On November 29 at 10:00am, Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in a third 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 16th, 2018, in which a number of civil society participants from around the world, led by Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the United Nations (UN), and Jourdan Williams, Youth Representative to the UN 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 29th session continued in-depth contributions by the participants with a focus on the topics of human rights and access to justice.
The duration of this session consisted of presentations by interns and representatives affiliated with NGO CSW/NY on a number of topics relating to human rights and access to justice. These topics were outlined in a number of papers presented at an Expert Group Meeting held by NGO CSW/NY in September, and dealt with how human rights and justice are related to the priority theme of CSW63 (social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls). The presentation also discussed the need to make the CSW63 priority them as inclusive and comprehensive as possible, especially for groups not normally considered in related agreements and work. A number of presenters also focused on the role of education to empower women in relation to the CSW63 priority theme.
Because much of the session’s time was taken up by such presentations, other participants along with UIMF were not able to bring up further additions to the Zero Draft, nor voice additional concerns. However, UIMF was able to further contribute to the Zero Draft in a positive way by adding more references to UN official documents and high-level agreements that focus on mountainous areas and mountain families, women, and girls. UIMF specifically added language to sections of the Zero Draft on climate change and sustainable infrastructure, further adding the influence of UIMF’s advocacy for mountain women and sustainable mountain development in this important draft document. Via messaging, UIMF was able to direct the attention of session moderators to UIMF’s additions, which were relevant to the topics addressed by the NGO CSW/NY interns regarding education and marginalized groups of women.
Overall, this session was an additional important step in bringing mountain women into the focus of high-level forums and for implementing the mountain targets into the 2030 Development agenda. UIMF’s contributions to this draft document continue to increase and provide a necessary component of the future Zero Draft. Additionally, UIMF will continue to build bridges of cooperation with other participants who have similar concerns about empowering women and advocating for often-ignored groups of women, particularly through education. 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.
UIMF continues to prepare for CSW63 by lobbying 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. UIMF also will be focusing efforts on 14 of those member states who are also members of the Mountain Partnership. Furthermore, UIMF is pleased to announce positive feedback and encouragement from the permanent missions of Malta and Australia to the UN, in response to letters sent on October 29 describing UIMF’s concern about the lack of transparency in negotiations of final documents for CSW and ECOSOC forums by member states, as well as the lack of implementation of mountain women and girls into the global sustainability agenda.
Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member