“We have to think of a very bold goal – one that can be destiny changing”

UN Women Executive Director meets with NGO CSW Geneva on 15 January 2014

“We have to think of a very bold goal – one that can be destiny changing.”
UN Women Executive Director, Ms.Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, on the post-2015 agenda

2014-01-15-meeting-UN-Women-EDAfter concluding a two‐day conference in Geneva to support women’s participation and voice in the Syrian peace process, and before flying off to London for another pressing engagement, UN Women Executive Director, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, met  with members of NGO CSW Geneva for a first encounter and open  dialogue.

UN Women priority areas
After a welcome from NGO CSW Geneva President, Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka got right to the point with a briefing on UN Women priority areas:

  •  ending  violence against women
  • peace and security
  • economic  empowerment
  • leadership and political participation
  • governance and national planning
  • the post-2015 Development Agenda
  • HIV & AIDs 

Personal goal: lifting women’s economic empowerment
UN Women’s overriding objective is to mainstream the priority areas within all UN agencies. Ms. Mlambo–gcuka’s personal goal for her term is to lift women’s economic empowerment: “given greater voice and empowerment, women are stronger in the fight against violence against women.” Rural women will, as a  result, be strengthened, as it is “necessary to start from the bottom to empower women.”

Help needed on older women & women with disabilities
Unfortunately, UN Women is overstretched and does not have the resources to strengthen all women’s groups equally. Two such groups are older women and women with disabilities. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka appealed for the help and collaboration of experts in the field of these particular issues.

On the subject of violence against women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said that UN Women needs to strengthen its work in other hot spots around the world, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

CSW58 and MDGs
At present, UN Women is busy preparing for the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58), which will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 to 21 March   2014, and is, by all accounts, “the biggest event of the year.”

With the theme, ‘Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls,’ CSW58 will focus on the evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the acceleration of underperforming  MDGs.

Post 2015: violence against women needs to be high on the agenda
Ms. Mlambo‐Ngcuka stressed that “we need to use all experience gained –what we learn from Beijing+20 and what we learn from the MDGs as input for the post‐2015 agenda,” in order to position priority issues. “Violence against women needs to be high on the agenda.”

“We have to think of a very bold goal – one that can be destiny changing.”

Ms.Mlambo-Ngcuka culminated her remarks by saying that we need to identify a bold, transformative goal for women in the post‐2015 agenda. She appealed to civil society, as the experts on the ground, to lend expertise and give input in order to generate a complete picture of all of the issues impacting women.

Geneva Beijing+20 NGO Forum
The meeting ended with a very, fruitful, open and candid discussion including specific areas of support and  collaboration between UN Women and NGO CSW Geneva, as well as, UN Women’s participation in the Beijing+20 UN ECE Regional Review NGO Forum, which will take place in Geneva, 3-‐5 November 2014, and  will be hosted  by NGO CSW Geneva.

Opportunity for NGO CSW Geneva & its member organizations
This is an ideal opportunity for NGO CSW Geneva and its member organizations to examine how to deepen  heir commitment to UN Women and engagement in priority areas, particularly, those that are under–‐  resourced, as well as, providing input on the progress of the MDGs. The extensive global experience and involvement in women’s rights, equality and empowerment programs of NGO CSW Geneva and its member organizations give them the unquestionable capability to confidently respond to the UN Women Chief’s appeal for help, support and collaboration.

Relevant links:

Report written by Sara von Moos, FAWCO UN Director