd Sisters and partners were registered on the NGOCSW65 Virtual Booth and made a total of 1,696 visits to the platform. RENATE had 8 identified representatives who made a total of 150 visits. APT had 7 identified representatives who make a total of 86 visitis. There were 320 visitors to the booth of whom 114 are identified as partners, 85 unidentified and 121 familiar NGO Colleagues and other unknow NGOs. The number of visits ranged from 1 visit to 264 visits. 99 guests were one time visitors only, 30 guests vistied a second time, and 22 guests made a third visit. Administrators tended to have higher numbers of visits 92, 90, 87, 70, 60, 63, 46, 45, 42, 41, 38, 34, 33, 31, 28, 26, 22, although a few within this range were visitors to the virtual booth.

Thank you NGOCSW 65 Virtual Platform!
Thank you all who participated in CSW65!

CSW65 Continues

This all virtual CSW 65 experience is challenging – the inability to meet in person, exchange ideas, meet official delegates, and chat informally with women traditionally gatherered in NY is a certainly different. No exchanging of hugs and embraces, no coffee appointment, no walking and talking, moving from one venue to another, and no personal interaction is certainly a great loss and yet women as always are making the best of the virtual world with over 25,000 registered and participating on the NGOCSW 65 Virtual Platform which I think is a great success thanks to the dedication of the NGOCSW Committee on the Status of Women and all who work behind the scenes to make it a reality. The only signs that CSW 65 is taking place are captured in the banners on the railing outside the UN. Asking which one comes first is asking the wrong question because transformation demands that they are all realized simultaneouly!

The Secretary General of the United Nations held a Town Hall with women and girls on March 16th. A few quotes from his address ‘But we should not talk of getting “back to normal”. It has become clearer than ever that what was considered normal was often discriminatory, unjust and unsustainable.’ … ‘Around the world, we advocated with Member States to ensure that women entrepreneurs are targeted in stimulus packages; that women working in the informal economy can access social protection; that recovery packages include greater investment in the care economy.’ You can read the full text HERE

US Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the Commission on the Status of Women 65 on behalf of the USA saying that  “the status of women is the status of democracy,” mentioning Eleanor Roosevelt’s who shaped the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. “When women face obstacles to obtaining quality healthcare; when women face food insecurity, when women are more likely to live in poverty, and therefore disproportionately impacted by climate change, more vulnerable to gender-based violence, and therefore disproportionately impacted by conflict, well it’s harder for women to fully participate in decision-making, which of course in turn makes it that much harder for democracies to thrive.”  Olivia Dalton, a spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN noted that the Vice President Harris is the first Biden administration White House official to address the U.N.; she is the highest-ranking U.S. government official to ever address CSW; and she’s the first female U.S. vice president to ever address the U.N.

During the first week there were 4 ministerial roundatbables and 4 interactive dialougues. Background notes, biographies of speakers and the recordinding can be accessed HERE. The General Discussion resumed on Friday 19th and continues in the second week. Member States address the Commission Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here A list of speakers can be accessed at the top on the page on UN Women’s CSW 65 Page

While the formal program continues virtually within the United Nations the NGO community are hosting multiple parallel events on the NGOCSW 65 Virtual Forum Platform Good Shepherd around the world are presenting a very comprehensive program of the various activities from east to west and north to south. The program schedule can reviewed and many of the events have been recorded either on Facebook or Youtube. I was so happy to have the Contemplative Sisters engaged in designing the Women’s Sanctuary Space on Monday March 15th. It has been recorded on Facebook The videos ‘Glow Within Us All’ and ‘The Call to Belong.’

Some of the Asia Pacific Presentation

Presentation from Africa – Anglola

Fundación Internacional del Buen Pastor América LatinaCongregación de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Buen Pastor – Región América Latina. Bolivia-Chile,…

Recording on Facebook
Live on Facebook
Live on Facebook
Live on Facebook

Beijing Remembered …

Friday, September 4, 2020 marked the opening of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China exactly 25 years ago. “The Beijing Platform for Action imagined a world where every woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for work of equal value. As a defining framework for change, the Platform for Action made comprehensive commitments under 12 critical areas of concern.” Read more

Some Good Shepherd Sisters within Asia Pacific attended that historic conference – India, Philippines and Australia. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, document issuing from the conference has informed Good Shepherd Position Papers and ministries.

Then First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered what would be considered as one of the most influential speeches in the women’s rights movement at the United Nation’s 4th World Conference on Women Plenary Session on September 5, 1995 in Beijing, China Read more

A very interesting piece on Beijing, 25 years later: Are women better off? was published in Passblue (Independent Coverage of the UN). Take a look!

In 25 years no country has achieved gender equality. During the COVID 19 pandemic, life for women has worsened with increases in violence and in many situations care of the children and home schooling falls to the mother. On Monday 31st of August the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres held a town hall meeting together with UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. He said and I quote “At a time of growing nationalism and populism, the forces ranged against global solidarity can seem overwhelming. But if we are to meet today’s global challenges, from the climate crisis to growing inequality and the digital divide, we must join together, rejecting sexist and ageist stereotypes that prevent women – and men – from realizing our full humanity.” Read the full statement.

SEE

Linda Wong, Soroptomist International Advocacy Advisor wrote an interesting piece, giving an overview of the the Secretary Generals’ Town Hall with women. A recording of the session can be had HERE

A NEW REPORT: 17 pages ‘From Insight to Action: Gender Equality in the Wake of COVID-19’ published by UN Women in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme – UNDP highlights projections on poverty by sex and age in a post-pandemic world. The pandemic has widened gender and economic inequalities and without gender-responsive policies the crisis risks derailing hard won gains. (Page 3). COVID 19 has pummelled feminized labour sectors; (Page 6) will push million more into extreme poverty; (Page 8) gaps on basic services magnify care burdens; (Page 10) for many women and girls home is not a safe space (Page 12) and page 16 states clearly we have the tool to address the crisis. So, why is the global community not taking action?

CSW64 to address procedural issues on Monday March 9 – otherwise ALL events cancelled.

Update to CSW64 Advisory

Dear representatives registered for CSW64,

In light of the current concerns regarding coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at an informal meeting held this morning, 2 March, Member States decided that the sixty-fourth session of the Commission will convene on 9 March, at 10.00 a.m., for a procedural meeting that will include opening statements followed by the adoption of the draft Political Declaration and action on any other draft resolutions. The session will then suspend until further notification.  

The meeting reiterated the Secretary-General’s strong recommendation that capital-based delegations and other stakeholders refrain from travelling to UN Headquarters. No general debate will take place and all side events planned by Member States and the UN system in conjunction with CSW64 will be cancelled.  

Best regards,
UN Women

2 March 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we have to share this regretful news with you.

Following the announcement by the UN Secretary-General on the coronavirus threat sent on Friday, 28 February, and the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) briefing held on 2 March, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY) Executive Committee has decided to cancel all NGO CSW64 Forum events due to the current threat posed by the coronavirus as per recommendations by the UN Secretary-General, UN Women and the World Health Organization (WHO).

NGO CSW64 Forum events that must be cancelled include: the Consultation Day, Reception, Conversation Circles Space, Artisan Fair, Rally, advocacy trainings, caucuses and all 550 Parallel Events scheduled through our office.

Reimbursements will be given for all events. Please be advised that as it may take up to 4-6 weeks to process everyone’s reimbursement, we ask for your patience in the process. Further instructions will be sent separately to those who have purchased event tickets or venue spaces.

The only refunds we will not be able to honor will be for any ads purchased. Handbooks are in the process of being printed and will be mailed out to those who purchased an ad. Your ad will be available on the NGO CSW/NY website and will be highlighted through our social media channels.

A formal letter by the NGO CSW/NY stating the reason for cancellation to be helpful with hotel and/or airline reimbursements is attached.

We were heartened by the power of women to mobilize at the critical moment! Within 48 hours, we had over 50,000 individuals raising their voices regarding the CSW64. No CSW without NGO CSW and no NGO CSW without women of the world!

The following tweets give some flavour of the discussion on March 2nd

The ‘Marrakech Compact’ was adopted December 2018 – Reflection by Donatus Lili

You may well ask what is the ‘Marrakech Compact’? It is the new name for the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco on 10 and 11 December, 2018 and again adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December, 2018 following a vote.

donatusThe Congregation was represented by Cecilie Kern, (right) from the GSIJP Office in New York, and myself Donatus Lili, the NGO Regional Designate for RIMOA.

The conference was preceded by side events organized by Civil Society Organizations and  Member States in conjunction with the United Nations. I attended 3 side events at Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakech, the official  venue for the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration. (GCM)

In the open discussion following one of the panels, I asked the representative of the donatus 2government of Sri Lanka, what recommendations he would make to governments in the Middle East on developing effective policies and measures to protect migrants’ rights with regard to religious tolerance as persons of African origin have been denied right to practice religion and obliged to wear the Muslim attire.  Further some women domestic workers are subjected to sexual exploitation by employers, endure  harsh working conditions, and only receive minimal salaries.

