European Women’s Caucus Statement (March 2010)

54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

The 4th World Conference on Women produced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), a comprehensive women’s human rights paradigm that envisioned the transformation of power relations. This was a global vision of social justice, equality, development and peace. Fifteen years later, the BPfA would seem to be considered by governments a technical instrument, and its substance has been depoliticised and diluted. The key implementation strategy of gender mainstreaming has been disarticulated from its critical perspective in terms of power relations and inequalities within and between countries and regions.

Women’s organizations have been the driving force behind the Beijing process, and the Secretary General has repeatedly emphasised the importance of civil society contribution to the work of the UN, particularly toward the achievement of women’s rights. As representatives of such organizations we are deeply concerned that, despite the above, at CSW 54, the voices of women have effectively been silenced. This is manifested by:

• The Declaration having been agreed ahead of time and adopted without consultations with civil society.

• The absence of information on opportunities for civil society to influence the conduct and outcome of the CSW meetings and the Declaration.

• Poor logistics and facilities that prevent women from participating effectively, reflecting the lack of consideration given to the Beijing process.

The presence of such a huge gathering of women has been used instrumentally to legitimise an empty Declaration, another example of reducing space for engagement between governments and civil society.

The 54th Session of CSW was intended to be the opportunity to review progress and promote the implementation of the BPfA. However, the contents of the Declaration represent a step backwards by its failure to offer a new vision and mechanisms for implementation.


European Women s Caucus Statement CSW 54 March 2010

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