On January 18, 2019, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), (www.utahimf.org) participated in the final conference call session related to preparing the Zero Draft Outcome Document for the United Nations (UN) 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). This session was the culmination of UIMF and other civil society efforts to discuss topics, concerns, and groups of people that will be included in the Zero Daft Document, which will be used at the Commission by Permanent Representatives of UN member states affiliated with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to negotiate the language of CSW63’s final document. The final document, also known as the agreed conclusions, represents global priorities and actions to take related to the priority theme of CSW63, which is “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”
(L to R): Michael Hinatsu and Hazim Alshanbari, UIMF members during online discussion
The purpose of this final session was to synthesize the nearly 34 pages of recommendations put forth by civil society groups and NGOs from around the globe including UIMF at previous sessions, as well as to add any urgent or critical recommendations to those synthetizations. Much of the work in this regard had been completed by Jourdan Williams, Youth Representative to the UN for the International Health Awareness Network, who along with Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the UN, is instrumental in organizing the online sessions and in formulating the Zero Draft. A Zero Draft Innital inputs were sent on January 23, 2019 to UN Women, a part of the UN that focuses global efforts to support women and women’s issues, and then to diplomats who will negotiate on CSW63 agreed conclusions.
Discussion of the content of the Zero Draft Document
The purpose of the synthesis was to consolidate the many recommendations put forth by UIMF and others into comprehensive, inclusive, and direct recommendations to guide negotiations of diplomats. Much of the specifics related to groups of people, infrastructure, health, climate change, justice, employment, and other topics were rephrased or taken out in order to make the document concise. However, a considerable amount of time during this session was given to UIMF and other participants to ensure that the synthesized version was as inclusive and detailed as possible. UIMF suggestions related to climate action, representation of women in the workforce, and marginalized communities were mostly considered and implemented in the synthesis. Additionally, past UIMF contributions to language about mountain women, nontraditional students, and engaged (or experiential) learning were also included in the synthesis as main points. This will greatly increase the chance of such language being directly negotiated during CSW63 and possibly ending up as part of the agreed conclusions.
UIMF’s participation in these sessions represents an unprecedented opportunity for UIMF members to engage with civil society and NGOs who share common concerns and who would like to have their say in what may become the agreed conclusions of CSW63. UIMF’s participation in these sessions was also essential in advocating for mountain women and girls, nontraditional students, and the engaged learning model that UVU successfully implements, in such a way that awareness of these topics is heightened and opportunities for cooperation at the regional, national, and global levels have been increased. UIMF is indebted to Dr. Ross E. “Rusty” Butler, main focal point of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, for providing the links and connections that allowed UIMF to meaningfully participate in these online sessions.
UIMF continues to reach out to the UN Secretary-General, ECOSOC President, and the 54 UN member states affiliated with ECOSOC to advocate for mountain women to be included in CSW63’s final document. UIMF also is hosting a parallel event at CSW63 titled “Student engaged learning to empower mountain women and girls” will be held at the second floor of the Church Center of the UN on Tuesday, March 19, at 8:30am.
Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member