The response indicated that countries of origin need to teach migrants about their rights, in particular with regard to salaries and ensure that they know how to get help if needed during transits, or in the destination country.

The two days intergovernmental conference consisted of  statements by countries in support of the Global Compact on Migration and two dialogues (i) Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and (ii) Partnerships and innovative initiatives for the way forward.

Of the 193 UN Member States, 164 were present in Marakesh for the  adoption the Compact. Members expressed dissatisfaction and stated that while the compact is non- binding it highlights the obligation of every member state to formulate strategies and policies towards facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration.  The compact is a framework, a blueprint.

His Excellency, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, in his opening statement challenged some myths and false information concerning the Global Compact for Migration and highlighted the need for everyone on the move to obtain formal authorization and that human dignity and human rights must be respected and upheld irrespective of status   To deny this – to vilify any group of people – is the road to dehumanization and horror.  Societies are stronger, more resilient and enriched, not threatened, by diversity.  Every member, every group, must feel valued as such and simultaneously feel they belong to the society as a whole. This is the way to counter the current groundswell of racism and xenophobia.

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Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the former president of Liberia and Chair of the High-Level Panel on International Migration in Africa delivered a key note on December 11, 2018. I had the honor of meeting her after the session.

 

Some personal reflections on the experience:

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) is extremely new to me. While I had done reading I found it difficult to understand. Through my participation in the side events and presence at the official adoption by UN Members states I have some more clarity.  I was confused when the Secretary General stated, “GCM is non –binding” meaning every state is free to adopt or not.   I would have preferred a binding treaty agreement. On the same note, a non-abiding agreement leaves each state free to develop measures and policies to fulfil the 23 objectives.

Attendance at the conference provided me with the opportunity to meet various NGO’s donatus 7who are engaged in migration policy and grassroots efforts.  Among these was Maria Pia Belloni, Chair, NGO Committee on Migration, in New York and UN Representative, World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)  See the NGO Committee Website for more information

My view on migration has changed.  I previously discouraged people from migrating but now I will ensure they have the correction information and migrate in a safe way using legal channels.  Statements that I heard indicated that a holistic approach to migration is necessary.  If there are well established frameworks it follows that the process works for all – including the migrant and the host country.

December 10 and 11 – Intergovernmental Conference to adopt the Global Compact on Migration – Marrakech, Morocco

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity are privileged to have two members present at the historic conference to adopt the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Louise Arbour said the intergovernmental conference is ‘an opportunity to launch an unprecedented process of cooperation to harness the benefits of human mobility. ‘Marakesh Cecilie 3

Cecilie Kern attended the Global Forum on Migration and Development 5 – 7 December and is joined by Donatus Lili from Kenya for the Intergovernmental Conference on Monday and Tuesday.

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You can ready about the conference HERE  Last week we encouraged you to sign on to the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto outlining the following concerns:   Participation, Non-Discrimination, End Violence, Safe Pathways, Labour Rights, Rights at International Borders and Equitable Development.  Today, Cecilie has joined with Civil Society partners on a statement that will be delivered at the opening of the Conference on Monday morning.  Once read it will be available for circulation.  As Monday is the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – what a great day to recognize and officially commit to implement the human rights of all migrants!  The flyer below has some details of the event to be hosted in Marrakesh. Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 5.30.11 PM

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A tweet from Cecilie – Read the compendium on policy, practices and partnerships compiled by the NGO Committee on Migration  Click Compendium

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Some familiar faces from New York!

 

On Day 12 ‘Orange the World Campaign’ Good Shepherd Sisters in the Philippines are featured in the Global Sisters Report

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“Wearing orange on the 25th of every month is a practice followed by a number of sisters and staff of the Religious of the Good Shepherd, Province of the Philippines-Japan. But on Nov. 25, Good Shepherd-run institutions and centers in the Philippines were especially ablaze in orange to commemorate the start of the 18-day anti-violence against women campaign in keeping with the United Nations’ “Orange Day” campaign to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.’  Read the full story at Global Sisters Report    Congratulation to all and well done!

 

The ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’ – English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian

The first ever agreement on a common approach to international Migration in all its dimensions!Cecilie

Click here to read the text of the Global Compact for Migration in your language of choice.

