March 2008 Newsletter

52nd Session of the Commission to the Status of Women


United Nations Headquarters

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women.   NIWEP lead a delegation of over 30 women, which included its partners in the Peace by Piece programme – Training for Women Network, Women into Politics, Women’s Tec, Footprints Women’s Centre – to the 52nd Session from 25 February to the 7 March.

This year’s session saw the Commission, in the context of its new working methods, begin its consideration of issue of financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women through three interactive activities and Following the interactive events in the first week of the Commission, Member States negotiated new policy recommendations (Agreed Conclusions) which are to accelerate implementation of existing commitments, including those in the Beijing Platform for Action.

Below are the themes and issues which were under discussion and up for negotiation by the Commission during the 52 session:

Priority Theme:

Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of womenAs decided in the revision of its working methods and programme of work in 2006 (ECOSOC 2006/9), during the 52nd session the Commission considered a priority theme and an emerging issue. In addition, the Commission also reviewed implementation of the agreed conclusions (recommendations) on a theme considered at an earlier session.

Emerging Issue:

Gender perspectives on climate change

The emerging issue was considered through an interactive expert panel. Five to six experts on the chosen theme provided information and insights based on experience from research and analysis, policy development and programme planning, implementation and monitoring. A brief discussion guide was provided in advance by the Division for the Advancement of Women.

Review Theme:

Women’s equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution in post-conflict peace building

The review of the agreed conclusions on “Women’s equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace building”, adopted by the Commission at its 48th session in 2004, took the form of an interactive dialogue. Discussion was initiated by initial interventions by keynote speakers. A brief discussion guide was provided in advance by the Division for the Advancement of Women

Indicators on Violence against Women

This workshop is in response to the General Assembly resolution 61/143, on “Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women”. The Commission organised a joint workshop with the Statistics Commission to consider the development of indicators on violence against women during the first week of the Commission.


Overview of the Agreed Conclusions


Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women


The Commission on the Status of Women wrapped up its fifty-second session adopting wide-ranging agreed conclusions on “financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment”. 


The Commission’s concrete recommendations, among others, urges Governments to integrate a gender perspective — and increase women’s participation — in the design, implementation and monitoring of economic plans and strategies, in a co-ordinated manner and across all policy areas, including in national development, social protection and poverty reduction.





Key Issues identified to be considered by Governments:


·           raising awareness about investing in women and girls as a vital component towards achieving sustainable development for all

·           providing an important input to the preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to review implementation of the 2002 Monterrey Consensus, to be held in Doha, Qatar, next November


·           providing a significant step forward in advancing the global policy agenda on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women. 


·           encouraging scaling up investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment through mainstreaming a gender perspective in resource allocation,


·           ensuring the necessary resources for targeted activities for gender equality and the document recommended ways for ensuring resource allocation in economic policy and public finance management, specifically noting that national plans for gender equality should be costed and their implementation adequately resourced.


·           detailing the role of national machineries for the advancement of women and of relevant governmental entities in financing gender equality.


·           draws out actions for strengthening institutional frameworks, accountability mechanisms, and capacity-building in order to systematically incorporate gender perspectives into budgetary policies and processes at all levels.  


·           recommends actions to strengthen the knowledge base, tools and methods for measuring progress in financing gender equality and gender-sensitive analysis of macroeconomic policies.


·           conclusions recommend that the differential impact of trade policies on women and men be addressed, and that the focus and impact of development assistance specifically targeting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls be strengthened.



Women’s Equal Participation in Conflict Prevention, Management and Conflict Resolution in Post-Conflict Peace Building


Key Issues Identified


·                     Participants confirmed that attention to gender equality issues and women’s full and effective participation in peace processes and peace building was crucial in the promotion of gender equality, as well as in ensuring the sustainable and effective reconstruction of political, social, economic and legal structures in countries emerging from conflict.


·                     Peace building and reconstruction efforts were windows of opportunity for accelerating the elimination of discrimination and violence against women


·                     Participants called for intensified efforts to integrate gender perspectives at every stage of conflict resolution and peace building, including resource mobilization and allocation, human resources development, research and data collection, communication strategies, knowledge management, capacity-building, and monitoring and evaluation efforts at local, national and international levels.


·          More secure funding was needed for gender equality issues in post

conflict reconstruction, including for institution-building, legal reform, women’s economic empowerment and basic services, and to bridge the gap between reconstruction interventions and development cooperation. Participants called for increased resources to strengthen women’s participation in peace processes and peace building, including increased core budgets, innovative funding measures and adequate funding for gender equality expertise, including in relevant departments of the Secretariat


A full report including papers can be found at www.niwep.org.uk

Peace by Piece – UN and EU Training


Northern Ireland’s Women’s European Platform recently provided a training package for a delegation travelling to the 52nd Session of the Commission to the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York.  The Training included:


·               The role / structures of the United Nations

·               The work of the UN in promoting gender equality – its  international conventions and treaties

·               The work of the Committee to the Status of Women and the Committee to the Convention for all Forms of Discrimination


This course has now been ILM Accredited. 


