Contributing to CSW62 Zero Draft Document Through Student Engaged Learning

Members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) made one more effort in achieving a successful visit and a participation at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) during 12-23 March 2018.  We contributed to the final document of CSW62 or Zero Draft Outcome Document –  “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Used as a resource and standard for policy-making and programming on the topics covered, the Zero Draft aims to establish a legal framework work for gender equality that member states agree to support after the CSW.

Our submission highlighted mountain women and proposed the following edit in the first sentence of the NGO CSW/NY CSW62 Zero Draft Outcome Document, topic Education, Employment and Technology, Paragraph #3: “Initiate a vocational transformation for girls from agricultural and domestic activities to entrepreneurship skill-set building:” “Collaborate with NGOs and academia to develop co-curricular pedagogy that is inclusive, timely, relevant and able to enhance the lives of rural and mountain women including through student engaged learning while empowering them to be the primary forces of change in improving their communities.”

In addition, we contributed to the efforts of several non-governmental organizations (NGO) in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council to submit a request to make an oral statement at CSW62 before the official deadline on February 19, 2018. Since thousands of NGOs are registered for participation at CSW62, only very few of them could be allowed to make a short presentation during general discussions if they speak on the main themes of CSW62 and represent regional groups of NGOs.

Since 2016 UIMF members engaged in joint advocacy of the mountain women at CSW62 with the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), the Mountain Institute (TMI), and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (UCFISH&D&C), three prominent NGOs accredited under ECOSOC. Those NGOs already submitted a written statement for CSW62 (E/CN.6/2018/NGO/37) which has been distributed for presentation by the UN Secretariat on 7 December 2017.

The statement focuses on the lack of attention from international communities to numerous challenges faced by mountain communities and women in particular, along with the crucial role of the Mountain Partnership in implementation of three mountain targets among SDGs globally. As one of the important initiatives both to advocate for the mountain women cause at the UN, and to implement mountain targets in the interaction with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, the statement also highlights the student engaged learning model developed at UVU, a Mountain Partnership member since 2006.

In order to recruit a group of NGOs as co-sponsors for the oral statement, my colleagues and I made an appeal through the Mountain Partnership Secretariat  to 13 its members, NGOs in consultative status with the ECOSOC. As a result, Euromontana and the Millennium Institute (MI), two of the most prominent NGOs agreed to join three above mentioned NGOs as co-sponsors of the oral statement. Due to that,  the request to CSW62 to make an oral statement was submitted on behalf of five prominent NGOs. Currently, we are waiting for response from CSW62 whether they have accepted our request.


This initiative establishes a new mechanism for MP members to be more active in joint advocacy of the mountain targets among sustainable development goals (SDGs) during high level UN forum on implementation of SDGs and 2030 Development agenda.

It represents a follow up for one of the recommendations which was agreed by more than 220 participants during the Fifth Mountain Partnership Global Meeting at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) in Rome, Italy on 11-13 December 2017 to improve advocacy for mountains in major global processes and to promote joint communication efforts, in order mountains to be fully addressed and statements are fully taken into account,

Yanko Dzhukev, Vice President of Global Affairs and Outreach, UIMF