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UN Women and Civil Society Engagement

[New York, November 2010] Recently, Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign representatives met with the new USG and head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet. We took this opportunity to explain the evolution of the GEAR Campaign and its membership, and outline key messages regarding the importance of civil society organizations (CSO) engagement and the participation of global to local grassroots organizations in UN Women. Ms Bachelet stated she viewed the meeting as the start of a ‘partnership’ and welcomed civil society input and continued engagement as UN Women develops.

One of the principles of the GEAR Campaign is to ensure that UN Women is both accountable to and informed by civil society, especially women’s organizations, through the establishment of mechanisms that include meaningful participation at headquarters and at the regional and country evel. GEAR presented the attached revised paper “Civil Society Participation and UN Women” (November 2010) to Ms. Bachelet and highlighted the five recommendations for making this systematic which have emerged from on?going GEAR Campaign discussions. We hope many civil society groups will support these recommendations and seek their implementation by UN women locally and globally.

Ms. Bachelet agreed that women’s CSO’s and grassroots organizations are well placed to provide significant programming and policy xpertise on how the UN and Member States can advance women’s human rights and achieve gender equality. She is now exploring different options for the most effective ways to engage with civil society at headquarters, regional and country levels. UN Women is currently engaged in both short term and longer term strategic planning to determine its priorities and areas ofwork. Those in the planning process must consider where UN Women should continue or take action and leadership; what issues are other UN actors engaged in and thus the role of UN Women will be more one of coordination and suggestions for ther programs. Ms. Bachelet welcomed civil society suggestions in both the short and long term process.

Download the full GEAR document and recommendations for the work of UN Women: http://www.gearcampaign.org/news_events/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/November-2010-GEAR-CSO-Engagement.pdf

The EWL is an active member of the global GEAR Campaign. See the EWL page dedicated to the campaign here.

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