Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Today was the first official day of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). WAGGGS was allowed one entry pass for the opening session held in the general assembly hall within the United Nations building. I was lucky enough to be able to use this pass and sit in on this session for our delegation. I listened to the Chair Mr Garen Nazarian of Armenia open the session and introduce the themes for this 55th session of the CSW. Then the Deputy UN secretary general gave an address, followed by Ms Michelle Bachelet the new head of UN Women. All the speakers commented how far we have come on the themes for this CSW but there is still much work that can and needs to be done.
One great quote that stands out in my mind from the day was “to plan for a day, fish; to plan for a year, plant grass: to plan for a decade, plant a tree; but to plan for a lifetime –educate a girl.” (Chinese proverb).
Next groups representing countries and some individual countries made introduction speeches, all spoke of the importance of this work and of the progress their group or country has made on the themes. It was extremely exciting to be able to listen in and witness this official UN session especially within the general assembly building.
While I was there the other WAGGGS delegates also had an exciting day. Some were meeting with their permanent missions here in New York or attending mission events where they lobbied for the consideration of WAGGGS key messages. Others attended side events on topics of interest, run by other organizations, such as Using IT to empower women and Investing in peace: financing 1325 and the elimination of violence against women and girls. These were very interesting and provided new information.
This afternoon another delegate, Rachel, was able to attend the high-level round table discussions of the UN while they discussed progress on the themes. Again, we were only allowed one pass to be able to observe this event, but she found it very rewarding.
Later this afternoon some of the delegates ran a side event with Soroptomist International while the rest of us watched and supported them. It was a great event. Then we all ended the day at the Young Women’s Caucus where we reviewed and discussed suggestions for an oral statement that we may get to present later in the week.
Fiona Bradley, New Zealand