Thursday, December 18, 2014

Highlights of a report from Bette Levy, Representative to the UN from Soroptimist International

There was an NGO Briefing by Ms Kanda Varjrabhaya, Chair of CSW 59 that Bette Levy attended. Here are the main points:

Madam Kanda Varjrabhaya attended the brifing and was introduced to the NGO committee. M. Kanda lives in Bangkok. She is the former Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security for Thailand, and past Chair of ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children. There will be 2 co-facilitators this year, one from the global north and one from the global south.

The Commission is mandated to review the BPfA and the accomplishments and challenges over the past 20 years. The Commission is called upon to strengthen the equality of women and the rights of women during the Post 2015 deliberations. She stated that governments need to work with NGOs, especially womes organizations to ensure this happens. A strategic time with the confluence of the Beijing +20, and the 70th anniversary of the UN, the end of the MDGs and the new SDGs, the 15th anniversary of 1325 and the 20th Anniversary of Copenhagen, and the World Platform for Action for Youth. For gender equality, CSW remains the primary place for empowerment of women and girls and their human rights. 

Note: There will be no agreed conclusions (outcome document) negotiated during CSW but rather on the first day of CSW 59, member states of the Commission will sign onto short, concise, and action oriented declaration and that will be negotiated prior to CSW 59.  This is a first.

UN Women will craft the first draft and that will be reworked by members of the bureau for a starting point for the members of the Commission. The work will begin in January and be completed by March 2. THERE IS A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS PROCESS. WHERE WILL THERE BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE THE DOCUMENT BY THE NGOS? HOW COME IT WILL BE DONE BY THE FIRST DAY OF THE CSW, AND NOT NEGOTIATED DURING THE MEETING?

There will be no "emerging issues" discussed, but rather the session will be totally on the BPfA.

There will be a very high level event for at least the first 3 or 4 days of CSW. Extensive participation by Ministers. There will be some opportunity to network with experts, researchers and other stakeholders. Focus: crosscutting, systematic approach.

UN Women signed a historic MOU with the City of New York. During CSW there will be several joint events sponsored by UN Women and the City of New York.

So far: 2500 registrations and 522 organizations registered.

Neither the Bureau nor UN Women set the rules around access to the UN, that is done by UN Safety & Security. There is major concerns that this year because of the topic that there will be a huge number of  attendees and security is concerned about the capacity of the rooms for the main CSW program. There continues to be discussion about having a secondary pass which will mean organizations will have between 2 -3 badges to share among their 20 delegates. But nothing has definitely been decided yet. We should no more in January, when there is a better idea of the actual numbers. This will be the first year that the commission will take place totally within the GA building and the Conference building, since the renovations began. The north lawn building will not be used at all. So security is trying to figure out capacity. These secondary badges would only be to enter the main sessions as far as side events go there will be the same system as always that individual sponsors will hand out temporary passes for the event. Individuals are recommended to sign up (rsvp) as soon as the program is available on the website to the event organizers, capacity is often an issue here too.

440 applications for parallel events have been received and all are being reviewed. Additional space will be needed.

There will be a briefing in late January to cover more of the logistics.

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