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DATE : 19-05-08 12:07
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UN CSW63 Report
Social Protection, Public Services, and Sustainable Infrastructure




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The 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 63) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019. The priority theme was “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” More than 5,000 women and men representing civil society, along with 2,000 delegates from governments attended this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the UN’s largest gathering on women’s rights issues. During the UN CSW63, governments and civil society organizations addressed how social protection systems and access to public services and infrastructures can be implemented to improve living conditions of women and girls and empower them for success. 

<Opening Ceremony>
On the 11th of March, the opening ceremony of the UN CSW63 took place at the General Assembly Hall of UN Headquarters in New York. Chair of the UN CSW, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne, reiterated that the goal of the commission through their agenda to empower women is for women to have all the rights of men, to enjoy health care and to have access to social protection so that women can take their place in the world. In his opening speech for CSW63, Mr. Antonio Guterres spoke on the importance of increasing women’s participation in decision-making process in order to face our global crises ahead.  

The Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, emphasized that bold steps for social protection reform must be taken to help the most vulnerable women and push our agenda of gender equality forward. She concluded that as the 10thanniversary of UN Women, 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325, and the year of Beijing+25 are approaching, time is up to deliver responses to the young and the aged.

The International Council of Women organized two side events and one parallel event this year. ICW-CIF’S side event, “Social Protection for Women’s Empowerment,” was held on March 14 in Conference Room 11, UN Building. Another side event was cohosted with WHO and held on March 21 in Conference Room A under the title “Advancing Women’s Health and Well-Being Across the Life Course: Focus on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), UHC, and Mental Health.” The parallel event was held under the title “Social Protection Measures on Health and Violence Against Women,” on March 15, on the second floor of UNCC. 

<Side Event on March 14, 2019>
The panel of speakers at the 14 March 2019 side event on “Social Protection for Women’s Empowerment,” included H.E. Ambassador Chull Joo Park, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations (UN), Dr. Anuradha Seth, UN Women Senior Policy Advisor on Economic Empowerment, Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, Secretary General of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, Dr. Martina Gredler, VP of CONGO, and Mazal Renford, ICW International Relations and Peace Advisor.

Dr. Jungsook Kim expressed appreciation to Korean Mission for co-sponsoring the event in her welcome speech. She added that as “Social Protection for All Women: Sustainable Development for the World” has been newly adopted as the triennial theme for 2018-2021, International Council of Women will strive to promote and raise awareness of social protection for fulfillment of women’s empowerment and SDGs. 
Dr. Jun-hui Joo, President of Women’s Institute for Negotiation and Leadership, introduced the speakers and led a vibrant Q&A that followed the speeches. The speakers covered theoretical underpinnings of social protection promoting women’s empowerment and examples of good practices. 

Besides welcoming the participants, co-host Ambassador Park introduced the Korean government’s policies to promote women’s economic empowerment and equal pay and gender equality, provide pensions to vulnerable groups, and raise awareness against violence against women in the workplace. He concluded by saying that empowering women is empowering the whole family and society. 

Dr. Seth stressed the importance of social protection in poverty reduction, gender equality and equitable growth. She elaborated changing dynamics of labor and capital due to changing production processes. The informal economy employs 740 -million women who have limited access to social protection which affects their income and security. Dr. Seth reiterated that social protection should be designed systematically in consideration of complex gender dynamics that hinder women from entry into formal economy, decent job opportunities, and access to public services.

It was particularly opportune that Dr. Gertrude Mongella joined the side event as preparations for reviewing Beijing +25 in 2020 was interspersed throughout CSW 63. She addressed getting men involved in the discussion of gender equality, the insecurities facing old women, unpaid care work, violence against women, digital divide, lifelong education, economic plight of developing countries, advocacy, as well as increased social and political participation of women and girls.

Dr. Gredler emphasized that more and better jobs need to be created to reflect the changing nature of work. She emphasized that social protection should be enhanced and adapted. Dr. Gredler added that education is key to improving the lives of women through developing and boosting skills to address the nature of work. Dr. Martina Gredler also gave various examples of social protection for victims of violence, such as victims having the right to take up to 10 days paid leave from work in the Philippines, and companies in EU being encouraged to introduce flexible working schemes.   

Mazal Renford stressed that paid maternity leave and childcare services are crucial to women’s empowerment. She highlighted some examples of best practices of social protection schemes from her work in Africa, Asia and Latin America that showed clear linkage between social protection and women’s empowerment. 

<Parallel event>
Despite starting at 8:30 am in the morning, the ICW-CIF parallel event on the 15th of March, “Social Protection Measures on Health and Violence Against Women,” was also very well attended. ICW President Jungsook Kim warmly welcomed the speakers and participants and spoke of the important role of social protection to promote good health of women and girls and to prevent violence against women.  As the moderator, ICW Vice President, Linda Liu, pointed out that according to the World Health Organization, violence against women is a major public health issue and the cause of serious short or long-term physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems for women and girls. She emphasized that social protection helps to prevent poverty from unexpected health expenses and if properly designed, can transform society through preventing violence against women and promoting social equity, women’s empowerment and gender equality.
Dr. Mary Ellsberg, the Executive Director of the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University and a scholar on violence against women, spoke of the deep impact of violence against women on the mental and physical health and welfare of victims. She provided examples of effective social protection such as access to justice, rehabilitation services, survivor centered programs, and inclusion of social components in the program. She further described some best practices like engagement of the whole community, combination of multiple approaches, time frame of at least 6 months, as well as training on gender equality and changing social norms.

Amb. Gertrude Mongella stated that everyone has a right to health and life, but the disruption to a girl’s health starts from early marriages, sexual violence and social violence. She suggested finding solutions to stop military conflicts as one answer to preventing these forms of violence, often more prevalent in areas of political conflicts and wars. 

The next speaker, Dr. Soon-Young Yoon, former chair of NGO CSW, spoke on how universal health care is an important social protection and financing for health. In her conclusion, she warned that the current backlash against women’s empowerment in the world, the shrinking space for civil society in the name of counter-terrorism and the underfinancing of United Nations form obstacles to universal health care and progress in women’s rights. 

Dr. Mohinder Watson, ICW Representative to United Nations in Geneva, enlightened the audience with a comprehensive report on types, causes and effects of violence against women, data on violence against women from several countries, impact of child marriages on health of the girl child, and examples of programs that lead to prevention of violence against women. She concluded by stressing the responsibility and power of women to bring change.

The last speaker Dr. Jun-hui Joo talked about the importance of legislation and gave examples of good practices from some countries. With people from the next event waiting by the door, Mazal Renford, ICW International Relations and Peace Advisor, added that changing attitudes and minds of people, especially about violence against women, should start from early education for both boys and girls. 

<Closing Day of CSW63> 

On March 22, the closing day of UN CSW63, government representatives and NGO leaders gathered to renew their commitment to improve women’s access to social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure and transform their design and delivery to meet the demands and needs of vulnerable women. 

Based upon the understanding social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructures are integral to achieving gender equality, BPA, and 2080 Agenda for Sustainable Development, various concrete measures to transform their design and delivery were adopted in the agreed conclusions. 

* For more details, please click the report below. 

   CSW 63 Report.pdf (1.3M) [1] DATE : 2019-05-08 12:07:16



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