Sunday, March 16, 2014

On the eve of the second week - where do we stand?

Tomorrow the second week of CSW begins. During the weekend most of us have taken the - much needed - time to relax a bit, catch up informally, and gather strength for the week to come. A new version of the agreed conclusions is expected tomorrow morning at the latest, and will be negotiated the coming days. This new text will include the facilitator's proposals, taking into account all that has been written and said by government delegations during the reading last Thursday and Friday (which ended at 1 'o clock Friday night!). Everyone is awaiting the new text full of aspiration...

In a recent interview with AWID, activist Cynthia Rothschild - an active member of the international Women's Rights Caucus in which WO=MEN members also participate - highlights a similar sentiment that was echoed by those who were present at the EU briefing on Tuesday. What it comes down to, and I am using my own wording now, is that civil society calls on governments to go beyond "holding the line" on what has already been agreed to years ago, but to go forwards and be ambitious - by really placing women's human rights, women's empowerment and gender equality at the center of sustainable development. This of course taking into account that this year's CSW is about the challenges and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals from a gender perspective, and the lesson we learn from this for the Post-2015 development agenda. 

Considering the good news coming out from the conference room about the Thursday-Friday negotiations, we are positive that this CSW will end with an agreement, which will reflect progress. The atmosphere in the room is good, delegates are respectful towards each other and listen. And the group of likeminded countries, which advocate for progress on contentuous issues such as sexual and reproductive rights and recognition of the marginalization of people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity - is bigger than ever. The EU, which in recent years has split up over sexual rights, continues to have the same, shared position on including SRHR in the text. So we are ready! Let week 2 begin.... 

= Joni van de Sand, WO=MEN =