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Commission on the status of women.

For the past 53 years, representatives of United Nations Member States and NGOs have gathered at U.N. headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

Thousands of women from all over the world come to New York to attend these meetings. Over 400 NGOs are represented, including WILPF.

This year's theme was "The equal sharing of responsibility between men and women, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS."

U.S. WILPF, along with the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) and the Center for Women's Health and Human Rights at Suffolk University ran a very successful Practicum for college and graduate students who attended the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meetings and participated in discussions and reporting. The NGOs that attend the CSW strive to contribute to and influence the final statement or "Agreed Conclusions" document of the CSW, which was released to the public in June. The sense of "sisterhood" between the attendees is inspiring. People want to hear each others' stories and to lend support. Unfortunately contact between governments, the U.N. agencies and the NGOs seems quite limited indeed.

As a WILPF US-U.N. representative I have attended the past four of these CSW meetings and must report that I remain skeptical about what percentage of the goals laid out year after year in the "Agreed Conclusions" are achieved. Nevertheless, I firmly believe these meetings are invaluable. The stories told, contacts made, and the general consciousness-raising that's done here help reinvigorate civil society and its commitment to the global struggle for women's rights.

At the conclusion of these meetings some confusion remained about CSW's 2010 theme. The UNIFEM website states that: "At its 54th session in 2010, the Commission will review implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly and its contribution to shaping a gender perspective towards the full realization of the Millennium Development Goals." A daunting agenda!

Meanwhile work on renovating the U.N. building, which is over 60 years old and has asbestos and other problems, is starting after years of controversy and discussion. A tent-like structure is going up in the park next to the main building and three leased locations (two in Manhattan and one in Long Island City) are being prepared. Slowly, U.N. offices will move into these spaces over the summer, but it remains unclear where the 2010 CSW will be held.

Anita Pulier is one of U.S. WILPF's NGO representatives to the United Nations. She can be reached at tequita@yahoo.com.

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Title Annotation:U.N. REPORT
Author:Puller, Anita S.
Publication:Peace and Freedom
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Words:450
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