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2013 report

Madeleine Brecher, ICJW Representative to the UN  Committee on the Status of Women, reports on its 2013 activities.

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY has been very active during 2013, with two well-attended members’ meetings in May and June. The topic for May was "Calling All Experts: What have we learned from CSW 57?" In June, members were briefed on "The Post-2015 Agenda: What’s Next?"

Over the summer, NGO CSW/NY continued its important work enlightening member states, UN entities, and other stakeholders about Beijing + 20: A PROPOSED Global Campaign for Women which would focus on ensuring the successful IMPLEMENTATION of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. There is NO call at all for renegotiating commitments within the document. The goals of the global campaign are:

1.      Social mobilization to engage and empower stakeholders across the world to advocate for the implementation of BPfA.

2.      Resource mobilization to strengthen the capacity of UN Women to support said implementation.

3.      Promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by ensuring gender mainstreaming in the post-MDG 2015 process.

This global campaign for women is expected to be formally introduced by the Ambassador from Iceland to member states at the high-level sessions coming up in September during the GA. The next two years will be very important in determining how gender equality and women’s empowerment fit into the post-2015 development agenda and NGO CSW/NY is an early and important player in the deliberations. ICJW’s representative to the committee has been involved in the process from the beginning.

Since June, NGO CSW/NY has held over 20 meetings with Ambassadors, UN entities, member state personnel, and other stakeholders to introduce the campaign and to update them on how to focus on the themes most relevant to the status of implementation of Beijing in their respective countries. In addition, NGO CSW/NY is forming partnerships to connect stakeholders with policy-level advocacy and inter-governmental processes.

On July 10, 2013 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa would serve as Executive Director for UN Women. She replaces Michelle Bachelet who resigned in March to run for another term as President of Chile, at a time when many perceive a global backlash against women’s rights. Mlambo-Ngcuka was the most senior female politician in South African history. She departed abruptly when President Thabo Mbeki was ousted by his own party, the African National Congress.

Mlambo-Ngcuka arrives at the UN at this crucial time as debate is beginning on the post 2015 development agenda.

The NGO community was able to hear the new Executive Director in action at the UN Women executive board meetings held at headquarters in September. She spoke passionately about the importance of the NGO community as partners in the coming years and she is well aware that her primary job will be fundraising for UN Women so they can fulfill their strategic plan. During those same meetings, the Deputy ED of UN Women presented their vision for attaining gender equality and women’s empowerment for the post- 2015 development agenda. It was essentially the same as the proposed Global Campaign paper that NGO CSW has been highlighting and just what will be presented to member states by Iceland’s Ambassador.

The NGO community was very excited to hear that we are all on the same page. (The NGO CSW/NY Executive Committee and Advisors had a photo op with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka after the presentation.  Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has been invited to address the October NGO CSW members’ meeting entitled Preview: CSW58 along with the newly elected chair of the UN CSW Bureau from the Philippines. (In the photo below, she is wearing the yellow suit, and Madeleine Brecher, ICJW’s representative and NGO CSW/NY Advisor, is second from the right.)