Thursday, January 29, 2015

NGO CSW/NY Announces 2015 NGO CSW Woman of the Year Distinction Awardee


January 28, 2015 – New York, NY – The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY), one of three women’s committees of CoNGO that advocates for women’s rights and gender equality, is pleased to announce the 2015 NGO CSW Forum Woman of Distinction awardee, Ruchira Gupta from India, founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.
After winning an Emmy for her documentary on sex trafficking, The Selling of Innocents, Gupta started Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-sex trafficking organization in India that empowers more than 20,000 low-caste girls and women and their family members affected by prostitution. She received the Clinton Global Citizen award for giving a voice to the voiceless and for tenaciously standing by the last girl in brothels in Bihar and India.

Nomination now open for March 6th event!

Nominate civil society speakers for the UN President of the General Assembly's High-level Thematic Debate on
"Achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls for a transformative post-2015 development agenda"

At the request of the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is conducting an open process to obtain nominations for 3 civil society speaking roles in the President's High-level Thematic Debate on "Achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls for a transformative post-2015 development agenda," which will take place on 6 March 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. Travel funding will be provided for the 3 civil society speakers that are selected. The roles for these representatives are outlined in Section A below.

The concept note for the Thematic Debate is available at:

Anyone can nominate representatives of civil society organizations via this process. Please read this entire email if you will participate in this process, as it has a few steps and specific requirements. Kindly note: this nomination process is not open to candidates of the corporate private sector.

1. Submit nominations for the following 3 civil society speaking roles
a) One speaker for the opening session, which will also commemorate International Women's Day. This individual must be a chief or executive-level representative of a civil society organization, and acquainted with the conferences and review processes for the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing +20) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD Beyond 2014), as well as the current status of Post-2015 development agenda discussions. For this role, OPGA will prioritize candidates representing local or community-based civil society organizations.

b) One speaker for Panel Discussion #1 on women's economic and political empowerment. This individual should be a chief or executive-level representative of a civil society organization, with expertise on access to decent work and control over economic and productive resources, and/or participation in governance and decision-making. For this role, OPGA will prioritize candidates representing local or community-based civil society organizations, particularly in developing countries.

c) One speaker for Panel Discussion #2 on access to quality education and skills development as tools for empowerment of women and girls. This individual should be a chief or executive-level representative of a civil society organization, and should have expertise on the benefits of increasing access to quality education, training and lifelong learning opportunities for women and girls.
role, OPGA will prioritize candidates representing local or community-based civil society organizations, particularly in developing countries.

Submit nominations for these three roles here:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Last Day for Registration!

Tuesday, January 27th, is the last day for registration.

This will give delegates the ability to attend the formal meetings (space permitting) as well as all the parallel events.

Good luck and see you there!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Creating A Visionary Space

Often at the meetings of the CSW, one is overwhelmed with all that is going on, and trying to understand what actually is being achieved. And where is the best use of your time, and resources.

Something new is being offered at this CSW - A Visionary Space -
For the first time (that we are aware), a new creative visionary space will be held at the 59th  United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Parallel Event in March 2015.
Traditionally, the UN CSW hosts UN & government-led meetings & presentations.  The NGO Parallel Event hosts similar meetings, workshops and presentations led by NGOs from around the globe, all focused on the issues and challenges faced by women and girls around the world.  In a nutshell, in general, both focus on ‘what is’ and what to do about it.

IMAGINE … distinguishes itself on a few fronts.   It invites a creative & visionary focus on ‘what can be’.  Its intention is to create a space to imagine, nurture and continue to birth a future that celebrates the feminine.  This space will be held over a number of days (during the first week of the CSW).  In this, it is a go-to place for people to gather and to host emergent conversations, as well as a space for interactive installations, workshops, circles, performances & screenings in alignment with this intention.

If you are interested in knowing more about Imagine, and maybe helping out if you will be there, check out their web site -

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Important Message and Link to the Political Declaration

There is to be a Declaration to be signed on the first day of the CSW.

There is a Draft out now! Just released....

The link is here

As well, you can check out the list of "National Machineries" - a list of the government departments in each country who will be doing the negotiating. That list is here. For those in Canada, Status of Women Canada is responsible, with Hon. Kellie Leitch as Minister.

Monday, January 19, 2015

National Council of Women of Canada features a special Presentation - "We Used To Be Number One: Canada at Beijing +20"

All are welcome to what will be a very enlightening presentation.

Did you know?
Twenty years ago Canada ranked first amongst nations in international measures of gender equality. In 2013, Canada had fallen to twentieth place in the Global Gender Gap rankings, and twenty-third place in the UN Gender Inequality Index.

United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, 59th Session

Parallel Event:
Date: Thursday, 12 March, 2015
Time: 6:15pm
Venue: Church Center, 777 UN Plaza (at the corner of 44th Street and 1st Ave)
Room: Chapel

Title: We used to be number one: Canada at Beijing +20
Lise Martin, Canadian Network of Shelters and Transition Houses
Ann Dector, YWCA Canada
Vicky Smallman, Canadian Labour Congress
Kate McInturff, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Marilou McPhedran, University of Winnipeg
Dvorah Silverman, Girls Action Foundation

Parallel Event Sponsor: National Council of Women of Canada

More on the Working Methods of the Commission on the Status of Women

A document is being circulated, prepared by the Economic and Social Council, asking for comments on the Working Methods of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Is is slotted as Item 3 in the Provisional Agenda of the CSW. Recommendations are included in this report.

NGOs are being asked for comment to this document on the working methods of the CSW, but the time frame is very short. You can send your comments to: by January 23rd.