A one-page introduction to the Global Compact for Migration, available in English, Spanish, and French, including essential features of the purpose, development process, significance, political commitments, and implementation plan.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is an intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It presents a significant opportunity to improve the governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.  The process to develop this Global Compact for Migration started in April 2017.  The intergovernmental conference to adopting the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration is taking place Marrakech, Morocco on December 11 and 12.

Some resources

IMG_5861Good Shepherd over the years have attended the Global Forum on Migration and Development which is also taking place in Marrakesh, Morocco, December 5 – 7.  Cecilie Kern is attending this on behalf of us all.  Donatus Lili from Kenya NGO Regional Designate will join her for the intergovernmental Conference on the 11th and 12th December.

Click her to watch the YouTube 2 minute explainer 

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Share with us in the comments box your dreams and actions towards safe, orderly and regular Migration.  What do you consider most important?   Which one of the 25 objectives  is your objective?

Position Paper on Migration and the UN Global Compact on Migration …

Position-Slidshow-banner3As the updated Position Papers of the congregation are launched negotiations of the 5the week of the Global Compact on Migration have just finished – May 4 – 8, 2018Cecilie Profile

We must pay tribute to our excellent colleague and NGO Main Representative to the United Nations – Cecilie Kern – our migration expert – for keeping abreast of the negotiation, supporting in ever way possible the NGO Committee on Migration in their tracking and contributing  to the enhancement the negotiations to ensure the human rights of each and every migrant.  Her dedication and passion in this cause are unrivaled. Here is a Copy of the document start of negotiations on June 4.    Cecilia has provided an update on the current position as we moved into the week of June 4th negotiations. Read more here ETW GCM

 

The Papers are available in all three languages Spanish Documentos de Posición 2018  French Prises de Position 2018  and English Position Papers 2018

This work did not begin today or yesterday but has been ongoing since the year long negotiation leading up to the New York Declarations on Refugees and Migrants in September 2016 – a year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the Sustainable Development Goals.  The New York Declaration give rise to the work on the Global Compacts and here we are on the road to Morocco (10 and 11 December 2018) when the Global Compact will be adopted.  See More about the Conference  It will be preceded by the Global Forum on Migration which Good Shepherd have been engaged in over the years – with regresentatives coming from the Philippines, Malaysia and the GSIJPO in New York.

 

See New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants   Available in Spanish and French.  What is in the position paper on Migration?

  1. Reference to the global situation today and the fact that the Global Compact on Migration is being negotiated.
  2. Why migration happens and what can happen in the process.
  3. Who is on the move today?
  4. Here is our main point of advocacy
  • all persons, regardless of migratory status are rights holders.’
  • protection of migrants is a moral imperative
  • upholding the integrity of the family 
  • ensuring the rights of the child and of spouses
  • avoid criminalization of the migrant 
  • implement human rights and labour rights 
  • no to xenophobia 

5.  Welcome the stranger – recognize and honor difference – listen – accompany – provide services

6.   Critical to responding

  •  cross border OLCGS projects – share with us in the comments box what you are doing.
  • know your local, national and regional reality
  • educate on human rights
  • be gender sensitive
  • focus on long term solutions
  • advocate – human rights, family unity,  no to detention of children, due process
  • address systems and structures that discriminate
  • seeks universal social protection floor policy
  • highlight the need for ‘protection’
  • oppose efforts to restrict migration
  • speak abut the failure to address political , social and economic inequalities

Be eager to see the final edition of the Global Compact on Migration which we expect after the 6th round of intergovernmental negotiation to be held in New York July 9th – 13th, 2018

Make links with the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, 16 and 17

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Document available in 6 UN Languages

The Mission of the Holy See to the UN hosted a side event on June 4 entitled ‘The Protection and Integration of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations.’   This could be a title for our position paper on Migration.  See   Goal:  “to facilitate a reflection and discussion on the main challenges and responses for the protection and integration of migrants in vulnerable situations, especially the selected target groups of women and girls, and families, and the selected target areas of health care and dignified work.”    Read the Holy See reflection on the side event Side Event

Prayer the prayer for June … a prayer for migrants and refugees.  English    Espanol  and Francais

 

 

 

Reflecting on the outcome document of CSW 62

CSW 62 W 3The Commission on the Status of Women –  annually the most well attended event of the UN Calendar – with women for all walks of life coming to the United Nations, New York to advocate basically for the human rights of women and girls. I find a certain tension in the agreed conclusion between the need to address ‘all’ women and girl including those living in rural areas  Paras 2, 3, 14, 25, 26, 32, 41, 42, (c) (l) (aa) (jj) and (ww)  when in fact this year was specifically dedicated to ‘Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women girls.’  Maybe this is reflective of the dynamic tension, enthusiasm, and controversy concerning gender equality that is evoked from start to finish of the Commission.  Is there a fear that some women and girls – ‘those furthest behind’ – might gain at the expense of the whole?  This is impossible as the pre-ambular paragraphs only reference previously agreed, international law and frameworks from CEDAW to Beijing to the Sustainable Development Goals and the agreed conclusion are what they are ‘agreed conclusion’ and not legally binding.

