After the general business, there was an interesting talk as below.
“The Successes and challenges of CSW58 in 2014”, a presentation by Ms. Hayley Richardson, Policy and Advocacy Officer for UNA-UK.
As editor of UNA-UK’s excellent publication “New World” and co-ordinator of their Policy Advisory Group, Hayley has a leading role in developing and implementing their programme to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. This year she made her first visit to New York to attend the Commission on the Status of Women event, CSW58, as did Sally Spear, Vice-Chairman of WAC-UNA.
Hayley said in the first week of 5 days, there were over 6000 NGO delegates, 2000 people from the UN, staff, representatives of regional organizations etc., 100 UN or member state side events, over 300 NGO side events. Hayley had previously asked UNA-UK members and supporters what subjects they thought she should focus on at CSW58. Comments came from over 300 people, with 150 personalized messages. For her report on the CSW58 meeting and the results of the questionnaire, look as www.una.org,uk/news/14/03 .
The main theme of CSW58 was the challenges and achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. UN members’ representatives discussed this, and with difficulty completed the outcome document, “Agreed Conclusions”. Hayley had attended events about:-
* the low percentages of women in politics
* the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Rashida Manjoo, who said a legally-binding international treaty on violence against women was needed – stronger than in CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women); that a standalone treaty is needed because WHO (World Health Organisation) describes VAW as an epidemic.
* Women, Peace and Security (experiences of women activists from Syria, South Sudan).
* Tackling social norms and traditional practices which hinder women’s equality. Justine Greening from the UK, Secretary of State for International Development, wanted to remove the excuses for allowing such practices.
The UK‘s GEO (Government Equality Office) met often with civil society, the UK NGO women, and the UK NGO CSW Alliance to exchange information. To improve gender equality and human rights, liberal women try to overcome conservative pushbacks of people resisting changes – and more funding is needed. Some want more sexual and reproductive health and rights; to widen the limited definition of a family; they oppose states preserving what are considered by many to be undesirable traditional and outdated views on women protecting own sovereignty rights.
The main objective for the UK, and our civil society’s top priority, is to have a standalone goal on gender equality included in the post-2015 framework AND for the gender targets and indicators to underpin all other goals.
Hayley ended by stating that UN member states have sent a clear signal that any set of ambitious goals will never be fully achieved without realizing the rights of women.
After some discussion and questions, Sally Spear thanked Ms Richardson for this clear and most helpful presentation.