Monday, February 28, 2011

Youth lobbying for amendments to Agreed Conclusions

After giving ourselves about 1,5 day to catch some breath from the first full-power week of CSW, we were eager to get back to work again by the time it was Sunday afternoon. We had some quick sms and e-mail mobilization, and in the evening we met with Michiel Andeweg and Nathalia Pereira Vredeveld of Choice for Youth and Sexuality, and Maria Inés Romero and Sarah Kennell of Youth Coalition at the UNFPA office, to discuss our input as youth present here in New York, on the developments of last week, particularly the first draft of the Agreed Conclusions on the main theme.

Our amendments

It was truly inspirational to meet with this group of young people (19-28) with such clear opinions and ideas on how we could improve the conclusions. Within an hour we had formulated some concrete amendments. We all went back to our hotels and e-mailed around our input to each other. By the time it was 23:30, this document was the result: 4 concrete suggestions for amendments, referring to SRHR and HIV/Aids related issues, as well as a supporting comment on the removal of religious barriers, and the importance of acknowledging that different forms of the family exist around the world.

Though WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform is not a youth organization by itself, we do believe that working with youth is incredibly important. Being a hybrid network of individuals and organizations, we have played a role these days at the CSW in bringing various levels (you could also read years) of experience together and supporting NGO delegates of all ages to find each other and work together.

Lobby

Today we armed ourselves with 130 copies of the suggested amendments and headed to the Informals, where the government delegations discuss page by page the comments made by each country on the draft Agreed Conclusions. We handed out our amendments to every government delegate we could lay our hands on. In that way, we came to talk to delegates from a.o. Malawi, Austria, Zambia, Chile, and of course our own delegates from the Netherlands and the EU. We were truly pleased to find that many of those we did not know personally yet, were very open to us approaching them, and they were asking us to explain what this one-pager was about. We are confident we did the best we could to get our points across. The coming days it will be up to the delegates to pick these issues up and use them during the formal discussions.


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