Friday, March 9, 2012

5th Women’s World Conference in 2015?!

A proposal to held a 5th Women’s World Conference in 2015 will be put forward to the General Assembly of the UN on behalf of Secretary Seneral mr. Ban Ki-moon and on behalf of President of the General Assembly, mr Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. Early this morning at the last NGO Briefing Ms. Ana Marie Hernando (Philippines), Vice-Chair of the Bureau of CSW 56, confirmed that the chef of the Secretary General’s Cabinet yesterday indeed made an intervention under Agenda item 5 of the CSW. Both gentlemen will embark on a process of consultation as the member states note only have to agree in the General Assembly), but also have to provide the funding to organise the conference. The official statement is to be found on the UN-Website. Possiby this link does not work - inthat case one should try to search at the UN-website: latest statements of the gs, date March 8 (

The 5th Women’s World Conference is to take place in the year 2015: the target date of the Millennium Development Goals and the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

San Francisco?

No reference was being made by the Bureau nor by UN Women to the place that ought to host the World Conference. The city of San Francisco organised in collaboration with San Francisco based NGOs several site events during CSW 56 to promote their beloved city as THE place for the next Women’s World Conference. One of the strongest arguments the organisers put forward was that San Francisco not only had implemented the Beijing Platform for Action, but also CEDAW – the US is one of the few countries that did not ratify CEDAW.

We raised a few questions during these side events, amongst others to find out whether the ‘SF-committee’ did consult any international and regional women’s organisations and networks and/or the Coalition of Labour Union Women (CLUW) – the answer being NO.

Consultation with civil society organisations?

Given the timing of the announcement at the CSW the General Secretary apparently did not want to encourage the process of civil society consultations straightaway. It seems, however, imperative that women’s rights organisations discuss the pro’s, con's and preconditions, not only national and regional, but also at an international level. Hopefully the upcoming AWID Forum in Istanbul in April can provide the space for such conversations. The Forum could be used as a platform to start an inclusive collaboration of women’s organisations at regional and international level to coordinate lobby and advocacy efforts with regard to gender equality and women’s empowerment at the level of the UN.

In the discourse the suggestion of the Huairou Commission could be taken into account: do not make it a UN World Confenrence, but a UN Forum (comparable with the Habitat Forum).

In the Netherlands the NGO’s will request a dialogue on the subject with the government, to be finalised before the international consultations in the UN will start.

Leontine Bijleveld

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