February 28 - March 11 2005, New York
The 49th Special Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+10) was held between February 28 - March 11, 2005 to assess progress and further implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, and to consider new initiatives, as agreed by the United Nations General Assembly at its 23rd special session in June 2000 (Beijing+5).
The commission considered two themes; 1. "Review of the implementation of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) and the outcome documents of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly". 2. "Current challenges and forward-looking strategies for the advancement and empowerment of women and girls". Click here to download the Beijing+10 Political Declaration.
Lobbying in the 2005 CSW
WWHR- New Ways facilitated and coordinated the participation of representatives from the NGO delegation of the regional network Coalition on Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies advocating for sexual, reproductive and bodily rights as human rights in Muslim societies at the 2005 CSW Special Session with the aim of contributing to the international advocacy efforts to safeguard SRHR at the global level and provide an opportunity to render visible the efforts of activists to promote SRHR from regions often stigmatized by the international community.
The delegation of the Coalition on Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies, coordinated by WWHR-New Ways, consisted of 18 prominent activists from eight countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South/Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, Egypt, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. Throughout the special session, the delegation members lobbied both their own governments and other governments from their regions, as well as actively partaking in the international NGO caucuses for SRHR advocacy and working groups on resolutions.
Progressive NGO Statement by the Coalition
The delegation also prepared and delivered an NGO statement on behalf of the Coalition, calling on governments to reaffirm the Beijing PoA and take the necessary measures, including policies, programs and legislative reforms, to safeguard and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights. The statement, one of the most progressive and forward looking ones of the session, was highly acclaimed both by governmental and NGO delegations, as a landmark of international SRHR advocacy from Muslim societies. (Please click here for a copy of the statement.)
Working with the Official Delegation of Turkey
In addition to coordinating the delegation, WWHR-New Ways also worked extensively with the Turkish Official Delegation during the session. Through intensive lobbying efforts we were able to ensure that a member of WWHR-New Ways and a feminist ally MP from the opposition party were on the official delegation, thus creating the opportunity to forestall any backlash in the Turkish delegation and lobby other official delegations.
Since NGO participation and visibility from these regions is conventionally relatively low at the UN level, the delegation’s efforts were further noteworthy in paving the way for increased participation in global advocacy, in particular in the domain of SRHR. The delegation was able to effectively lobby government delegations from the region on many issues, and publicly declare progressive views and determined advocacy efforts to promote SRHR, thus challenging the conservative approaches and asserting alternative views from the region.
Strengthening SRHR ties
The session also provided the opportunity for the Coalition to interact closely with the global SRHR community at large and establish a connection with the global SRHR advocacy efforts. The experience at the CSW also resulted in a consensus among Coalition members to continue actively partaking in international advocacy efforts, such as organizing a delegation for the upcoming UNGASS Review in 2006.