Friday, February 6, 2015

Update from UN Women and other news

February 5, 2015,
Some important updates below.

UN Women Update:


1100 organizations have registered 8600 individuals to attend CSW 59
Official UN Side-events = 188 (133 in the first week) schedule will be available on the UN Women website the 3rd week in February. 


UN Women will begin shortly to send out advisories to the NGO organization delegation organizers as they did last year with details such as hours and times of registration.

Good news there are no secondary passes this year! However, Please note Each organization will only be issued 1 special event ticket to attend the opening ceremony, and for each of the ministerial roundtables. 
The opening ceremony will take place in the General Assembly and the entire first day will be in the GA. Conference Room 4 will be an overflow room all day and Conference room 1 will be an overflow room for the opening ceremony. All meetings will be webcast.

After the first day, CSW 59 plenary sessions will take place in conference room 4 and conference room 1 will be the overflow room, again all the plenary sessions will be webcast.

If you have an annual UN Pass that will be sufficient to get you into the UN building; New this year; if you have attend a CSW in the last 3 years and your information is in the computer they plan  to have a separate line and to have your ID badges pre-print those badges and you will not have to be photographed, cutting down on the time & numbers in line. When you enter the building you need to let the greeters know that you attended before.

We have been asked to remind you that as in previous years you must bring a copy of your letter of confirmation and the grounds pass form, there is no ability or computers available to print them out for you at registration. You must also, have a government issued photo ID to register.

Will begin on Thursday, 5 March in the afternoon, will be available Friday, for Saturday & Sunday (hours will be expanded until 8:00 pm ) and then every day of the commission. Watch for notices being sent by UN Women and their web-site for the exact hours. (They are requesting that NY area based individuals to register early to avoid the crowds on the first few days). If you have an annual grounds pass you do not need to register the first few days but if you want your organization to receive credit towards your re-accreditation that you attended you need to check in when lines are not as long.

Substitutions of Pre-registered delegates:
If you need to make changes to your delegation the deadline to make those changes is 12 February, 2015, none will be accepted after that date.

Speaking Spots during the Panel General Discussions (Q &A): 
NGOs will be allowed to sign up to speak during the general discussion portion of the panels. There will be 6 sign off sheets, watch the website for the lists.

NGO written  Statements are now available on-line (


UN Women events:
Sunday, 8 March - Public March hosted by the City of New York, UN Women and NGOs to celebrate the International Women's Day. Details are not confirmed yet watch for the website for details
Tuesday, 10 March - Public concert at the Manhattan Center (save the date announcement recently sent out)
Friday, 13 March - All day Intergenerational Dialogue

Substantiative Issues: 
Ms Mlambo Ngcuka (ED UN Women) will be sending a letter to all the national gender ministries asking that this year delegations include at least 50%  civil society  and also, the highest level of ministerial members. She further is asking that civil society should be considered experts and have the ability to negotiate with the delegations.

UN Women & NGO CSW/NY has received many questions/comments if it is important to come to this CSW, if the negotiations are going on now without NGOs. Lopa Banerjee responds this way to those concerns: This CSW is important, the outcome of this CSW is the Beijing Platform for Action; there is nothing undecided about this commission therefore we do not need an outcome document. This is a 20th anniversary review year the same format occurred  at the 5, 10 & 15 year anniversaries. What we do need is high level ministerial commitments to action, it is crucial to get the ministers to sign off and take ownership of BPfA recommitment. What we do need is when all the high level people from capitals are in NY for NGOs/civil society to push for implementation, in fact this will be the space where we should push for an accelerated implementation. NGOs need to work as hard as ever.

On 23 January, UN Women hosted a workshop for governments and civil society to discuss the working methods. The discuss was very enlightening and some governments shared their issues and concerns about the working methods as openly as the NGO reps who were present. Members of the Bureau and the commission listened intently to civil society and it is clear that the message was heard by the facilitator and those working on the draft  look at bullets 18, 19 & 21.. while it's not perfect it is an opening of the door.

The two processes currently being negotiated are the declaration and the working methods of CSW (see below the 1st reading drafts, they are also available online on the UN Women's website). 

We have been asked to make it clear the declaration is meant to be a political declaration and needs to be signed by the top level ministers if there is to be an acceleration of the implementation back in the capitals. Therefore, the negotiations will be concluded well in advance of csw and declaration will be adopted on the first day.   It will be finished in about 2 more weeks. They believe it will give it more weight. The document is not a place that the bureau plans to insert new issues other than giving UN Women it's legitimacy as the secretariat but they see this declaration as a recommitment to BPfA (which still remains the stronger document in the UN system on gender). We have even been told in discussions with the bureau that governments have been asked to restrain themselves. The document currently 3 pages will be short, concise and action oriented.

Lopa suggests that civil society shouldn't focus on the timing of the negotiations but rather that it is up to us (civil society) to make sure that in the governments push to have a short, concise document that we don't lose out  we need to hold governments accountable, we need to ensure there is funding for civil society organizations, that there is space for civil society and to most importantly as the focus turns to reducing the number of goals for the SDGs that the Gender goal remains there. Recently, there have been articles in the economist, in the guardian about the need to reduce the number of goals. Jeffrey Sacks and the Gates Foundation are supporting the decrease in numbers and collapsing goals.. they're not talking about human rights & gender equality and they have a powerful voice so she charges civil society to keep the pressure on to retain a gender goal. 

Some strategies she suggests is that we focus on individual member states who can put the language we need in... We need to find friends in the G77, the EU, and of course, the Nordics.

There is some wiggle room of the adopting of the working methods and there may be some negotiations happening at the beginning of csw but they do not want late night sessions.Lopa shared that this is the time to not only rally our troops in the capitals but we need to make a concerted effort to get to the members of the commission ow while they are negotiating. She also, made what I believe is a good strategy that we cross check which members of the commission are also on the 3rd committee and really focus on those people as they will be seen as the experts in gender by all members. We need to be strategic and not ask everyone for all our wants we need to figure out who would be comfortable raising a particular issue.

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