On November 30, 2019, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) published as official document E/CN.6/2020/NGO/91 a joint written statement by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS), and Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (Utah China F.I.S.H. D.&C.), NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC. The statement supported efforts of Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University UVU) to advocate for mountain women and girls at the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) in March of 2020.
The statement, titled “Mountain women and girls must be in the focus of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” highlights UIMF’s implementation of UVU’s developed student engaged learning model (SEL), which gives students the primary responsibility of working as a group, with faculty serving as mentors, to solve problems related to advocating for sustainable mountain development, mountain communities and families, nontraditional students, and other sustainability issues.
The statement advocates for the inclusion of mountain communities and families, including women and girls—who are among the world’s most neglected and poorest groups—in the assessment of the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is the focus of CSW64.
UIMF is currently preparing for advocacy campaign at CSW64 during March 17-20, 2019, to meet the following goals:
- Raise awareness about mountain communities and families as the most neglected groups at the national and international levels and most vulnerable to modern challenges such as climate change, outmigration, food insecurity, etc.;
- Urge the members of the Group of Friends of Mountainous Countries to include language about mountain women and girls in the CSW64 final document, as well as reporte about measures to empower mountain communities and families in national review reports;
- Urge the CSW64 audience to implement three mountain targets, designated by the UN among 17 SDGs as a roadmap for mountain communities to be in the focus of 2030 UN Agenda for sustainable development;
- Host a parallel event titled “Mountain Women Empowerment Through the Inclusive Student-Engaged Learning Model” under co-sponsorship of RANS and UIMF at the Salvation Army Auditorium on March 19, 2020 at 6:15pm;
- Promote Utah as the one of the examples of sustainable mountain development (SMD);
- Demonstrate the effectiveness of the student engaged learning (SEL) model to advocate for mountain communities and Utah as the SMD example;
- Deliver an oral statement and intervention from the floor during CSW64 about the above topics.
UIMF preparations for CSW64 also include building a coalition of students and other stakeholders, affiliated with Project Work Groups, a company that works to find global sustainability projects related to food security, agriculture, and the environment and provide services and support for such projects from Brigham Young University, The University of Utah, and Utah State University, in order to augment the youth/student voice to better achieve the above goals.
Michael Hinatsu, UIMF Vice President
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