Coordinating Caucus Minutes CSW55


The NGO Commission on the Status of Women 55th session Coordinating Caucus takes place every afternoon from 5:00 to 6:00pm in the Church Center Chapel. The caucus functions as a discussion of CSW55 events, and allows participants to raise issues, suggestions and an overall summary.


The NGO Commission on the Status of Women 55th session Coordinating Caucus took place on February 22nd, 2011 in the United Nations Church Chapel, Drew Room. The caucus functioned as a discussion of CSW55 events, and allowed participants to raise issues, suggestions and an overall summary.


The Coordinating Caucus was moderated by Winifred Doherty  

Purpose of Meeting: To de-brief on the CSW 55 events

The coordinating caucus had representatives from various organizations and countries who travelled to ensure their participation in the events at CSW 55.  Our group discussed several key side events that took place.

These events range from:

  1. “Women. Climate Change, and the New Green Economy” (NGO CSW Sub-Committee on Women and Climate Change)
  2. “Men are Human, Women are Buffalo (Women Human Rights International Association- Short Documentary).
  3. “Engaging Young Women” (UNIFEM Australia) and many more.

A key point was brought to the attention of the group and that is in regards to the Draft Agreed Conclusions on the priority theme.  The NGO community have an opportunity to strengthen the language of the proposed draft. One organization has already worked on the draft outcome document.

It was also suggested that the issue of ‘the social protection floor’ should be included in the draft agreed outcome document.

It is to be reminded that Coordinating Caucuses takes place every day at 5:00PM sharp. We look forward in seeing you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chair:                        Sr Winifred Doherty

Present:            Michaela Guthridge, Katie Booher, Connie Gates, Petra Bigge, Marta Viloria, Nayyar S. Javied, Marnie Hamilton, Gemma Ababa

There was an understanding that the Coordinating Caucus would bring together every Caucus and therefore, had the objective of sharing information from each caucus in order to produce synergy in agreed conclusions.

The question was asked if there has been a shift from this previously held objective or whether there is a different objective this year?

It was noted from the information shared at the morning briefing that the following caucus groups had formed:

  1. Science and technology caucus
  2. Latin America and Caribbean caucus
  3. Young women’s caucus
  4. Asia Pacific caucus
  5. Migration caucus


Action: Winifred will mention the need for caucuses to report at the coordinating caucus at the next morning briefing.


There was discussion on continual shift of rooms for this meeting and the need for a firm commitment to one definitive place.


Action: Marnie to take this issue up with building staff.

Some suggested changes to the draft agreed conclusions were discussed:  Gemma Adaba from the International Trade Union shared some suggested changes that that the International Trade Union Delegates  have made with recommendations to include:

  • Creating enabling environments for girls so as to overcome the structural obstacles that exist in making the transition between school and work, (working with the ILO’s decent work agenda). Transition from education to full employment/decent work critical as retention in school is still a problem.
  • Not getting jobs commensurate with level of education and persistent unequal pay a problem, particularly related to child bearing years and women working in science.
  • Text needs strengthening, including changing language (i.e. ‘women’s needs’ to ‘women’s aspirations’).
  • Mentioning MDG commitment, specifically MDG 2 and 3
  • Adding text on financing for development, gender-sensitive budgeting, innovative means of taxation (e.g. tax on financial sector) and a gendered social protection scheme.
  • Using an affirmative action framework based on CEDAW recommendations, (using the text of previous agreements).
  • Women’s ownership of land and women’s agriculture may be raised next year, but with the connection of access to work and access to land, and agriculture as a science, it could be advocated for this year. Include words such as “develop and strengthen to ensure women’s equal ownership of land and agricultural resources”.
  • Need to mention human trafficking as victims require skilled training and access to education for decent work. Add “trafficked and prostituted women and girls” as a vulnerable group.

Action: Support new text and approach own governments. NB. Negotiations on the text begin Friday.

Concern was raised regarding lack of NGO consultation with SC Resolution 1820, 1880 and 1888. Lobby space has decreased significantly, including interactions at CSW.

Action: Marnie to confirm Marvic Cabrera Balleza to Chair next meeting.

Minutes submitted by Michaela Guthridge




Friday, February 25,2011

Chair:                        Winifred Doherty

Present:            Monique Bovaziz, Connie Gates, Souja Hartmann, Michaela Guthridge, Judith Van Unen

Participants shared on their experiences of the day.  Some had attended the Migration Caucus and others the Asia Pacific Caucus.


Some who attended Women and Technology Workshop at the US Mission and Physical Barriers to Education by the International alliance of women reported on their experiences.

