UIMF Continues to Discuss Online Zero Draft Outcome Document for CSW63

To further prepare for the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in 2019, on November 16th, 2018 from 8:30 to 9:30am, UIMF again participated in a conference call session led by the NGO Commission on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY). This session was the continuation of a session held on November 2nd, 2018, in which a number of civil society participants from around the world, led by Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the United Nations, and Jourdan Williams, Youth Representative to the United Nations for the International Health Awareness Network, gathered via video call to discuss topics, concerns, and groups of people that will be included in the Zero Draft Outcome Document of CSW63 (see http://utahimf.org/archives/3980). The November 16th session built off of the previous one and was characterized by more in-depth contributions by the participants, including greater, more specific implementation of language advocating for mountain families, women, and girls in the draft on the part of UIMF.

Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the United Nations speaks during online session,

The session agenda was more abbreviated that before, partly because the participants were the same as before, but also because more time was needed by them to add language about their individual concerns. In this regard, UIMF was more effective than before in adding specific language about mountain women, about Utah Valley University’s (UVU) student engaged learning model, nontraditional students, and how education can empower students to have both professional advancement and contribute in a meaningful way to the UN 2030 Development agenda, particularly for the advocacy of mountain women and sustainable mountain development.

The working document for the Zero Draft is organized according to topics relevant to the priority theme of CSW63 (see http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw63-2019), including topics such as Education, Health, Human Rights, and Infrastructure. Because the working document is an amalgamation of many civil society concerns, it is important for participants such as UIMF to be detailed in proposed concerns and potential language, so that the language will have a better chance of being included in the actual Zero Draft. Equally important is the inclusion of sources that back up proposals, which can be official UN documents, international agreements, scholarly studies or other research, or otherwise.Michael Hinatsu during online session

By providing detailed language and citing important sources such as UN documents, studies, and official statistics, UIMF was much more successful in this session with contributing in a meaningful way to the potential Zero Draft document. As a result of UIMF efforts, the issues that mountain women face, as well as UVU’s engaged learning model and facts concerning nontraditional students, are now integral parts of the working document. In fact, UIMF’s contribution to the Education section constitutes a substantial portion of the proposed language offered by civil society, citing the engaged learning method as well as how UIMF members have used the model to contribute to UN forums on sustainable development. UIMF also was able identify with a civil society participant from Canada, who, like many UIMF coalitions, has been advocating for specific issues regarding education among adult women at the UN level for many years, with no results.

While many of UIMF’s contributions to the first conference call session relating to mountain women were removed afterwards, by providing detailed language and citations in this session, language about the problems faced by mountain families, women, and girls, as well as language advocating UVU’s student engaged learning model and nontraditional students was not only incorporated in the working document, but the leaders of the project stated that such contributions were not only meaningful but necessary to the document. This is a very important step in UIMF’s efforts to get mountain women into the language of the Zero Draft document. Furthermore, UIMF is continuously building relationships with other civil society members, whose concerns intersect with the mission of UIMF, which makes our efforts more relevant and opens up the possibility of better coordination among civil society.

Michael Hinatsu speaks during online session

UIMF will continue to attend subsequent sessions to contribute to the Zero Draft, which will be crucial in making sure that mountain women are included in the negotiations for both the agreed conclusions of CSW63 and global sustainability efforts. Additionally, UIMF is continuing to lobby the UN Secretary-General, President of ECOSOC, and 46 member states who gave Voluntary National Reviews at the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development, particularly 14 who are members of the Mountain Partnership, in preparation for CSW63, where UIMF has submitted a written statemen and is planning a parallel event advocating for student engaged learning to advocate for sustainable development, in particular for mountain women and girls.

Michael Hinatsu, member, UIMF