Today was the first official day of CSW55. This morning at 10, all UN entities (government delegations) collected at the UN Headquarters for the formal opening ceremony. The UN sessions are closed to the general public, however, some lucky NGO representatives manage to get their hands on access passes for the public tribune (we will not bother you with the procedures). Kirsten van den Hul, UN Womens-representative for the
Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General spoke about the status of women. She emphasized that we have made progress, but it is not nearly enough. For example, 2/3 of all illiterate adults are women. This figure has not changed in the past 20 years.
Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) gave an impressive speech about the importance of investing in women for social development. He stated that ECOSOC welcomes and supports UN Women, which was met with laud applause from the country delegates.
Then Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, made her appearance. The enthousiastic reaction from the official government delegations confirmed what we observed yesterday amongst NGO delegates: women and men from around the world have set their hopes on UN Women to make a significant difference in women’s status and gender equality in the coming years.
You can watch the full the opening ceremony on film by clicking here.