Zonta International @ UN-Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

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                                New York, 4 – 15 March 2013

by Regina Smit, President ZC Lier Belgium


The mission of the CSW57 is the priority theme 2013: Elimination and Prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The review is the CSW53: The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care giving in the context of HIV/AIDS.

More than 6000 participants attended the UN CSW57 in New York. The purpose of NGO-CSW Forum Consultation Day is to prepare participants for the UN CSW57 meeting (4-15 March 2013).

The keynote speakers were Ms Bineta Diop, Chairman of Femmes Africains Solidarite, she has led numerous peace-building initiatives in Africa with a focus on the protection of women during armed conflict and their inclusion in peace processes and UN Women Executive Director Ms Michelle Bachelet. In her speech Ms Bachelet asked to take actions for

1. Implementation of law in all countries
2. Focus on violence prevention in all sectionsFocus on actions 
3. Empowerment of women in health service, sexual reproductive rights in all countries
4. Safe cities program, monitoring, change is possible

CSW. On Thursday in the first week the negotiations on the outcome document (agreed conclusions) of the CSW started. Actions to be taken by governments and NGO’s:

Legislation, policies and programs should be aimed equally at elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls. The implementation of the legislation, policies and programs in all nation states is the major point of attention.

A multi sectional and intersectional approach is required to effectively eliminate and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls.

Give full attention to meeting reproductive health service, information and education needs of young people with full respect for their privacy and confidentiality. Trafficking in women and girls, including for sexual and economic exploitation, should be more severely punished.

An interesting discussion took place around the roles and responsibilities of families to prevent violence.

The current positions taken by some Arab governments at the CSW meeting is clearly not representative of civil society views, aspirations or best practices regarding the elimination and prevention of violence against women and girls in the Arab countries.

The universality and indivisibility of human rights must not be undermined by Arab countries.

NGO’s are the ears and eyes for the Governments. The influence of the NGO’s in the national implementation of Gender Equality is increasing. 


International Women Day. Friday 8 March was the last day of the first week at the CSW. First of all it was International Women’s Day. An event that bears great importance for many, many women around the world. The UN theme for this day was “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had a message for international Women’s Day 2013. At UN Headquarters was a march for women all around the world.


Side events were organized bij Governments and NGO’s. They are very useful  for networking and meeting with like minded organizations.

Zonta did organize side events on Wednesday 6 March 2013:

1. Partnering to Prevent Gender Based Violence and Achieve an HIV-Free Generation in Rwanda, a project in cooperation with UNICEF,
2. NGO Roles in Advocacy & Service to End Trafficking in Persons.


Meanwhile Zonta is already turning the head to 2014 CSW panel topics with Unicef and UN Women. The priority theme of CSW 58 (2014): “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.”

The Zonta International Presidents Reception took place in the Beekman Tower hotel. Zontians from all over the world attended these reception. The Zonta Club New York did host us on Monday night March 4.


Website www.un.org/women watch/daw/csw/57sess.htm#news for statements, speeches and discussions for the outcome of the conclusions after March 15 (agreed conclusions).

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