Winifred who attended the Informals had a draft of the compilation text of all government submissions.  The text is now at 17 pages.   More than 27 countries made comments on the compilations.  The following recommendations were made:

·        Requesting the Chair to streamline the text and present a new text ready for reading by Monday

·        Be consistent with the use of terms – presently there is inconsistency sometimes science and technology are interchanged with math and engineering.  Define mainstreaming – what does it mean?

·        Suggestion by Turkey to insert a new section on ‘Eliminating Root Causes that hinder access to scientific and technological education.

·        Insert insights from the expert panels.

·        Currently the focus is on national level, need also to have an international focus and co-operation e.g. South South and Triangular cooperation

·        Wanting a stronger and more focused text.

·        Make reference to the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – the right to education and specific reference to gender equality.


Submitted by Winifred Doherty


Tuesday March 1, 2011

Chair:                        Winifred Doherty

Present:            Lillian Oaths                                                Nignat Khan, Elisabeth Newman                                    Caroline Omoniya, Subine Gevhared                                    Michaela Guthridge, Lya Aliya Ocholor, Dr Ada Okika, Monique Bovaziz ,Anna Abiodum Martins, Janis Alton, Madelyn Mackay, Sylvia Grady, Anje Wiersnga, Maylena Daoud      , Levy Danille, Christiane Tricot

21 members attended the Caucus

The Asia Pacific Caucus Members reported that the negotiations of the outcome document are tough and difficult.  The negotiations are closed.

  • Another issue noted was the shrinking space available to NGO’s during CSW.
  • How to influence and impact UN Women at regional and national level?
  • Consultation of UN Women that have occurred  in Napal and Pakistan were ‘limited and limiting’
  • Preparation for CSW next year and the theme of Rural Women.
  • The caucus is preparing a statement to be sent to UN women – Michelle Bachelet, GEAR Campaign, and other members of UN Women before the strategic planning get going…  The Caucus wishes to express concern in a proactive way.

Members of the African Caucus (Femnet) attended and reported on their efforts to make a statement.  They had applied in accordance with the directives regarding oral statements but to date they have not received a space.  This caucus group suggested that the CSW should provide a better forum for NGO’s to have a voice and make their statements.  These voices may motivate the assembly.  This Forum should be open to all NGO’s who want to have a voice throughout the two weeks of the forum.

Members of the Mentoring Caucus reported that it is very important for all parties – young and old – to listen to each other and for the older members to provide space and permit new ideas to emerge.

Young Women’s Caucus – one member found it very difficult to find the venue for this caucus.

Other questions that were asked during the caucus:

  • Will the outcome of the High Level panels be included in the Agreed conclusions?
  • Discussion of how to integrate the voices of NGO’s and Members States equally in outcome documents?
  • Need to work towards a 5th World Conference on Women.
  • Members from Canada in conversation with their ambassador were asking if there is movement within the UN/CSW to think beyond the nation state to the global level.

The EU had a briefing today and the European Caucus met yesterday.  Members did not get the schedule with these events.  It was noted that there was not enough copies of the change schedule that is distributed during the morning briefing.

Members had varying experiences of getting secondary passes – the latest information is that secondary passes are no longer required.  One member who had been issued with a ground pass said that on asking for the secondary pass the grounds pass was taken from her saying that she had not registered for CSW – that her name was not in the system!

Members reported on various events attended:  an event at the Finnish Embassy on the role of men and boys and violence against women.  Best experiences from Jamaica focusing on street boys and men 15 – 30 years illustrated that men experience violence from men and this makes it difficult to support family.  In Nepal, ‘Men Up Campaign’   a Radio program to break the silence on violence was presented.  Discussion happens at the community level to raise awareness and involves men.   A competition and award for ‘the most understanding husband’ is part of the campaign.   Three criteria were enumerated a) mobility, permits a wife freedom to go out; b) mutual respect re: sexual intercourse; c) economics.

The panel on ‘Gender Equality and Sustainable Development’ was a very good discussion.  Two best practices were illustrated a) Solar Power and b) Waste management. At the second panel ‘Elimination of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and the empowerment of women’ Ms. Michelle Bachelet was the moderator.

Finally, the caucus heard of the launch of the UNESCO 2011 Report on Armed Conflict and Education at Columbia University.  Ms. Michelle Bachelet was on the panel.

