The NGO CSW62 Forum (March 11-23, 2018) is held each year during the CSW session. It is organized by NGO CSW/NY, takes place in and around UN headquarters and is the largest Commission gathering at the United Nations.
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY) is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and individuals working within the UN community to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls across the globe. It works in conjunction with the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and UN Women, member states and other UN agencies to amplify women and girls’ voices at the United Nations to ensure that “no one is left behind”.
This year’s CSW Priority Theme was: “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”, and the Review Theme was: “Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women”.
Thousands of grassroots people from around the world come to NY to host parallel events, attend events, network and advocate for the priority themes of the session. The registered attendees are inspired to use the material learned at the Forum when they return home post conference. Over 440 parallel events were organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which provide best practices and insight into techniques that work and lessons learned. Additionally, attendees gain a perspective on problems facing women around the world and how to advance the women’s agenda to achieve gender equality.
The Consultation Day program launches CSW62 with a full day program of speakers and panels to give the sold out crowd of over 800 a taste of what will be happening over the next two weeks. The morning briefings with ECOSOC accredited NGOs (ICJW is one!),UN Women and the CSW Bureau bring attendees up-to-date on important daily happenings especially the status of the Outcome Document being negotiated by members of the CSW (Bureau).
In addition, the Forum includes Regional Caucuses, Advocacy Training, a new and exciting Media Zone where rural women record their personal stories to share around the world, and a Rural Women’s Network. Social events include a Rally, an Artisan Fair and a sold out Networking Reception. Four hundred civil society women were in attendance at the Reception which was held at the lovely Rosenthal Pavilion at NYU overlooking Washington Square Park. I was proud to co-chair the reception which received “best one ever” reviews.
The scope of the Forum requires months of advance planning by a large and very strong all-volunteer Planning Committee made up of members of NGO CSW/NY. We started planning in September and the intensity increases as the month of March gets closer. We love every minute of the experience and are particularly thrilled when it’s successful AND it’s over. We are elated but truly exhausted!
Reported by Madeleine Brecher, ICJW Representative at the UN in New York.