The document is approximately 17 pages long. I found it quite reasonable, but was surprised  to find little if any reference to using communication technology, both to spread the availability of the work of the CSW during the meeting of the CSW, as well as sharing the reports and information that is being given at the meetings. As well, there could be a more active on line presence before the meetings for individuals, and possibly NGOs to share their reports and stories on the themes being discussed. 

What do you think? Any suggestions to make the process more NGO user friendly?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Important message from Susan O'Malley, International Federation of Business and Professional Women

 The following is a message with more information for delegates attending the CSW:

1, First a review of dates: January 27th is the last day for ECOSOC accredited NGOs to register for CSW 50. Already UN Women reports as of last Monday 3939 people had registered, significantly larger than last year.

2. January 26-February 19 - on-line sign up to express interest in making oral interventions during General Discussion or during Interactive Panels.


3. YAMMER: everyone who was registered for CSW58 will be sent an invitation to join UN Women's YAMMER, the CSW 59/ Beijing + 20 Network. Do circulate this invitation to interested people in your NGO. (We will watch for it)

4.  The Declaration will be adopted on the first day of CSW 59. It will be commemorative, progressive, comprehensive and not negotiated after day 1.

The reason given is because high level people, presidents, heads of state, etc. will be present on day 1 and commitments and a reaffirmation of the BPfA will be on the agenda. Ministers can go home and say that they adopted the Declaration. Therefore, any negotiations must be done before March 9 and on the national level. The zero draft of the Declaration will be posted at the end of January on the CSW website. Look at your country report on the UN Women's website and the Draft Declaration and make comments to your national delegation before CSW 59. The National Mechanisms for Gender and Women's Affairs (the people to contact in your country) is posted on the NGO CSW/NY website.

5. Working Methods of CSW Document or Ways and Means to further enhance the impact of the work of the Commission on the Status of Women - A document is being reviewed, and comment are to be made at a meeting on January 23. If interested in the process and procedures of CSW, get in touch with the head of your delegation. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Parallel Event on Non-State Torture

This is a topic that two women from Nova Scotia have been working on for several years - and making some gains in terms of making others aware of the fact it exists, it is a serious crime. Find out more about the topic here:
The event will take place: 
Monday, March 9th at 6:15 p.m. Church Centre
Parallel Event Title: Non-State Torture
Sponsor: European Women Lawyers Association, Wales Assembly of Women
National Alliance of Women's Organizations, Persons Against Non-State

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What will shape women's rights over the next 15 years?

This is a good question and the following gives some background as what is being proposed for the Sustainable Development Goals.

From the Guardian and prepared by Carla Kweifio-Okai – 14 January 2015

What should be included in the sustainable development goals to promote women’s equality and empowerment, and will they work?

One of the SDGs encourages the world to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. Photograph: Paballo Thekiso/AFP/Getty Images

Decisions made in 2015 will help shape the women’s rights agenda for the next 15 years. In September, world leaders will endorse a new set of development goals at the UN. The proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs), which will replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), feature a standalone goal on gender, which encourages the world to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
Goal number five of the SDGs currently features nine targets, which are:
  • End all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilations
  • Recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work, and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property
  • Enhance the use of enabling technologies, in particular ICT, to promote women’s empowerment
  • Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality
A target in goal number three – promoting healthy lives and wellbeing – calls for universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Discussions about the content of the goals, which will apply to all countries, began in 2013, and a final draft was published in July. The UN starts negotiations next week on finalising the SDGs.

There will be opportunities to discuss the SDGs at the upcoming CSW!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First Announcement of a Parallel Event

One of the very best parts about attending the CSW is all the events put on by the many NGOs that are part of the event. I will promote some of the events here that might interest you.

One of the issues that has been discussed and debated at several of the past CSWs is prostitution/sex trade, and the Nordic Model in particular. The Canadian Federation of University Women, CFUW,  (a member of the International Federation of University Women) will be putting on this panel that promises to be educational and provide delegates with the reality of many women's lives. You might want to mark it down in your calendars now!

CFUW is supporting the NGO Women Graduates USA panel at the UN CSW New York City entitled: The Necessity of the Nordic Model from SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling For Enlightenment). The panel will be held on March 14th at 2:30 pm on the 10th Floor of the Church Building. Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald will be included as panelists and they will be talking about the reality of non-State torture that occurs in prostitution.

Follow this Blog for more announcements of parallel events as they are published. There will be a full listing on the NGO CSW web site soon.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What To Expect

The upcoming CSW will be different from recent meetings of the CSW in a number of ways. First of all, it is 20 years since Beijing so there will be reviews of what has been achieved, challenges that continue, and the challenges that face us. There are other events/milestones that are occurring that also have made the global women's movement even more aware of how important it is to demand equality, human rights, respect and a life free of violence. All this is leading to a very well attended CSW by many NGOs from all over the world.

Some things we will know ahead of the actual meetings, and thankfully there is the web where there is lots of information and opportunities for sharing. One of the things to realize is that there is most importantly a formal part of the meetings. This is where the actual country representatives meet, and formally discuss and agree to certain resolutions or documents that come out of the CSW. There will be something different in this CSW with a Declaration at the BEGINNING of the CSW, actually one of the first items of business. How NGOs can influence this document is unknown at this time. What Canada's position will be in terms of asking for NGO's input is also unknown. I understand the process is being led by UN Women and ongoing during January, February, with the draft Declaration being agreed to on the first day, March 9th, in the morning.

During the formal meetings, NGO's have limited access, sometimes you can view sessions on the live streaming, and it is not possible for all the NGOs to attend the sessions. Delegations may receive one ticket. There is limited opportunity to actually participate in the sessions.

The organization of the formal work is now available, here.