Submitted by Winifred Doherty


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chair:                        Mavic Cabrera Balleza

Present:            Linda McDonald, IFUW, Jeanne Sarson, IFUW, Leslie Wright, VGIF, Elizabeth Newman, National Council of Women (NCW), Levy Danielle, IAW, Monique Bovaziz, IAW, Hendrua Okondo, YWCA, NorahMatuvu, FEMNET/African Caucus

8  members attended the Caucus


IAW members working with the French delegation reported that they have been


  • Meeting with very receptive delegates regarding the Agreed Conclusions
  • Concerned about the way the representative from Benin seems to be resisting all issues advocated by the European Union.


Members of the Violence Against Women Caucus attended and reported that


  • non-state actor torture is to be included as a kind of violence against women, on the continuum of neglect to femicide.
  • They are not sure if this will be added to agreed conclusions, but they have not spoken with delegates to lobby member states.
  • They have submitted a statement to UNWomen for inclusion of non-state actor torture.  It was suggested that education is a good entry point for inclusion.


Members of African Women’s Caucus met this afternoon and reported that they were unable to attend a Commission meeting due to its unannounced cancellation today. Also:


  • Disappointed by the position taken by African countries during Outcome Document discussion, as it is not as supportive of progressive objectives of NGOs.
  • Decided to find out more – send out feeler to delegations to see exactly what they are against in terms of content.  Hopefully can present to them by the morning.
  • Benin delegate was not in favor of the use of “gender equality” rather than “women’s issues” language


NGOs from Canada noted that some government delegations did not want to use  the term “gender equality.” Discussion ensued stressing the importance of “gender” language rather than “women’s”

  • It was noted that taking out the word “gender” removes responsibility for child and education, daycare issues and focuses on grown women only.
  • This reluctance to use “gender equality” is reflective of regressions/backlash against women’s movement all over the world, including Africa and Canada
  • Does this affect UNWomen?  The Canadian delegate on UNWomen’s board is a strong voice.
  • France is fighting for “gender” language.  There is also a strong feminist movement in France.


Members from YWCA reported on the Youth Caucus where


  • They went to talk to missions about the key areas that will respond to the needs of youth including comprehensive sexual education
  • Missions are hesitant to take up the cause of comprehensive sex ed
  • As for HIV/Aids education – most missions are supportive (including Canada, Australia to speak to some Asia-Pacific groups)
  • Problems with data collection were noted.


Other members attended a workshop on childcare and education with UNESCO, looking to add science into early curriculum.  They noted that if values change early in life, then people have a better chance for embracing gender equality later.


Other issues discussed were

  • Engaging the media effectively
  • Example from parallel events:  At a panel of Iranian women the presenters did not want to be videotaped.  Conflict ensued between those who wanted to video record the event and those who did not.
  • Recommend that panels that do not want to be video recorded or photographed be upfront in their flyer so they can tell anyone who shows up.
  • Suggested that NGO CSW/NY can note in guidelines for organizers for next year that organizers may post “no media in this event” notice on the door of their events.


There are coordinating caucuses scheduled for both Thursday and Friday.

Submitted by Marnelli Hamilton


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chair:                        Winifred Doherty

Present:            Anje Wiersinfa, Danille Levy, Monique Bovaziz, Kati Hellwagner, Sezer Yelain Joy

6 members attended the Caucus

Some members reported on the negotiations of the draft agreed conclusions.  The document is now reduced to 16 pages.  Under a heading ‘allocation of resources’ there is mention of increasing money for education in general and support for gender sensitive budgets.  In discussion the following was noted: how lobby for decrease in military spending and increase in spending for education.  Free primary education is not sufficient; it needs to be free at secondary level.  Children should be introduced to science even at kindergarten.  Educational policy needs to be lifelong and include both formal and informal education.  Education is a fundamental right and the violation of the right could be followed through CEDAW


Those attending the negotiations observed that the majority of the negotiators are male.  Women are under-represented and men are taking the power.  The negotiating group needs to have gender balance 50% 50%  The Bureau is composed for 3 males and 2 females.


A member of the Mentoring Caucus made a suggestion for next year.  She observed that there seemed to be a systematic lack of knowledge and that much time at the morning briefing was spent in answering questions e.g. the difference between CSW and UN women and various other processes that are necessary to know so as to engage more effectively CSW.  There was a request for an NGO orientation session during consultation day.  Another suggestion was to send explanation by mail prior to the commencement of CSW informing applicants of what is happening and how to engage.


There was some discussion on the 3 Resolutions 1) Women, the girl child and HIV AIDS

Same text as last year with technical updates; 2) Palestinian Women and a new resolution on 3) Climate Change.


There will be no coordinating caucus tomorrow Friday March 4, 2011


Submitted by Winifred Doherty