NEWW Member Reports from CSW, March 2014
New York, 10-21 March 2014. People of the world interested in women’s issues are keeping an eye on events and waiting for the final conclusions to be published by the 58th Session of UN Commission on the Status of Women. By Elene Rusetskaia, Director, Women's Information Center, Georgia
These conclusions will determine a new line in improvement of women’s status. The main topics are Millennium Development Goals, challenges and post-2015 agenda. UN member states, UN Agencies and accredited NGOs having ECOSOC status are talking on progress and challenges worldwide.
In 2015 will be twenty years from world women’s conference, which was held in Beijing. Declaration of Beijing for the improvement of women’s status, as well as action plan, which besides Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, became a guiding document to achieve gender equality and enhance women’s capacities, have been drawn up at the conference. Conference held in New York on 10-21 March may be considered as a preparatory event, where participants discussed what challenges exist and what else is to be made prior to world women’s conference. 2015 is a very important year. Member states will have to present a report on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
8 targets are determined in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals. UN member states discussed the process of fulfillment of goals, its results and emphasized existing challenges and achievements in girls’ and women’s issues. At the conference, participants had a unique opportunity of attending meetings, sharing experience of foreign colleagues, presenting achievements and challenges of their countries and determining new prospects, taking into account general situation.
Difference in views, as well as in traditional and cultural characteristics of countries, made the participation in the conference even more interesting. Because of large scope of the conference, it was impossible to attend all events, though modern technologies allow staying current and being aware of what is going on at different sessions, side events, listening to official speeches and sharing your opinions and recommendations with others.
Throughout the conference main issues, which are of high priority and urgent for the women of all nationalities, have been outlined.. It is necessary to give attention to them in the post-agenda. It was mentioned that in order to improve women’s rights, a diversified approach and gender mainstreaming with all possible means are necessary.
Today women are facing important challenges. Despite of the progress of humankind, which is so much felt in our everyday life, millions of women need positive changes. Important characteristics of gender dimensions – issues of women’s unpaid work, violence against women and girls, sexual and reproductive rights, women’s access to assets, gender gap in remuneration of labor and women’s participation at all levels of decision making, discriminative social norms and practice – are not reflected in Millennium Development Goals. It was mentioned many times at the conference that in order to achieve better results in terms of full protection of women’s and girl’s rights, economic crisis, existing conflicts and circumstances should be considered during discussion of issues.
Participants agreed that efforts of international organizations and civil sector are not enough for sustainable development. Political will of States and more investments in gender equality issues are necessary. Every government must realize that gender equality is an essential characteristic for sustainable development.
Within the scope of different sessions, participants of the conference touched upon all the important topics. Violence against women, access to the resources and increase of women’s participation at all decision making levels, effectiveness of the use of modern information technologies – this is an incomplete list of the issues that were subjects of debates.
At 58th Session of UN Commission on the Status of Women the Network of East-West Women was represented by its member organization from Georgia – Women’s Information Center. Two representatives of the organization watched over the events, participated in sessions and side events. Attendees of one of the side events organized by Global Fund for Women, among others listened to the presentation of Women’s Information Center. During discussion of final draft conclusions, WIC participated in development of recommendations by NGOs. At the side event organized by Global Fund for Women representatives of South Caucasus, North Caucasus/Russia and Central Asia made their presentations.
Within the scope of this side event, participants discussed challenges for countries, actions of NGOs and plans drawn up. Despite of the fact that working experiences of organizations, as well as opportunities, problems and approaches existing in different countries vary, common problems were also identified – these are violence against women, religious and national extremism, intolerance to the values of women’s movement and feminism, negative impact of existing conflicts on women’s status, low participation of women in decision making process at all levels, and necessity of the development of cooperation and partnership networks, as well as need for the use of modern technologies, involvement of youth and mobilization of human and financial resources.
In addition to raised questions, new proposals were also voiced, a desire of drawing up new guidelines reflecting all positive experience, which will be used by colleagues from different countries, was expressed.
I have to mention that when I was talking about challenges of the country in my speech, I mentioned violence against women as one of the issues. As an example, I mentioned a case that took place prior to my trip to New York – 58 years old man kidnapped 12 years old girl with the purpose of marriage. This case outraged Georgian society. While making my speech, I could not imagine that I would encounter worsened statistics and new tragedies on return. I spent ten days in total in the USA, and within this period, 7 cases was reported in Georgia – kidnapping of under-age with the purpose of marriage, rape, torture and murder of under-age. I guess we all agree that existing situation requires urgent response from the Government, NGOs and society.
2015 is important year for Georgia, at least because in 2015 report on the Action plan 2012-2015 for UN Security Council Resolution must be presented. In 2014, local self-government elections will be held in Georgia and the picture of women’s political participation will illustrate our striving for democracy and development of the country.
58th Session on the Status of Women showed once again the diversity of women’s and girls’ problems, importance of the consolidation within the country, as well as at regional and national levels, and necessity of the development of global women’s movement.
It is noteworthy that at this year’s session Georgia was well represented. Vice chairperson of 58th Session of UN Commission on the Status of Women, former representative of Georgian mission and for now representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in United Nations, Nelli Shiolashvili, opened the official session, at which Chairman of the session was formally elected. Also the head of Georgian mission in United Nations opened a side event related to the reproductive health. Tinatin Khidasheli, the member of the Parliament of Georgia made a speech. She spoke about the problems and situation of national and religious minorities in Georgia.