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CSW56 Concludes without Agreement on Agreed Conclusions

Message from the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) about the latest CSW Meetings.

The 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) met in New York from 27 February to 9 March 2012. There were 2015 representatives registered, and 429 organizations, including IFUW.

Unfortunately, after two weeks of negotiations and stalemate, the CSW ended without reaching agreement on the Agreed Conclusions that are traditionally adopted at the end of each session. The theme of Rural Women was of great importance to women around the world, since rural areas have the greatest unmet needs for education, security, mitigation of climate change, reproductive health rights and services, land ownership and rights, economic stability and inclusion in post conflict resolution, conservative elements made the negotiations difficult. This divergence of opinions is deeply disappointing.
Divergent views on gender, reproductive health and rights, and religious and cultural rights appear to have been a principal stumbling block.

Comment from the IFUW President: A call to action
It has become increasingly difficult in recent years to reach consensus on the ‘Agreed Conclusions’. It should therefore be no surprise that finally the stalemate could not be broken. Language on areas such as gender, sexual and reproductive health and women of all ages has become increasingly contentious and open to deliberate misinterpretation.

In addition, a number of Governments that were strong supporters for the promotion of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) have become much more conservative and have been unwilling to continue to move forward in its implementation.

Given this situation, we must become stronger and more strategic advocates for the BPfA. This will require starting to work NOW with our national governments, both legislators and civil servants, to ensure that delegations go to the CSW to promote the implementation of the BPfA. Also, we must urge our governments to include gender experts in their official delegations, if they are not already doing so.
As the CSW has been unable to reach agreement on the relatively uncontroversial issue of rural women, it is unlikely that they will be able to reach agreement on a more controversial topic such as violence against women, which will be the topic of the next CSW. We must therefore ask whether there is a more productive way to reach agreed outcomes. Perhaps we should consider reverting to Resolutions?

Finally, but importantly, we cannot work alone. Governments are unlikely to listen to individual women’s organizations, so we must try to work in coalitions on issues on which there is broad agreement.
In the upcoming months, IFUW will be working on its plan of action for the next CSW and will be communicating with you further on this issue.

This is a link to the UN Department of Public Information release on Ms. Bachelet’s comments.

Filed under: CSW,IFUW News

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