Liz Law and Irene Miskimmon have begun a 3 day training programme with those participants of the peace by piece programme.  The first training session will include:


•          What is the E U?

•          Why was it set up?

•          Who can join?

•          How does it work?

Anyone wishing to find out more please contact Training for Women’s Network Tel:  028 90727975.


International Women’s Forum


The International Women’s Forum members in Northern Ireland are organising a Conference on the theme of “Women Building Peace” to take place on Saturday 19th April, venue Holiday Inn, Belfast.


The Theme is a focus on what contribution women and women leaders can make to peace and stability in our countries and communities.  This is very much a theme which emerged as a critical area of concern in a report of the 4th World Conference on Women Beijing 1995.


This is intended to be an event in which participation from the invited audience will bring many different perspectives and experiences to bear in developing ideas and sustaining and supporting those already working in this field.


There will be a roundtable discussion about the contributions that women can make from community level through to engagement with the democratic process and in their various fields of work.  The seminar will conclude with lunch at 12.30pm.


If interested in attending please contact Sharon.Brennan@publichealth.ie


Launch of the CEDAW Report


On International Women’s Day NIWEP, the Equality Commission Northern Ireland and the NI Human Rights Commission launched their commitment to preparing shadow CEDAW reports (Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) for submission before the UK Government reports to the CEDAW Committee from June-July 2008.


Anyone requiring a copy of NIWEP’s report please contact niwep@btconnect.com  A summary is being produced and both report and summary will be available on the website.

Post Carbon Cities


Belfast City Council has teamed up with Action Renewables to host the seminar on Post Carbon Cities at the NI Science Park, on 2nd April at 12.00.

The keynote speaker is Daniel Lerch, the author of Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty, the first major local authority guidebook on peak oil and global warming. A program manager with Post Carbon Institute, Lerch has worked on urban planning issues for over ten years in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He is also a co-founder of The City Repair Project, an award-winning non-profit organization working on community public space issues.

The registration will commence at 12 with a lunch and the seminar will last from 13 – 14h. If you are willing and able to attend please contact Julie Casson at Action Renewables, Julie.casson@actionrenewables.co.uk , or (028) 9073 7861.

Women: Stabilizing an Insecure World

International Conference on International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day in Brussels on the 6 March Benita Ferrero-Waldner the European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy opened a conference with three main issues on the agenda:

·               How should the EU address the impact on women of the new threats to security, from climate change, environmental degradation, international crime, religious fundamentalism and terrorism?

·               What concrete steps can be taken to increase women’s contribution to human security at a local level and to expand that contribution to regional, national and international spheres?

·               How can the EU do more to tap into women’s contribution to conflict prevention and resolving crisis situations like in Palestine, Iraq and Sierra Leone? In today’s world good mediators are more vital than ever; we cannot afford to ignore this potential source of expertise. Women should be empowered to make their full contribution at the peace table and in post-conflict reconstruction. And how can we reinvigorate the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325?

Full details and outcome of the event can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/ferrero-waldner/women_en.htm

Vacancy for Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality

The post of Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality has been published on 14 March 2008 in the Official Journal of the European Union (C 69 A). An advertisement will also be published in a newspaper in each of the 27 Member States.

The vacancy notice and the application form to be completed by applicants are available on the Europa website at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/personnel_administration/working_senior_mgt_en.htm

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is carrying out a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and one of the first countries to be reviewed is the UK on the 10 April from 10am-1pm in Geneva. 

Here is a reminder of the UPR objectives:

·               The improvement of the human rights situation on the ground;

·               The fulfilment of the State’s human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges  faced by the State;

·               The enhancement of the State’s capacity and of technical assistance, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned; The sharing of best practice among States and other stakeholders;

·               Support for cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights;

·               The encouragement of full cooperation and engagement with the Council, other human rights bodies and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform submitted the permitted 5 page report which includes the need to fully implement UNSCR 1325.


Update on the reports and further information can be found on: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/


Empowering Women in West Africa


UNDP has joined forces with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to empower rural West African women with diesel engines, and, in doing so, boost their incomes. The centrepiece of the project is a diesel-run engine mounted on a chassis, called a multifunctional platform, or MFP, to which a variety of processing
equipment can be attached, including a cereal mill, husker, battery charger,
and joinery and carpentry equipment.