For the Agreed Conclusions click here.
This year’s CSW produced setbacks in already agreed upon language from the Beijing Platform for Action. Negotiations between on the one hand: the Holy See, the Organization of Islamic States (Qatar, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria) and Benin (on behalf of the Africa Group), and on the other hand: Switzerland, European Union, Turkey, and Mexico, disagreed primarily on the terms “gender”, “gender mainstreaming”, “gender equality”, “gender based analysis”, “sexuality education”, “sexual and reproductive health”, “maternal health”, and WOMEN’S RIGHTS.
Opposition to these terms was strongly argued by the Holy See and the Africa Group. As a result of their efforts, references to early marriage and early child bearing were completely removed. On top of that, these delegations repeatedly asked for a “redefinition” of the term “gender”, to add “men and women” after this term, or to footnote reference to the definition included in the BPFA. They argued that if not defined as ‘men and women,’ gender would come to mean homosexuality, what these delegations fervently oppose. Gender equality as a term is now only used twice in the entire text!!
Allies for women’s and girls’ rights and choices, gender equality, and justice, tried their best to defend the universality of rights, and to prevent a move to "pre-Beijing ages". A statement by the EU delegation that was written as a response to the final version of the Agreed Conclusions, shows the concern about the developments during the CSW:
[…] we note with disappointment the concerns expressed throughout the negotiations by some delegations with regard to concepts such as “gender” and “gender stereotypes”. This language has been fully agreed in the past, including in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and is entirely consistent with efforts to promote the realization of gender equality. As such we were, and will remain, unwilling to go back to pre-Beijing concepts. Mr President, we hope that in the future, delegations can in fact move forward from agreed language and continue to further the overriding objective of the Commission, which is to accelerate and develop the full enjoyment and unhindered exercise of equal rights for women and girls all over the world. […]
For the full EU statement, click here.
What is to be done with the experience of this year’s CSW? By establishing links and connections between (women’s) organizations, a strong network can be build to advocate for the rights of all girls and women!! Also, keep an eye on the upcoming Commission on Population and Development (11-15 April) that will be on “fertility, reproductive health and development”.
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to come to the CSW de-briefing at WO=MEN in The Hague on April 4th (3-5 pm)!