I participated at the advocacy training event as preparations for the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) on February 18, 2021. It was arranged by the Coalition of NGOs under CSW for members of thousands of NGOs who will participate at the activities of this highest United Nations gender-focused forum during two weeks in March 2021
Nurgal Djanaeva, the founder and current president of the Forum of women’s NGOs of Kyrgyzstan, co-chaired the event. Her work on the Program on Women’s Political Participation and the “50 days – 50 women” campaign directly contributed to the election of several women to the National Parliament. Additionally, Djanaeva chairs the national working group on Women, Peace, and Security, which has drafted many amendments to further gender equality in Kyrgyzstan.
Soon-Young Yoon, a representative of the UN International Alliance of Women and Chair of the Board to the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), also shared her experience advocating the UN for women’s human rights. Together, these women shared a framework for advocacy.
CSW65 is fast approaching, March 15th to the 26th, and we must be preparing every day! Advocacy during CSW65 means reaching out to members of governments, delegates, and ambassadors to persuade them to add our message to the final resolution. To achieve this goal, we know exactly what we will say and have concrete support for everything we say (have a factsheet prepared). Look for opportunities to set up virtual meetings with members of delegations and UN agencies.
The most effective way to ensure our message is heard is by intervening at critical moments. As Soon-Young Yoon said, “think of the process as a fast-moving train…Right now is the stop.” First, understand the proposals found in the ‘Zero Draft’ (Zero Draft PDF). Create key messages using concrete and persuasive language, supported by facts and followed by a call for action/recommendation. Have your advocacy tools ready (i.e., factsheet, elevator pitch, specific language recommendations). REMEMBER, LANGUAGE MATTERS! The specific terms/phrases have particular meanings. For example, “work for women” is not the same as “decent work women,” and “climate action” does not create the same outcome as “climate justice.” Here is a guide to language.
The expert advice given during today’s advocacy training gave me new information to consider while preparing the statement I will give on Monday, March 22, 2021, at 6 AM MST, during the parallel event titled, “Mountain Women Empowerment Through the Inclusive Student-Engaged Learning Model.”
Liam Dowling, President of Chess Club at UVU and UIMF member