IFUW members convened at the United Nations on Friday for a day of listening and learning. The theme for the second day of the strategic planning process was “Strengthening Cooperation between NGOs and the UN System”.
The UN Day included a walking tour of the UN, followed by sessions around the role of NGOs and IFUW in the UN system (specifically CEDAW, ILO and OHCHR); special procedures on submitting issues to the UN and human rights education in higher education.
How can IFUW promote and contribute to the work of the UN and its Human Rights Agenda? The two words heard repeatedly were MECHANISMS and PARTNERSHIPS.
Here are some specific ideas that were suggested this day:
1. Compile best practices for NFAs to present their issues to the UN (“procedure of application”). For example, include an executive summary with a report, emphasize the salient points, use the same vocabulary as the UN and CEDAW.
2. Have a trained liaison officer between every NFA and the UN. NFA presidents should be informed about Universal Periodic Review and CEDAW and should be involved in the preparation of the shadow report.
3. Publish a clear explanation and definition of Human Rights Education on IFUW’s website.
4. Prepare recommendations and resource material for IFUW to improve its human rights education through interaction and dialogue.
5. Higher education should include education on women’s rights.
6. Campaign for more women in top universities and in top positions in universities.
7. Make ourselves heard in protest on behalf of women whose rights are violated.
8. Human rights and women’s rights training for civil servants
9. Build partnerships with other NGOs. Coalitions hold more influence at the UN than single organizations.
10. Create a matrix of international and NFA action.
Which of these ideas are the most interesting to you? What can IFUW do to enable the UN organizations’ valuable work for women?
(Ranjana Banerjee and Nina Joyce)
This day ended with a dinner for our retired Secretary General, Leigh Bradford Rateree. There were some lovely speeches, lots of memories and laughter and cookbook presents from all over the world. We will miss her a lot!