The Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF)—a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU)—is preparing to contribute to the agenda of the 63rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in March of 2019. This will be the third time that UIMF has participated in the Commission. It participated for the first time during CSW61 in 2017 and for the second time during CSW62 in 2018. This year’s delegation, comprised of eleven UVU students, most of whom are affiliated with UIMF, will host a parallel event titled “Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls,” in harmony with 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.
At the parallel event, this year’s delegation will focus on bringing global attention to women and girls in mountain communities, who are among the poorest and most vulnerable to climate, economic, and other challenges. The delegation will also focus on highlighting UVU’s successful student engaged learning model (SEL) as well as the State of Utah as a best model for sustainable mountain development (SMD). UVU SEL gives students opportunities for professional advancement by placing in them the primary responsibility of working together to solve problems, with faculty serving as mentors. UIMF, which is a core of the SEL model, has been the vehicle for many initiatives relating to SMD in the State of Utah, including the 2015 Women of the Mountains Conference (see http://www.womenofthemountains.org/index.html) and contributed to the agendas of a number of UN forums, such as the 2018 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development.
As preparation for CSW63, since September 2018, UIMF has worked to do the following:
- Wrote and submitted to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) a statement outlining UIMF’s concerns that mountain women are neglected in global forums on sustainable development and calling for transparency and civil society involvement in the negotiations of those forums’ final documents. The statement, co-sponsored by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) and Utah-China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development & Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H D&C), was published by ECOSOC as an official document on November 19, 2018.
- Participated in online sessions with the NGO Commission that prepares the Zero Draft Document for CSW63, which Permanent Representatives of UN Member States affiliated with ECOSOC will use to create CSW63’s final document, and added language about mountain women, nontraditional students, engaged/experiential learning, and occupational gender equality
- Reached out to the UN Secretary-General, ECOSOC President, and 46 UN Member States who presented Voluntary National Reviews at the 2018 HLPF, asking them to support our goals and requests reflected in our November 19, 2018 written statement.
- Submitted a request and received approval to host a parallel event at CSW63.
- Developed a special rubric for this year’s delegation to learn the UN system and fundamentals of SMD in the spring 2019 semester class “Globalization and SMD,” as well as made preparations through SEL for the visit to CSW63.
UIMF’s parallel event is currently scheduled at the second floor of the Church Center of the UN for Tuesday, March 19, at 8:30am, in New York City.
Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member
UIMF’s 2019 CSW63 delegation:
- Abdulrahman Alghanmi
- Viktoriia Bahrii
- Noorani Barkat
- Hanna Bieker
- Rebecca Bindraban
- Veronica Caballero
- Megan Davis
- William Gum
- Michael Hinatsu
- Ezra Pugliano
- Aldon Trimble
- Laila Mitchell