WIDE Network - Globalizing Gender Equality & Global Justice
WIDE is a European feminist network of women´s organisations, development NGOs, gender specialists and women´s rights activists. WIDE monitors and influences international economic and development policy and practice from a feminist perspective.
WIDE Newsletter - January 2008
UN GENDER EQUALITY ARCHITECTURE - STRENGTHENED IN 2008??
By Gea Meijers
After a slowdown of the process within the UN to discuss UN reform and as part of it the recommendations to strengthen UN Gender Equality Architecture (GEA), new developments that may lead to final decisions made in favour of a strengthened GEA are now taking place. Throughout the process women’s organisations have lobbied for the full implementation of the recommendations regardless of what happens with the UN reform as a whole. With the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) around the corner and new developments in the UN, there may be new momentum in 2008 to successfully demand for a strong women’s voice at the UN, at all levels.
What happened in the past six months?
In September, on the last day of the 61st session of the General Assembly (GA), the UN GA was expected to adopt at least one procedural resolution on the UN Reform as a whole, and ideally another one on gender in which the President of the General Assembly (PGA) requested that the Secretary General submits to the 62nd session of the GA a comprehensive report elaborating the various aspects of the proposal to strengthen gender equality architecture taking into account in this regard the views of member states. Both resolutions were drafted by the PGA.
The G77/NAM countries had met a few days earlier to discuss the draft resolutions and it seemed that they had reached a consensus that only one draft resolution on system-wide coherence (no separate resolution on gender) should be presented for action to the GA. Apparently during the meeting many countries within the group reiterated the G77/NAM position of defending the integrity of the process – the G77/NAM had throughout the process objected to the way in which the UN reform was being discussed, among other issues opposing a separate discussion on gender recommendations. Also many of the countries requested more clarity on various issues in the Coherence Panel report, which forms the basis for the UN reform discussions. The President of the General Assembly tried in the days following the G77/NAM meeting to come to a consensus between this position and those of other groups of countries, but in the end nothing was accomplished. Both resolutions were not presented during the last day of the 61st GA.
This was a disappointing outcome given that in the summer member states had discussed the UN reform and as part of it the GEA recommendations in informal consultations.
The President of the 62nd General Assembly, Srgjan Kerim from Macedonia in his January 11th address to member states underlined the importance of making concrete progress on the system-wide coherence process during this GA. In this regard, he has appointed the Ambassadors and Permanent representatives of Tanzania and Ireland to co-chair consultations beginning 8 February. The process will pick up from the recommendations contained in the system-wide coherence report presented by the former co-chairs (Barbados and Luxembourg) in September 2007, where no consensus was reached. They will continue to discuss whether all the recommendations of the coherence panel should be taken up as a package or whether member states can reach a consensus to take up the creation of a new women’s entity separately, and on precise language to do so. These deliberations are expected to last until June, when the facilitators will present a set of recommendations. Since member states have for some time now been discussing the suggestions for reform such as the gender recommendations, it may be that before the end of this GA decisions will be made.
The General Assembly has mandated the Secretariat to provide support to the UN reform process, which will result in further consultations, and eventually the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will present concrete proposals based on these conversations. The SG in his remarks at the G77 “handover ceremony” on 11 January (the ceremony where the new chair of the G77 – Antigua and Barbuda – took over) underlined the need for a more coherent, focused and reinvigorated approach on system-wide coherence, including the gender equality architecture. In his speech, he said “urgent action is required”.
Women keep demanding a stronger position within the UN
In the months following September up to now, women’s organisations have continued to strategise, lobby their governments and talk to government missions at the UN to make them aware of the need for a much stronger architecture within the UN for realising gender equality and women’s empowerment. WIDE has been responsible for coordinating the European Working Group in these efforts. Globally WIDE and other women’s organisations have prepared also a global campaign, called the GEAR campaign, with a global statement that will be launched during the CSW. An important objective of the global campaign is including recommendations about the GEA in the CSW agreed conclusions on Financing for Gender Equality and to keep the GEA recommendations on the agenda of member states.
For more on the GEAR campaign in Europe, please contact Gea Meijers,
For more information on WIDE’s participation in the CSW, please contact
Nerea Craviotto, email@example.com
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