IWTC WOMEN’S GLOBALNET #348

ACTIVITIES & INITIATIVES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE

 

NAVIGATING THE 53RD COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN: A QUICK GUIDE FOR NGOS

February 19, 2009

Joeyta Bose

 

  1. GETTING A UN GROUNDS PASS
  2. CALENDAR OF CSW EVENTS
  3. PARTICIPATION & ADVOCACY AT OFFICIAL CSW MEETINGS
  4. NGO CONSULTATION DAY: MARCH 1
  5. BRIEFINGS FOR CSW BEGINNERS: MARCH 2
  6. DAILY MORNING BRIEFINGS
  7. CAUCUSES 2009
  8. NGO RECEPTION

9.   NGO ARTISAN FAIR: MARCH 5 

 

The 53rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), scheduled to kick off for two weeks on March 2, 2009, is expected to bring together 5,225 representatives from 460 organizations worldwide. While the commission presents NGOs with a unique policy space where they can parley and advocate with governments, their robust participation is critical to the commission’s success as well as to follow-up action on its outcomes. In addition to official CSW meetings, this year’s commission offers participants 297 parallel events that will be organized by NGOs and UN country missions and agencies. This edition of GlobalNet provides an overview of the NGO package of events and opportunities, and presents highlights that could make navigating the CSW a little easier.

 

1. GETTING A UN GROUNDS PASS

In order to access the UN Secretariat Building to attend official CSW meetings and parallel events, you will need a UN grounds pass. On-site registration will be held at the NGO registration desk, located in the lobby of the General Assembly Building, which can be accessed through the visitor’s entrance at 46th street and 1st avenue.  You must bring a copy of your registration letter and a valid photo ID (such as a passport or a driver’s license) to complete the process. Hours for the NGO desk:

Friday, Feb 27:  10:30 am to 12:30 pm; 2 pm to 4 pm

Saturday, Feb 28: 10 am to 4 pm only

Monday, March 2: 8 am to 12.30 pm.; 2 pm to 4 pm

Tuesday, March 3 to Thursday, March 5: 9 am to 12.30 pm; 2 pm to 4 pm

Friday, March 6: 9 am to 12.30 pm

Monday, March 9: 8 am to 12.30 pm; 2 to 4 pm

Tuesday, March 10 to Thursday March 12: 9 am to 12.30 pm; 2 to 4 pm

Friday, March 13: 9 am to 12.30 pm

 

2. CALENDAR OF CSW EVENTS

The NGO CSW Committee is responsible for scheduling the 237 NGO-organized parallel events and has released a calendar that can be accessed at:  http://www.ngocsw.org/en/events/csw53/parallel-events

Most events mentioned on this calendar take place at the Church Centre building (777 UN Plaza, on the corner of 44th street and 1st avenue) which is a hub for NGO activity during the CSW. This calendar will also be available on the Division for the Advancement of Women’s website along with a separate calendar of 60 events sponsored by UN missions and agencies.  A week before the CSW, the calendars will be found at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw53/NGO.html#parallel

Any changes to these calendars will be made available on these websites as well through a daily schedule of events which may be picked up at the Church Centre, the morning briefings (see below – pt. 6) and at the DAW information desk in the Neck Area of the Conference Building (between the Vienna café and conference room 2)

 

3. PARTICIPATION & ADVOCACY AT OFFICIAL CSW MEETINGS

Official CSW meetings, i.e. those where UN member states debate and discuss the issues at hand as well as negotiate on the commission’s outcomes, are usually open to NGO representatives. These take place in Conference Room 2 from 10 am to 1 pm and then from 3 pm to 6 pm, Monday to Friday, for the duration of the CSW.  There are two opportunities for NGO interventions through oral statements during these proceedings – (1) at the general discussion and (2) at the interactive panel. Given that time for these interventions are limited, preference is given to those who wish to make a statement on behalf of coalitions or caucuses. Requests for these speaking slots must be made no later than February 27 via e-mail to csw53@un.org. 

