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The 62nd Commission on the Status of Women

Worldwide representatives and officials gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to discuss the matters of women and sustainability

28.03.2018 |

On March 12th 2018, the 62nd CSW session was opened at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

There, for 11 days, women, men, state and government officials, as well as member states and NGO representatives from across the world – including WECF – gathered to discuss ways “to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere”. 

Main Theme and Discussion Topics

With the main theme being the “challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”, speakers addressed some very important issues. These involved: impunity, comprehensive sexual education for girls, discriminatory attitudes towards rural women, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and many others. In addition to the official event, side events were organized by participating NGOs including one hosted by WECF for the screening of the Gender and Chemicalsdocumentary, featuring case studies from Nigeria and Indonesia.

Raising awareness through facts and data was an important part of the event, as a way to bring about change in existing policies and legislations. With a particular focus on rural women and girls, key discussion topics revolved around unequal accesses to information, finances, education, health care, as well as social services and justice they face compared to their male counterparts.

Official Side Event

WECF together with UN Women and the German Ministry of Development Cooperation (Bundesministerium für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit) convened a side event with the title "Turning Promises Into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” at the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN in New York. At the heart of the event was the presentation of the UN Women report “Turning Promises into Action” which had already been launched in Berlin, Nairobi and New York in February 2018. 

World Water Day

As the 2018 World Water Day fell during the CSW62, this session gained historic importance as it was the first time in the entire decade that access to water was on the agenda. Priscilla Achapka, from Women Environmental Program (WEP) Nigeria, took to the stage global water issues, especially those faced by women and girls living in rural areas – like in Nigeria. “Water affects everyone, no matter where you are, who you are”, says Priscilla. However, climate change-derived water issues disproportionately affect women, and in this, Priscilla calls for dialogue, collaboration and partnership to resolve current water problems and to lead the way for long-term successful sustainable development.

Feminists demand Climate Justice

APWLD, WECF's partner in the Women2030 Programme send out a press release during the CSW : "Over 100 Civil Society Organisations and Activists Oppose Crackdown By Poland to Protest at COP24"

115 civil society organisations and allies globally are deeply concerned about the passage of the Bill, ‘On specific solutions related to the organization of the session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Republic of Poland’ in the Polish parliament that will prevent environmental rights defenders to protest against detrimental climate change policies.

WECF Executive Director Sascha Gabizon was interviewed for Deutsche Welle: Poland clamps down on environmental defenders ahead of UN climate talks

Poland recently passed a bill that bans spontaneous protests and allows police surveillance at this year’s world climate summit. Civil society groups say Poland wants to silence environmental defenders.  

"Poland has signed all these international agreements. We think it's essential that there is a lot of pressure from EU member and UN member states to repeal the law. It would set a terrible precedent if this is allowed to go on," said Gabizon.

Gabizon even questions whether UN climate talks should take place in Katowice at all if Poland does not withdraw the bill. "The UN stands for human rights defense. They should not hold this event in Poland if the Polish government cracks down on basic human rights,” she said.

Conclusions  CSW62

Many important conclusions were reached and agreed upon, among which: increased financing and official development assistance in order to leave no rural woman or girl behind, their full and equal participation at all levels of decision-making, and the enforcement of legislations to end discrimination against rural women and girls. To this, we can add the implementation of fiscal policies to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, building and strengthening access to funding, sustainable energy and other technologies in climate change mitigation, increasing finances for quality, affordable and accessible health care facilities and services for rural women and girls, as well as the strengthening of HIV/ AIDS prevention, treatment and care in rural areas. These were accompanied by plenty other promising conclusions driven by the #FeministVision.

More information and full conclusions: 

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