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ngo committee on the status of women - plans for 2015

Madeleine Brecher, ICJW's representative on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, outlines their plans for 2015. 
 
The big news this year will be CSW59/Beijing + 20 scheduled for March 9 through 20, 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Women and the NGO CSW/NY are already fully engaged in preparations in what is being cast as the most important CSW that will be held in our lifetime. UN Women, not around during past major women’s conferences, is laying the framework for the session and global women know that we MUST, working together, rise to the occasion and achieve most of what we set out to do.
 
Twenty years after its adoption at the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995, the Commission will review the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. B+20, the review, will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first 5 year assessment conducted after the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action (BP4A), which highlighted further actions and initiatives.
 
Additionally, the session will address current challenges that affect the implementation of the BP4A as well as opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda. The review will be conducted at national, regional and global levels.
 
During the first week of CSW, UN Women will hold a high-level CSO (Civil Society Organization) intergenerational dialogue. It is time to educate and prepare a new generation of feminists and boys to carry the mantle for gender equality in the coming years. A task force in now being formed to prepare a concept note on this dialogue and UN Women will ultimately bring all on-board to market it and ensure its success. This dialogue aims to look at how to strengthen the political operation of the women’s movement. There has been an erosion of civil society’s role and the time has come to prepare policy recommendations to strengthen the global women’s movement. This intergenerational dialogue will be a day- long event with a plenary session, multiple panels and probably a Reception for participants.
 
The second major UN Women undertaking will be a global civil society dialogue which will be part of the special high-level Global Leaders’ Summit in December 2015 in Paris. The Conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world. UN Women’s objective is to get heads of state and civil society attendees to commit to priorities of the BP4A. Reviews will have been completed and it will be time to push for implementation.
 
In the months between CSW59 and the 70th Regular Session of the high-level UN General Assembly (UNGA 70), UN Women will convene national governments to determine what BP4A priorities nations commit to. They will also map and examine what civil society is doing in the regions. Where nothing is happening, the UN will convene consultations at the regional and country level. It is important, they claim, to safeguard the space of civil society to act as political actors as we all work to reach a new generation of feminists. The term “feminist” is being brought back with deliberate political implications in lieu of the “women’s movement” language. Another goal is to fill in gaps with older women, and bring other sidelined groups into the mainstream. 
 
Women have struggled for years with how to bring men and boys on board in the fight for gender equality. At this important juncture, UN Women has put human and financial resources into solving that missing link. The young actress Emma Watson has been named celebrity spokesperson for the launch of the HeForShe Solidarity Campaign. The heforshe.org website seeks to enlist one billion men to become advocates and agents for change; gender equality is not only a women’s but a human rights’ issue that affects all of us.
 
It seeks to liberate women AND men from prescribed social roles and gender stereoyypes.
Our ICJW UN colleagues in Geneva have been quite involved with planning the NGO Forum with NGO CSW/Geneva scheduled for 3-5 November. We wish them much success with their civil society undertaking and look forward to reading their report at the close of the session.