Sunday, March 15, 2015

Starting week 2 at CSW59

The second week of CSW59 is about to begin. Many NGO representatives as well as a number of government delegates have left New York after the official Ministerial participation (the country statements to be found here), and a full week of side- and parallel events. It has become quiet. And we have all had some time over the weekend to step back and see where we stand and what is at stake in de week to come.

This is of course the resolution on the Working methods. A new version after a third reading was compiled just before the weekend. The official negotiations about the resolution will continue in the coming week.

What is the general opinion of civil society on the resolution so far?
There seem to be two sentiments:
1. One is careful optimism about the content of the draft resolution. The link with Post-2015 is in there (whether naming of the Sustainable Development Goals will make it through the negotiations remains to be seen), involvement of civil society is captured (although some clarification is needed on some wording being used about the amount of civil society representatives that can participate), and the norm setting role of CSW and with it the commitment to Human Rights and empowerment of women and girls is recognized.
2. The other is sentiment is worrisome. The worry being that this resolution will not be an improvement compared to the last resolution on Working Methods five years ago if some issues are not mentioned in the resolution. Such as an explicit recognition of the role of women’s and feminist organizations in references that are made to civil society.  
As we enter the second week, what seem to be issues that will be put on the negotiation table?

Review and framing
One issue that is important for the CSW in the years to come is the framing of ‘review and monitoring’ of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. This is important because only a clear and explicit review and monitoring framework will capture what has been achieved. Such a framework is not meant to ‘blame and shame’ some countries, but it will also be a guide-line for donor countries to see where future funding is needed.

Norm setting role of CSW
The norm setting role of CSW is important to retain. This wording on the international role of CSW has been under threat in earlier versions of the resolution by Russia and the African Group. They merely want to refer to its ‘important’ or ‘catalytic’ role. This year Uganda and Djibouti are speaking on behalf of the African Group.

Timing of adoption of end document
There is a rumor going around that there are several countries who want to make it general practice that the end document will be adopted on the first day of the CSW. And negotiations taking place in the weeks before. This means that negotiations are mostly being done by the missions of countries instead of the delegates. There are two main arguments why the end document should be adopted at the end of the CSW. One is to provide international civil society with the opportunity to engage better with the negotiations. Especially since the majority of organizations are not based in New York and would therefore not be present during the negotiations. Secondly, to provide that same opportunity to several countries from the Global South who do not all have full-time staff at their missions in New York to carry out negotiations for the CSW. These countries are dependent on their delegates, who are only present during the CSW.

It will be interesting to see what other issues come to the table as week 2 of CSW unfolds itself.

Sanne Holtslag, on behalf of WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform