Support us in our open letter to the UN chief over the outrage at the 54th Commission on the Status of Women!
The four Global Unions at the 54th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) currently held in New York issued an open letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, expressing their outrage at the process and substance of the event.
Delegates from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Public Services International (PSI), Union Network International (UNI) and EI encountered significant roadblocks at every juncture of the process, making their effective participation in the meeting impossible. Draft resolutions to be passed are not circulated beforehand, civil society participants are being made to wait in queues of as long as 9 hours, workspaces are limited and unhealthy.
The letter also stated that "women from around the world have come to the CSW in hopes of being heard, and have invested considerable time and resources to get here. They have experienced discouragement and a profound sense of disrespect. Most of these difficulties go well beyond the logistics associated with the ongoing renovations at the UN Headquarters."
In her speech to the plenary today, EI Deputy General-Secretary Jan Eastman will highlight the need for real and substantive engagement of the civil society:
"We call on the United Nations and on governments to make social dialogue a reality, and we respectfully submit that what is taking place at this year’s CSW is NOT a dialogue with civil society. Clearly this must be remedied."
"We stand here as members of civil society. The United Nations should be OUR United Nations too," she concluded.
Please find below a copy of the open letter. Please help us by your voice to our appeal by adding a comment to our blog post! Click here now!
Open Letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concerning the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
New York, 3 March 2010
We are writing this open letter to express our outrage with the process and substance.of the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). At this CSW meeting, we are representing more than 200 million members of the International Trade Union Confederation, Public Services International, Education International and UNI Global Union.
This gathering of the CSW marking Beijing +15 is a critical forum for us to reflect upon the 12 areas of the Platform, assess gains made, and determine what still needs to be done by Governments in partnership with unions and civil society to achieve equality between women and men. Engaging civil society in this assessment process is critical to the success of this UNCSW, but also to our collective success in achieving gender equality.
Unfortunately, to date, our effective participation in this UNCSW has been impossible. At every juncture in the process, civil society members have faced significant roadblocks – from the outcome documents having been agreed upon ahead of time and adopted by the second day of the CSW54 meetings, to the line-ups at registration, to the lack of sufficient space, the difficult and unhealthy conditions in the meeting rooms, the lack of interpretation in conference rooms, and so many other obstacles in between.
Women from around the world have come to the CSW in hopes of being heard, and have invested considerable time and resources to get here. They have experienced discouragement and a profound sense of disrespect. Most of these difficulties go well beyond the logistics associated with the ongoing renovations at the UN Headquarters.
Your Excellency, you have been consistent in affirming the important contribution of civil society in the work of the United Nations, and you have so eloquently stated that our times demand a new definition of leadership – global leadership, which includes civil society in our work towards the collective global good. Yet, at this year’s CSW, civil society has been silenced.
The effective engagement of civil society at this 54th session of the CSW, is all the more important as we look ahead to the September summit on the Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, in this time of global economic crisis, it is all the more essential that all voices are heard and that Member States consider the very legitimate issues brought forward by representatives of civil society.
We stand here as members of civil society, and we believe the United Nations should be OUR United Nations too.
We call on the United Nations and on governments to make social dialogue a reality, ensure that civil society, trade unions and NGO’s assume their rightful place in the process ,and we submit that what has transpired at this year’s CSW must never occur again. Your Excellency, your recognition of the critical role of civil society in advancing women’s rights has been appreciated, and we look to you to address and remedy the grave concerns we are bringing forward to you today
UNCSW Delegates from the International Trade Union Confederation, Public Services International, Education International, Union Network International