UIMF Participates on Civil Society Discussion on Zero Draft for CSW63

On February 18 at 8:30am, the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU), participated in an online conference call to discuss the changes made to the Zero Draft Outcome Document for the United Nations (UN) 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63). This session consisted of follow up discussion on the document created by UN Women entitled “Draft agreed conclusions: Text presented by the CSW 63 Bureau,” a modified version of the document created by UIMF and other civil society participants in a series of online discussions organized by the NGO Commission on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY).

(L to R): Michael Hinatsu and William Gum during online session 

The primary goal of the February 18 session was to examine the differences between the document submitted by NGO CSW/NY and the document released by UN Women. While a number of the recommendations put forth in the UN Women document intersected with issues raised in the online conference call sessions, many of the concerns and calls for action raised by UIMF and other participants were not included in the UN Women document. As a result, much of the time during the current session was spent replacing those missing recommendations, in order to create a document to send to member states affiliated with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that was more comprehensive and issue-sensitive, that would allow member states to be more aware of civil society concerns during negotiations on CSW63’s agreed conclusions.

Participants of online session from around the world discuss changes to the Zero Draft

UIMF’s language about mountain women and girls, nontraditional students, engaged/experiential learning, and gender equality in the workplace was not included in the UN Women document, but were replaced in the document created on February 18. Other civil society participants, as in other online sessions, expressed support for UIMF’s language—especially the language about nontraditional students and mountain women and girls. As in each online session, UIMF and others effectively coordinated both the inclusion of specific language describing civil society concerns, as well as a sense of cooperation and urgency that such language be addressed by CSW63. This updated document will now be sent to individual ECOSOC member states and others to increase the chance of its issues being discussed at CSW63.

Ms. Winifred Doherty leads online session

UIMF would like to thank Jourdan Williams, Youth Representative to the UN for the International Health Awareness Network, and Winifred Doherty, Main NGO Representative to the UN, who were instrumental in organizing the online sessions and in formulating the document sent to UN Women. Additionally, UIMF thanks Dr. Ross E. “Rusty” Butler, main focal point of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, for making it possible for UIMF to participate in the online sessions.

Michael Hinatsu speaks during online session about adding mountain women language to the updated document 

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, 2019 at 8:30am.

Michael Hinatsu, UIMF member