 

- Requesting a slot during the general discussion

Those who wish to speak during the general discussion must put the name of their organization/coalition or caucus in the subject line of the e-mail; and clearly indicate in the e-mail, the topic(s) covered by the statement (in summary form), the organization(s), the name of the speaker, the speaker's e-mail contact address, and a local telephone or cell number where he or she can be reached. Once DAW has received all requests, it will contact those who are chosen with more information about other requirements. Further, oral statements during the general debate should not exceed three minutes (i.e., about two pages double-spaced using font 12). In addition, 22 copies of the statement must be delivered to the DAW information desk (in the Neck Area) the day before the general debate begins.

 

- Requesting a slot during the interactive panel

Oral statements during the interactive panel are usually made in the form of comments and questions to the experts on the panel rather than in the form of prepared statements. DAW will communicate via e-mail to those who are approved for these three-minute slots.

 

4. NGO CONSULTATION DAY:  MARCH 1

On the Sunday (March 1) before the official start of the CSW, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women has organized an NGO Consultation Day to welcome NGOs and provide them with background on the themes that will be covered and the processes that will take place during the two-week-long commission. This year’s Consultation Day, which begins at 8 am and concludes at 5:15 pm, will include presentations by experts on the priority theme as well as a plenary on the opportunities and challenges for NGO advocacy and participation.

 

Following a box lunch that will be provided as part of the registration fee, participants must choose to attend one of eight breakout sessions:

- Women, care-giving and HIV/AIDS

- Women, Education and Training

- Violence Against Women

- Older Women

- Women and Climate Change

- Review Theme: Equal participation of women and men in decision-making at all levels

- Emerging Theme: Women and the Global Financial Crisis

- Women and Poverty

While the morning sessions offer some space for questions and answers, it is the breakout groups that offer real opportunities for dialogue and alliance building around issues.

 

 NGO Consultation Day is the first opportunity to see who is attending the CSW (there will be no list of participants).  In addition, each registered participant will receive a resource packet which includes a summary of the preparatory roundtable discussions, a copy of the secretary-general’s report on the priority theme, a map of the UN and surrounding neighborhood as well as a CSW handbook that contains the essential schedule of events. Those who are not attending Consultation Day can pick up a copy of the handbook, while supplies last, at the Church Centre, during the Craft Fair or at the CSW office at 708 3rd Avenue.   

 

This event will take place at the New York University Medical School, Farkas Auditorium, located at 550 1st Avenue (between 31st and 32nd). There is a $65 registration fee to attend which can be paid online via credit card or by sending the committee a check in the mail, accompanied by a form that can be downloaded from the committee’s website. Successful registrants will receive an e-mail containing a printable badge that should be brought to Consultation Day as proof of payment. More information about registration options can be found at: http://www.ngocsw.org/en/events/csw53

 

5. BRIEFINGS FOR CSW BEGINNERS: MARCH 2

For CSW first-timers as well as NGOs interested in a refresher course, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women will hold an orientation session at noon on March 2 on the 2nd floor of the Church Centre. The program will cover how to get around the UN and the CSW, how to make sense of UN jargon, special procedures and protocols that NGOs must follow and the agencies involved in the CSW and the advancement of women. In addition, UNIFEM Australia will be organizing session entitled “A Beginner’s Guide to CSW” on March 2 at 6 pm on the 10th floor of the Church Centre.

 

6. DAILY MORNING BRIEFINGS

One of the best ways to keep informed of what’s on the agenda each day for government delegates as they work their way through the Agreed Conclusions is to attend the morning briefings from 9 am to 9:45 am in Conference Room 2 at UN headquarters. These briefings take place every day of the commission, except on Monday, March 2 and Thursday, March 5.

They are intended to provide information to NGO participants on various issues of interest and will include an overview of the previous day’s activities and updates on the activities to come.

