Taking Action: CSW Smorgasbord
by Kimberly Weichel
I’m delighted to send you this article from New York, where I am participating in the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meetings held at the UN. This is the first week and it is an extraordinary experience to share with thousands of our sisters as we focus on an array of key issues affecting women. There are formal sessions held at the UN, and then a smorgasbord of programs organized by NGOs held near the UN. There is so much to attend it is hard to choose!
CSW is a commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of member states gather at the UN to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards, and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. Representatives of NGOs are also invited to attend.
This CSW is particularly important as UN Women is being publicly launched. UN Women – known formally as the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – was established by the General Assembly in July last year, with the merger of four former UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).
I attended the exciting launch of UN Women last night, and heard the new executive director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile, say “I am determined that UN Women will be a catalyst for change, offering new energy, drawing on long-standing ideas and values, and bringing together men and women from different countries, societies and communities in a shared endeavor.”
She laid out five thematic priorities: 1) expanding women’s voice, leadership and participation; 2) ending violence against women; 3) ensuring women’s full participation in conflict resolution; 4) enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and 5) advancing gender equality priorities central to national, local and sectoral planning and budgeting. These are all important priorities for Peace X Peace!
UN Women’s establishment, applauded around the globe, offers a historic opportunity to unleash progress for women and for societies. All of us attending hope that UN Women will be given adequate funding and resources to ensure it can be effective.
And now, back to choosing which workshop to attend this morning. Hmmm – should I go to Voices of Grassroots Women, Reducing Violence Against Women and Girls, New Research Findings from the Arab World, or Proposal for a 5th UN World Conference on Women? I wish YOU were here! I hope you’ll plan to attend next year, so we can cover them all and share our stories.
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