Read the CSW62 Agreed Conclusion – Advanced Unedited Version

While the focus was specifically on ‘rural women and girls,’ yet prior to the commencement of the Commission the was a sense of unease about the meaning of the  phrase ‘rural women and girls.’   A suggestion was made many times that the phrase ‘women and girls living in rural areas’ would be much more acceptable – focusing on the intersection of women and girls and the very specific geographic location where they are living.   While much advocacy was done to have the terminology changed,  the bureaucratic institution of the United Nations approves the concepts used and ‘women and girls living  in rural areas was not one of them’! Likewise girls living in rural areas, while appreciating their visibility in the document,  would like to see their human rights issues addressed specifically and separately  from women focusing on the intersectionality of discrimination against girls and a specific geographic area, the ‘rural’.   Another bureaucratic hurdle for another time.

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Interesting in reviewing the document there are a few times when the phrase ‘women and girls living in rural and remote areas’ – Paras 36, 37 and (aaa) – has been incorporated into the  document – so maybe we as advocates have some new agreed language – referencing these agreed conclusion going forward.  An NGO group advocated to have reference to ‘mountain’ women in the agreed conclusion so I wonder how they feel with ‘remote areas’?  Does that include them?

I found some reflections and comments on the agreed conclusion.  UN Women had this headline –  UN Commission on the Status of Women delivers a blueprint to ensure the rights and development of rural women and girls.   ‘Food security and nutrition, land water, food, work and a life free of violence and without poverty as main issues to tackle.’

Soroptomist International had a reflection contrasting disappointment and rejoicing. One Group sorely disappointed were Widows for Peace through Democracy who were advocating for the inclusion of widows in the agreed conclusion knowing first hand the multiple and intersecting discriminations widows in rural areas experience.

Femnet – the African Women’s Development and communication network commented that CSW62  ‘It is rejuvenating, reenergizing and exciting to have such a progressive outcome document out of CSW…’   If you read on you will see their summary of  gains and losses.   One loss  is that labour rights for women was not shifted to the global level.

Vigil CSW 62We have a comprehensive, complex and eclectic agreed conclusions but where does one begin to implement and  evaluate?  Who is implementing what, where and how?  Apart from the preamblur paragraphs and the closing paragraphs there are three main section:

  • (i) the normative, legal and policy framework
  • (ii) implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all rural women and girls.  But this begs the question which economic and social policies do we specifically need for women and girls.  Maybe the answers are in OP’s  (m) to (iii) What of environmental policies – the effects of climate change, climate induced migration  etc?
  • (iii) Strengthen collective voice, leadership and decision making.   During the first week of CSW 62 we were confronted with the murder of Mariella Franco.  The issue of the inclusion of Human Rights Defenders in the agreed conclusion was contentions up to the end mentioned in Para 42 and OP (rrr).

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 1.39.44 PMAre the two weeks of  CSW merely a time of playing around with words, engaging in political rhetoric,  maintaining national sovereignty and entrenched cultural and religious positions, while being blind, deaf, and unmoved to action  by the daily suffering caused by  poverty,  hunger, and violence that women and girls living in rural areas experience.   The continual lack of food, threats to food security,  no social protection, no land rights, scarcity of water, lack of provision of health care, education and decent work coupled with natural disasters and climate induced migration are features of the feminization of poverty.  A concluding paragraph in Rev 1 of the agreed conclusion read ‘ The Commission call upon Governments to heed the urgent United Nations humanitarian appeal to assist counties facing drought, starvation and famine with emergency aid and urgent funding, and underlines that, if no immediate response is received, an estimated 20 million people, most of whom are women and children, risk losing their lives.’  This paragraph was not in the final document!  READ more …

My answer to the the question I posed above is that such debate at the global level is not only necessary but vital to inching forward gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women living in rural areas.  Action is taken by the very same women who come to CSW year after year.  In the case of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd see our documentary out of India  Mahila – A Women’s Movement Rising

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