You may have missed all the extensive media coverage (snark), in which case you may be completely unaware that for the next two weeks New York is playing host to the Commission on the Status of Women’s (CSW) fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

This is important stuff. However, it seems that already all’s not going entirely well, especially for the NGOs. As Zohra Moosa reports:

“This morning NGOs found out that not only would there not be an outcome document from this year’s CSW, but the political declaration that would be serving as the official output from the conference was already agreed.

Just ten minutes before the declaration was due to be tabled and approved, UK NGOs received hard copies of the text. It totals less than two pages and is as general as it is brief.

According to the document, the text has been in circulation since late February. Yet even the official NGO Committee on the CSW didn’t have copies of the document before today. It fell to an NGO from Austria to share the information.

Most of the UK NGO represenatives I’ve spoken to are unhappy with the text, not because there is anything in it that is a problem, but because there isn’t much to it at all. Having received it late and almost after the fact, it is even more disppointing for them to have found that it is so weak on content.”

Meanwhile Margaret Owen, in a piece entitled Disillusionment, Anger and Protest says:

At this Tuesday morning’s NGO consultation we women from the NGOs, attempting to participate in the 54th CSW, finally collectively erupted, en masse

These meetings will take place every day for the duration of the Session at the New York Salvation Army building, several blocks away from the UN because there is “no room at the Inn”, that is, the UN building, where in previous years we always met. Is there some dark conspiracy that facilitates the process of making us women feel so unwelcome, so redundant, and so belittled ?

Throughout the day, wherever and whenever one met women queuing, exhausted, harassed, and often livid with frustration – women who had spent vast sums of money from scarce resources just to get here – the anger, nay hot fury, was evident. It was scandalous that we women should be so treated by the UN, so badly served by them, so disregarded.

I wish I had her name and country, but this morning, a fiery trade unionist woman stood up and was cheered loudly by everyone when she listed our complaints. The interminable long waits, up to eight hours or more, queuing in icy streets simply to get our passes to have the right to enter the UN building. The appalling chaos of the arrangements made although the UN has had months to prepare itself for this 54th Session of the CSW. “It was unthinkable that men, for example, turning up to attend the G20 meetings would be subjected to such treatment.”

The conference is only into its third day now with another nine to go. Let’s hope these are just teething problems and that the whole thing doesn’t degenerate further into some kind of farce.

To keep up with events, follow the Open Democracy bloggers covering the conference here: 50.50

Advertisements