 

7. CAUCUSES 2009

As advocacy and coalition building are the primary activities of most NGOs attending the CSW, the caucus space is extremely important.   Caucuses provide an opportunity for NGOs to come together and discuss issues, formulate collective positions and develop strategies and language to influence the Agreed Conclusions.  This year the NGO Committee will provide space in Conference Room B for the following caucuses:

 

(A) Regional Caucuses: Regional Caucuses offer an opportunity for NGOs from a particular region to come together and formulate a regional perspective (if possible) and a lobbying strategy on pertinent issues.  They are open only to individuals from countries in the specific region and are led and sponsored by several organizations from the region.  There are five regional caucuses:  African, Asia Pacific, Western Asian, Latin American/Caribbean and European.  The dates and times of these caucuses are as follows:

- African Caucus: Tuesday, March 3, 10 am; Wednesday, March 4, 11.30 am; Monday, March 9, 10 am; Wednesday, March 11, 11.30 am

In addition to the regular caucus meetings, the African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) will hold an orientation about the caucus and the CSW on Saturday, February 28, at 2 pm on the 2nd floor of the Church Centre.

- Asia Pacific Caucus: Monday, March 2, 1 pm; Wednesday, March 4, 10 am; Monday, March 9, 11:30 am; Wednesday, March 11, 1 pm

- Western Asia Caucus: Tuesday, March 3, 2:30 pm;  Thursday, March 5, 10 am; Tuesday, March 10, 10 am; Thursday, March 12, 11:30 am

- Latin America and Caribbean Caucus:  Tuesday, March 3, 1 pm; Thursday, March 5, 2:30 pm; Monday, March 9, 2:30 pm; Wednesday, March 11, 10 am

- European Caucus: Monday, March 2, 11:30 am; Thursday, March 5,  11:30 am; Tuesday, March 10, 11.30 am; Thursday, March 12, 10 am

 

(B) Beijing +15 Caucus: In preparation for the 2010 CSW, which will mark 15 years of the Beijing Platform for Action, the NGO CSW committees in New York, Vienna and Geneva have started to brainstorm and plan for the events, advocacy and celebrations that will be held to mark this occasion next year. All NGOs attending the CSW are encouraged to attend the Beijing +15 Caucus, which will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays (March 2, 4, 9 and 11) from 4 pm to 5 pm, to share input and ideas for next year’s commission.

 

(C) Coordination Caucus: This caucus will meet every day of the CSW from 5 pm to 6 pm and will act as an important connecting space for NGOs who can share information and advocacy strategies around the CSW themes, as well as devise advocacy strategies that can be implemented to influence the CSW’s outcome document, the Agreed Conclusions.

 

(D) Miscellaneous Caucuses:

There are three other caucuses on the calendar:

- A youth caucus will take place on Tuesday, March 3 at 11.30 am and Wednesday, March 4 at 1 pm for those who work on and are interested in working with youth.

- A girl’s caucus, which is meant to be a space where girls who are registered as CSW participants can connect and discuss their issues, will meet on Monday, March 2 at 2.30 pm

- Those interested in mental health issues can attend a caucus on Wednesday, March 4 at 2 pm.

 

7. NGO ROOM AT THE UN

Conference Room B at the UN will be the NGO room for this year’s CSW. The room is equipped with a photocopy machine – those who wish to use it must bring their own A4 (8.5 inches by 11 inches) paper.  The room will be used for NGO caucuses and meetings, as well as a repository for official documents and NGO flyers. NGOs are welcome to place their materials on the tables for others to pick up or use the bulletin board outside to pin up notices.

 

8. NGO RECEPTION: MARCH 3

NGO representatives, government delegates and UN Secretariat staff are invited to attend the NGO Reception on Tuesday, March 3 from 6 pm- 8 pm at the Turkish Centre, 2nd Floor (located on the corner of 46th street and 1st Avenue).  The reception is hosted by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women and will include the presentation of their annual Woman of Distinction Award to Rachel Mayanja, Assistant Secretary-General Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women.  There is a $35 fee to attend the reception and you can register at:  https://www.ngocsw.org/en/register/csw53-ngo-consultation

 

9. NGO ARTISAN FAIR: MARCH 5

Anyone bringing crafts or other artisan goods to the CSW may showcase and sell these at the one day Artisan Craft Fair held on the second floor at the Church Centre on Thursday, March 5 from 10 am to 4.30 pm. There is no charge to get a table at the fair, but one must register in advance at https://www.ngocsw.org/en/register/csw53-artisan-fair

 

Alternatively, registration forms can be downloaded from  http://www.ngocsw.org/files/2009-artisan-fair-registration.pdf and e-mailed to suzanneeharvey@earthlink.net

 

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